How hard is this supposed to be? Parenthood. Marriage. Family. I used to think it would be the simplest thing in the world. Boy meets girl. They fall in love and get married. A few years later, they begin their lovely family. All is good. Everyone is happy. The fairy tale has come true.
What people tend to leave out are the other things that happen along the way.
Your beginning is about establishing yourself as a couple, the thing that solidifies your marriage. Learning about and loving each other. Giving each other adequate time and attention in order to feel that you are the center of the universe to someone.
You make your plans. Some of them turn out. Some of them don’t. You learn along the way. You readjust.
The first baby is born. Another calibration takes place. You are thrilled, but tired. Really tired for the first time in your life. The stress and responsibility rest on your shoulders as much as that sweet and perfect little head. You are distracted from each other for the first time. You have come together in a way that bonds you forever, but you also have let someone else enter the picture. This little darling has slipped into the middle.
Then come more children. With each one you love more than you thought you could. You love your spouse, your partner, more than you thought you could. Your attention and time are divided onto each of them now. It is a lot. You love them with your whole self, but wonder a little about how much of that self is left to give.
You are more tired. This is hard. Did anyone mention that? Warn you in advance? You don’t recall it ever looking difficult to others. You are afraid to say that it can be hard. People might think you do not have it as together as you appear.
You love your husband more than anything, but a day might go by when you think to yourself, did I look at him today? What was he wearing? You know you looked, but did you see? You hope he feels like you saw him. Everything is a blur. So much to do. So many needs from so many people. You hope each of them feels your love and attention. You want this very badly. You love them all with all of your being.
There will come a point in the story where things slow down. Somewhere in the middle, the children will become less demanding and more competent on their own. A time will come when things will not be so hard, they’ll just be again. Together, you’ll be able to breathe. To slow down. To begin to look towards the next chapter and the second half of this story. Your hard work, sacrifice and determination will have paid off. Together, you will have raised your children. They will be wonderful people beginning their own story. You will stare into the eyes that you have known for so long. The ones that you know so well they might as well be your own. And together, you will have the chance to sit back and watch them write their story. Now, that is the true fairy tale.