Nicole and I rarely discuss the details of her pregnancy with anyone but family. I’ll make an exception today. We decided about nine years ago that we would stop taking birth control measures. We thought we were “ready enough” and if nature decided to make a baby, then so be it. After a while, we started to think there just might be something wrong with our plumbing. Eventually we went to a fertility specialist, but the battery of tests was an immediate turnoff. As romantic as it sounds to masturbate into a plastic cup, I must admit that I REALLY wasn’t looking forward to that part of the process. Now a paper cup might have been a different story! Hubba hubba! haha. Nothing like turning our sex life into a glorified science experiment! So we never followed up with the prescribed testing, poking, and prodding required to take things to the next level. We just didn’t want a baby that bad.
Fast forward several years and it was time to, as my mom would say, shit or get off the pot. We decided that if nature wasn’t going to allow this little miracle to occur without intervention, we would have to at least take measures to make sure there would be no surprises. Having kids any later than 35 didn’t hold much appeal for us, so Nicole made the call to go back on birth control after her 35th birthday. Exactly one day before her birthday, we had a positive pee stick. Well, fancy that!
Now that we are seven months into the Battle of the Buldge, I am really giving some thought to the path Nicole and I took and how we arrived where we are today. I can’t help but ponder what life might have been like if we had a baby nine years ago when we first opened the door to the possibility. So much has happened in that time, I can’t help but feel elated that a combination of mother nature and our general apathy toward parenthood led to a nine-year delay in conception. In fact, I cringe when I think of all the times I have heard people give advice like, “Don’t wait for the perfect time to have kids, it doesn’t exist!”, “Have kids while you’re young so you’ll be young when they move out.”, or “Have kids as soon as you think the thought, and everything will just work out.” For some, things do indeed work out. You make ends meet and life goes on. But for many others, having kids early means a constant struggle and a massive strain on what is likely a fairly new marriage (or other committed relationship). Now I agree with the advice-givers in that there is never a PERFECT time for anything in life. But there sure as hell are better and worse times for things to happen. And for many, what should be one of the biggest decisions in their lives (having a child) is given far less weight than it should be. I wonder just how many couples put more thought and research into a car purchase than they put into the repercussions of having children. Probably more than we care to know.
I certainly can’t speak for everyone, but for Nicole and I, we are far better off having waited. Just for fun and a little self-examination, here’s what life was like nine years ago. We were living in our first home in Temecula, Ca. with a fairly high mortgage payment. We had several credit card debts totaling $50,000+. We both had school loans and car payments. I was working at an antibody company (miserable) and Nicole was working in a different division for her current employer. We were just getting by and we were both perched upon the bottom rung of life’s ladder. We had a strong relationship, but my work-related stress often led to me being a little less than pleasant to be around.
Now let’s look at all the things that happened since then. I quit my job to pursue my passion for woodworking. Nicole wound up taking on a new position in her company that paid significantly more, but required a shit load of extra travel. This new position is what allowed us to take the risks involved in starting my own business. We moved to Phoenix. About a year later, I came up with the idea for The Wood Whisperer. Thankfully, the stars aligned and the business flourished. Debts were paid off and I am happy to say life is………great. In fact, it is so great that we had to wonder if we wanted to roll the dice by bringing a child into the mix! Well, too late to change that, ha!
So the question I have to ask myself is, if my little bambino came along when we originally opened that door, would my life look ANYTHING like it does today? I can wholeheartedly answer, NO! I had a hard enough time turning my back on my science career and a steady paycheck as it was. Nicole pretty much had to force me to do it. If I had a child to take care of, there would have been no way I would have relinquished my steady income. I would have kept my shitty job and I would have been the best dad I could be under the circumstances, work stress and all. Nicole would have likely turned down the position she took on. After all, how many new moms takes on jobs that entail MORE travel?!?! We’re looking at major opportunity loss for both of us. How about our debt? I seriously doubt adding a child into the mix would have improved that situation much, unless the child had some immediate talent that we coud exploit (joke). But Nicole and I are a strong couple and I like to believe we are smart people. We would have found a way to make it all work. Life would have progressed and we would have traveled down our path having no clue what the other road would have looked like. No near-term financial stability, no Phoenix, no big screen TVs, no Wood Whisperer…..
So again, I have to say I am so incredibly thankful that our bundle of joy was delayed. We are bringing a child into a financially and emotionally stable environment. We had plenty of time to be “kids”. We have traveled to nerd conventions and we have wasted money on silly gadgets. We spent countless hours destroying imaginary monsters with our friends from around the globe. And we have taken the last 12 years to become a strong cohesive unit, able to handle just about anything life throws at us (including a little human being who is likely to turn our lives upside down). We still plan on indulging our inner children as we grow old, but things might just look a little…….. different. I’ll have my little guy on my back as we wrestle through the crowds at ComicCon. We’ll have to make some space between our gaming stations for baby’s first gaming PC. And I’ll even put a little chair next to my comfy comic book reading recliner. I truly believe life will be better for all three of us simply because we waited.
Of course if the kid has no interest in video games, comic books, or sci-fi, we’ll just have to trade him in for a new one.