Over the years, I have learned to scale back my expectations of what life has in store for me. When you are younger, of course, you expect that you will have the life that your friends or your parents have. You don’t expect to have problems or grief or disappointment – at least not until you are old (which back then in my mind was 40).
I have also learned how to handle other people’s expectations for my life. There isn’t a person that I tell that we don’t have children that I would wager wonders to themselves, why not? Luckily, very few are so deprived of manners to actually ask that question. I smile and know what they’re thinking, but frankly don’t care enough about their opinion to actually do or say anything. Let them think what they may – it is usually far more interesting than the truth.
And then there are those pernicious amorphous expectations that are exuded from society that we almost unconsciously take upon ourselves. For example, Sweetie’s employer is building a day care center for its employees. We first heard about it about a year ago when they sent out a survey to employees to guage interest. Sweetie enthusiastically filled it out, indicating that we did indeed have plans to use the day care center. Typically, news of the progress of the day care center would filter down to us around the time that I was pregnant, so that we would begin to plan how we would utilize it. And, then, we would be smacked upside the head for having the temerity to actually make plans and would get a D&C for our hubris.
Now, the day care center is under construction and at first, I had that same feeling that I had to have a child and quickly to be able to use the day care center. After all, weren’t they building it because we said we would use it? Luckily, I stepped back and realized that it didn’t really matter if we used it or not. It was nice that it was there, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if we weren’t able to use it now, soon or even ever. After all, it’s just a building.
That’s the problem with thinking ahead too much. But isn’t the anticipation and planning half the fun? I struggle with that one a lot. Do I let myself daydream about being pregnant, having a newborn, raising a kid through all the different stages? Or do I try to reign my thoughts back into the present reality and forgo the joy those daydreams bring?
It is really great that your Sweetie’s employer is building a daycare center. What a great pro-family perk. But you are right, it doesn’t matter if you use it. It is just a building that wasn’t there before, but is now.
Sort of reminds me how they announced a Gap Kids would be opening in the office tower next door to mine when I was pregnant. I was ecstatic — I’d already spent a small fortune outfitting our nephews & dh’s cousins’ kids in Baby Gap, & couldn’t wait to buy some stuff for our own baby. When I returned from my time off after my stillbirth, it was already open. To see it there was like a slap in the face. It was years before I could go into the place.
Great post. I was thinking about the time we were looking for a home – which 2 or 3 bedroom? When we got pregnant, we would need the extra room. The first place we looked at it was really great and it would have a school and daycare right across the street! My husband got laid off, we couldn’t buy that home and what sheer torture it would have been if we did. Funny how life turns out. I’m waiting to adopt, this should solve the childlessness problem, the what might have been remains in a box on a shelf.