"You will HATE him!"
Years ago, I attended the wedding of one of my closest friends. Another friend, now living out of state, already married with a 6-month-old, was telling us how exasperated she was with her husband. She warned the rest of us, responsibility-free, about what our future entailed.
I thought her statement was harsh. And that she needed anger management or couples counseling. I actually feared for her marriage -- and her husband.
Fast-forward five years and I completely understand. She wasn't unstable or angry; she was married with a kid.
My mom and sister tried, albeit in a nicer way, to prepare me too. But, like every person in the throes of young love, I thought he was different, we were different.
The only thing different was the stage we were in compared to others. You can't tell a high on life honeymooner that their vacation will one day end. That it isn't all Mai Tais and massages. That life, a full life, with a significant other is an intoxicating, thrilling, ever-turning ride, yes, but one that you often want to get off, stop the spinning, lie down on the cold tile floor, grab the barf bag and dump it on his head.
And just when you think you're about to pull the emergency brake, that you can't take one more minute, suddenly you're soaring, hands raised, heart aflutter.
Or when you think you can't love him more, be happier or luckier, the bottom drops out.
After all that's what love is, living life to the brink, eyes welled with tears, head filled with fears, heart about to burst, never feeling more scared, vulnerable or alive.
It's a cycle and if we see it through long enough, white-knuckle through the bad, it'll always come back around to the good. At least that's what I tell myself.
My personal relationship roller coaster has gone somewhat like this...
- Initial spark. Want to know everything about him. Can't stop thinking about him. Planning our lives together in my head after our first meeting.
- Bad first date. Over him. Pick apart everything about him. What was I even thinking?
- A year passes. I think about him from time to time. Replay everything in my head. See him again. That spark. Best second, first date ever. Back to swooning. He's everything.
- He's moving. Back to Texas. Over him. List of reasons in my head why it never would have worked. Break him down. Move on.
- A year later. Our friends' wedding. Mexico. That spark. Margaritas. Infinity pools overlooking the Cortez. More margaritas. Game over.
- He moves back from Texas to New York. We move in together, can't get enough of each other. Obsessed. Inseparable.
- Until we fight about his old, ugly dresser and too many throw pillows, placing our independence on inanimate objects.
- Once we get past the pillows, it's like playing house. Forbidden and fun.
- We become engaged. Euphoria.
- We start wedding planning. Hell.
- We contemplate calling off the wedding, breaking up.
- Honeymoon. Heaven.
- Other people's weddings. Peace.
- First couple years of marriage without kids. Bliss. All the fun, none of the pressure. Riding high on a child-free zone. Selfish, insane fun.
- Making the baby. So bonded. So in love. Reliving our honeymoon. Relaxed. Stress-free. Sun-tanned. Wine-filled.
- Pregnant. Bonded by the WTF moment. Thrilled about the future. Each doctor appointment and ultrasound, we grow a little closer.
- Hormones. I could kill him for doing this TO ME. The mere smell of him repulses me. What he eats, how he chews, the fact that he's losing weight, getting sleep, seemingly totally unaffected by what's happening to me and what used to be my body.
- Health scare. Attached at the hip.
- Date night. He drinks a bottle of wine. Consumes copious amounts of sushi. A variety of off-limit meats and cheeses. And I'm pissed.
- Go time. I cling to him like Saran-Wrap. Stage 5 has nothing on me.
- He sleeps (the last we'll get in months, maybe years) while I'm itching. I hate him once more.
- Baby! We're in awe and eternally grateful. The three of us are a force, a family. It's us against the world. I wouldn't want anyone else in our trifecta in TriBeCa.
- Breastfeeding class. They tell me he can't stay for a 45 minute seminar just down the hall from our room and I have a mental breakdown.
- Home. We spend two blissful, horrible, beautiful, sleep-deprived and love-filled weeks together.
- He goes back to work. Doom's Day. I don't know how I will function without him.
- But I do. With each day, every week, I get stronger, more confident, knowledgeable and bonded to my babe. I've got this motherhood thing. Who needs the father? All he does is get in the way, interrupt our rhythm, make a mess.
- Thursday comes, I'm losing steam. By Friday, I'm cooked. I can't wait for the weekend for him to be home, get some help, for us to be a family.
- By Sunday night, I'm ready for him to go back.