The Lily Story, Chapter 1: The Relationship

In a previous post I mentioned how I was going to do a whole series on what it has been like becoming a father.

This post is about my wife: Amanda Kleinpaste, and our marriage.

Obviously, if the idea of you having children is anywhere near a possibility for you, then you have a relationship with someone – you know… Considering what traditionally needs to happen for babies to happen.

Amanda and I got married February 5th, 2011. We had no particular plans about having children except…you know. Eventually. When we got around to it. I suppose I was thinking that at some point we would figure out precisely when we wanted to have kids. We are busy people, though – and we are people in need of medical attention. Basically it was just something that we didn’t have time to seriously consider at any point.

and then last July, SURPRISE! BABY TIME! Lily decided that she was coming, period.

Amanda and I know each other. We trust each other. We are committed to each other. We have been shitty to each other in some deeply personal ways. We forgive each other for things. We keep doing the marriage thing.

I have exactly zero experience having children outside of marriage, but I already know that having them inside of marriage is goddamned terrifying. I have no idea what it must be like without a committed relationship.

I do have experience with one thing, though – being a child born into a marriage that ended. I know that things were difficult for them, and I know that they were difficult for me. It must have been very hard for them to make the decisions that they did. They made them, and they affected themselves and their children (myself and my two brothers).

And no matter how much I am currently thriving, I would never wish that situation upon young children. Knowing how much more  work Amanda had to put into normal every day tasks just because she was pregnant is… a little humbling. It’s on the same level as living with someone who recently got into a major car accident and are still recovering physically – she couldn’t stand up for long periods of time, putting on shoes occasionally presents a problem, there is daily pain and uncomfortability, etc., etc., etc.

I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like to raise a child or three as a single parent. Not having someone that you can rely on for normal life stuff – venting, having fun, going out for drinks, whatever.

I am not entirely sure what exactly I am driving at here, only that my relationship with my wife really matters to me, especially when I start thinking about how I am raising Lily. Our daughter is going to be watching us, probably before we are aware that she can make real memories. The foundation of her trust in us is going to be associated with our ability to trust each other and maintain our relationship. If we do something wrong, then we need to work at repairing it, or Lily is going to learn that broken relationships are dealt with long term by ignoring it.

So, I guess what I am trying to say here is that Amanda is a critical piece of the “raising my daughter right” pie. Not only would it be biologically impossible without her, it would be mentally and stress-fully impossible to maintain basic operating parameters for life, much less sanity. If I didn’t have Amanda, then I wouldn’t feel confident about even taking care of a child 24/7, much less raising said child.

I am also saying that you should not try to raise a child without help. Holy shit, kids are expensive and incredibly stressful. There are government programs and charities and all sorts of other thing to help people in bad circumstances, but without a spouse, without friends? That would just be a nightmare.

And what’s crazy is that they are stressful in this way before they can even breathe by themselves. Amanda and I enjoy and rely on a wonderful support network that consists of dozens of generous people among our family and friends, and I don’t know what we would do without these people.

But the first level of that support network is each other, and if it weren’t, it would be  a cause of alarm. I love Amanda, and because I love her, I will work to make our relationship better. I love Lily, and because I love her, I will work to make my relationship with Amanda better.

[FINAL EDIT] I’ve been sitting on this post too long and I’m just posting what I have.

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