From “Just Us” to “With Kids”

As I sit here and type this post, it’s a quiet weekday afternoon. The rain is falling outside, the cloud cover casts a somewhat grey hue on the normally vibrant neighborhood, and baby Liesl is sleeping upstairs.

It’s in these peaceful moments that I reflect on the changes our family has seen in the past few months and see how far things have truly come.

When Pete and I decided to have a family, we were lucky in that we got pregnant very quickly. We didn’t really think it would happen so soon; we figured we’d have a good 3-6 extra months of “just us” time before we started planning for a little one in earnest.

Pete and Mary

We’re immensely happy with our baby girl, and wouldn’t change our circumstances for the world. However, there are times when I look back at this past year, and ask myself, “Has all of this really happened?”

I wonder if other parents reflect on their lives the same way.

Before we had our baby, we could give each other undivided attention, we could pick up and go do things at a moment’s notice, and we only had to look out for each other. Certain things were so easy, like going out to a restaurant, or grabbing a happy hour drink after work. We could stay out late on a Friday night, sleep in as late as we wanted on a Saturday morning, and accept impromptu invitations for meet ups with friends.

We could also travel easily. Heck, our entire courtship was spent travel dating! Packing up our carry-on bags, and seeing how much we could pack into our little weekender bags, was a fun challenge of ours. Flying on an airplane was always full of wonder and anticipation, as we eagerly looked forward to the fun things we’d do at our new destination.

Pete and Mary

In a few short weeks, we’ll be taking our first cross-Pacific flight as a family to Las Vegas, and Pete and I laughingly joke that traveling light is a thing of the past. We’re curious to see how Liesl does on a plane for six hours; considering that she doesn’t “sit” well now, and likes to be crawling or climbing whenever she’s awake, let’s hope that she sleeps for much of the flights! (She flew relatively well back in February when we visited Kauai, but that was a quick 35-minute flight; this longer flight will be quite a bit different, I imagine…)

I wonder if other parents found the adjustment from “just us” to “with kids” easy or somewhat challenging. Is it easier for some than for others? I suppose our experience is unique in that we are pretty far away from family, we live in a place where friends and familiar faces are scarce, and having a trusted support circle takes time to cultivate. I can only assume that all other military families experience something similar.

Ultimately, I see any challenges we may have adjusting to life as parents as an indicator that Pete and I genuinely love each other, and that we truly value our time together as a couple (sans kiddos). Going through life with a great partner and cute kid sure make it a fun adventure.

(And, does it make me a hopeless romantic that I take and keep screenshots of sweet text conversations like these?)

Pete and Mary

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