Old Lasts / New Firsts

At 17 weeks, 4 days pregnant, we’ve reached the 4-month mark, as counted from the first day of the last menstrual period (LMP, August 21st). If you count a month as about 4.5 weeks (for 40 weeks in a 9 month gestational period), then we would technically hit 4-months in 3 days from now, on December 24th. There seems to be multiple ways of counting months and trimesters, which explains why most practitioners count the pregnancy in weeks, so Molly and I decided we would count the “month” marks as time since the LMF – making today 4 months exactly!

As the holidays approach, I’ve been reflecting a lot on what they mean to me. As a kid, the holidays are a time you look forward to all year long. You feel like they’re never going to get here, and when they finally do, it’s the best day(s) of your life! As I’ve gotten older, the holidays have become just something that happen each year. Since I’ve been a student for basically my entire life, the holiday time has usually meant some kind of hardcore studying for exams followed by a nice break, time to spend with family and friends, and sometimes a vacation. But no longer are they a time that I especially look forward to all year (no more than any other time we may spend with family or go on a vacation, which of course is always something to look forward to), and no longer are they the best days of my life (that would have to be the day I met Molly and the day we got married – I assume the birthday of our babies will also make that list).

But after you have kids, I suspect the holidays will again have super special meaning, something the whole family will look forward to all year. Traveling with two very small children will be difficult, especially at first, so the holidays may be the only time we are able to see certain family members. And, of course, the holidays will probably gain the same special importance to our kids as they were to me as a child.

When a new baby (or babies!) come(s), it is so exciting to celebrate all of the “new firsts” that occur – baby’s first Hanukkah, baby’s first Christmas, baby’s first birthday, etc. Other holidays will also gain new meaning in our lives – Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. But for now, I’ve been increasingly aware that what we are experiencing are many “old lasts.” This is the last Hanukkah/Christmas that Molly and I will have just the two of us. My birthday next month will be the last one with just the two of us. We get one more Valentines Day with just the two of us. Molly will likely not have another birthday with just the two of us (in late May) – even though the due date is a couple days after her birthday, because there are twins, they will probably come a little early. And we definitely won’t have another wedding anniversary (June 1) alone.

I realize that the issue is not that these holidays will be especially different once we have kids (especially when they are still very young), but rather it’s the fact that our “couples only” time will be drastically reduced and our simple freedom to do whatever we want, whenever we want will be virtually eliminated. Even things as simple as going out to dinner or a movie will have to be highly planned and orchestrated. When Molly and I got married, we immediately said that we wanted to have children, and I’m beginning to hear the echoes in my head of people replying with, “Wait to have kids, enjoy the time you have just the two of you.” I am perhaps the least commitment-phobic person I know, and yet I find myself somewhat mourning the loss of these freedoms. I can certainly see now why those who are even slightly afraid of commitment begin to freak out when expecting a baby!

We waited for me to finish veterinary school before having children, and in retrospect, I’m really cherishing that time we had together. Likewise, this realization will only make me cherish the coming “old lasts” even more. In no way does this lessen my excitement of all of the “new firsts” we will experience when the babies come. Nor does it mean I’m regretting anything, not looking forward to the babies, or thinking we made a mistake. On the contrary, it’s the very fact that I’m secure in my excitement about their impending arrival that allows me to be comfortable in recognizing these feelings, enjoying the present, and even maybe mourning that these are old lasts together, just the two of us. I think it’s important to recognize these feelings so they don’t come up later, seemingly out of no where, and suddenly resent the choices we made.

Every year we’ve been together, Molly and I have dressed our animals (one dog and three cats) in various holiday outfits, taken photos, and created a holiday card to send to family and friends. So yes, this will be the last year our holiday our card is of (only) our dressed-up animals. Next year we’ll have enough animals and people for an entire nativity scene…and boy am I looking forward to it!

3 responses to “Old Lasts / New Firsts

  1. Great post Ethan. I think the fact that you’re mourning the loss of time and energy spent alone with Molly just speaks to how much love you have for her. And it’s so funny, when we got your card and stuck it up on the fridge I said “they got great pictures of the animals all dressed up, last one before the babies come!” Looking forward to seeing next year’s card. Let me know if you need a hand building the ark.

  2. Great post. Funny i thought I was the only one that over things. Perhaps I’m not really so crazy. We test on the 29th of December. I have high hopes bc that actually would have been my Dad’s 63rd bday. Hoping he’s going to “help” us move on to a positive.

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