My sister called me yesterday.
“Hey Sarky, I was thinking that since none of us really need anything for Christmas, that next year we should all go to Spain for the holidays. We found a great place that only costs 60 Euros per night!”
Me: calculating silence.
Before I had a baby, people drove me crazy telling me that I had no idea what to expect, that nothing could prepare me, that my life would change in ways I couldn’t fathom as a childless person. It felt like they were telling me I wasn’t part of their clique-y club, and wouldn’t be able to understand the club’s rules and secret handshake until I popped out a wee one. It felt condescending. It felt obvious. I got it. “Oh, you’ve never been on a roller coaster?! Well, you don’t know what it is like to be on a roller coaster until you’ve been on a roller coaster!” Um, duh. As I’ve written about in prior posts, I tried not to have too many expectations for myself or my new little dude. I decided to put myself firmly in the “Roll-with-things-the-best-I-can” camp. I think I did pretty well adjusting, all things considered.
I now refuse to tell parents-to-be, “Oh, you have no idea!” I’ll answer any questions they have, be supportive and tell them that they really can handle it – that it is hard but doable. Because it is.
But this is my sister. And she takes it as a personal offense if I say, “Well, gee, I’m going to have to see how we’re doing then. Since money will be tight for us with 2, and it would be a challenge to travel to Spain with a 9-month-old and a 2.5 year old…”
I know people do it – they travel and do fun and amazing things with their very small children. But at this point, and for us, it doesn’t sound like fun. Not yet at least. Ask me again when they’re 4 and 6. My sister-in-law had similar intentions – a planned trip to Turkey when their little one was 8 months old. That plan got nixed pretty darn quick. I didn’t say “I told you so” because I hadn’t told her so. But I can’t say I was surprised.
So far my sister has insisted that after the birth of her first child in early-April she and her husband have plans to:
- Run a half marathon in June
- Travel to Toronto for a wedding on June 1
- Travel to Seattle for a wedding in mid-August
- Travel to Spain for Christmas in December
I hope they do these things. As she’s thrown out these plans and suggestions, I have tried to calmly (and without Older Sister judgment or condescension – very hard for me) say things like, “Wow, that could be hard, but it could also be doable. Don’t have too many expectations for yourself. Just see how you feel as the time approaches.” But in the back of my mind, my new-mom brain is screaming, “YOU HAVE NO IDEA!” I don’t want her to be disappointed if these things can’t happen, because the new mom gig is hard enough, finding your groove can take a long time and I don’t want her to suffer disappointment on top of all of that.
So in an effort to keep the sisterly peace, and to remain as judgement free as possible, I said in response, “Hm, sounds like fun. We’ll have to see if that will work as the time gets closer!”
Tune in on Christmas 2012 to see how it all plays out…
But I’m not going to dust off my Spanish language tapes just yet.
(PS – If you tell me where the title of this post came from, I’ll give you a cookie.)