Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Letter From a Worried Sister...

Please the bottom of this letter for an update.

Dear Lucy and Charlie,

I’m getting worried. I could tell from our last conversation that you’re starting to feel the pressure of your situation. And I’m sure that you and Charlie are starting to freak out a little. And I know that when people don’t react well to the news that you guys are serious about raising a baby together that it would be pretty awful. That you must feel torn between bursting into tears and wanting to square up. I sort of feel the same way.

But I also understand the concern about your readiness for being parents. It doesn’t mean I agree with them, but I get it. I can tell that you’re growing up and mentally preparing yourself for what’s to come. But sometimes people can’t see that from the outside. Other than your growing tummy, it’s hard for people to really see the changes that are happening within you.

I know Charlie is changing, too. He's changed a lot since the yearlong party you had last year, the one most people would call their "freshman year of college". Some days it must feel like he’s right there with you and some days you think life might be loads easier if you could just Square Up and A-frame him. Trust me, we have all been there, no matter if it's with our 30 year old husband or your 20 year old boyfriend (well not, your 20 year old boyfriend).  So please try your best not get your B on. Unless he really deserves it.

Here’s the hard part of this letter. And it doesn’t make me happy to say this to you. I can tell how much your perspective has changed. But the time has come for you to put that new perspective to work. And I get that it’s hard and you’re broke and exhausted and you’re working full time and it all seems really overwhelming. But there are practical details that need to be addressed and time is running out.

It’s time to figure out what needs to be done and then do it. Trust me when I tell you that waiting until after the baby is born to figure things out will only make them harder and more complicated. And when things are already hard and complicated, they become overwhelming. And that becomes an excuse not to do anything about it. You’ll stay where you are. You won’t make plans for the future. So your future will become a series of things that just happen to you.

So let’s get started. Where are you going to live? How much does it cost to rent an apartment there? How are you going to pay your bills? How much money would it take to buy you a decent car? How much would it cost with a really good coupon? Are you going to be married? If so, can I be maid of honor and supply the flower girls?  Although on second thought, I don't think we ought to let Mini come... What about health insurance? How much maternity leave will you be able to get from your job? If you get a similar job working someplace else, can they give you benefits? Have you thought about what your monthly expenses might be after the baby comes? Have you talked to a WIC counselor or a social worker about what support and resources are out there?

Maybe you don’t even know what questions to ask or where to start. Here’s the thing: getting what you want starts with knowing what you want. You and Charlie have got to decide those things RIGHT NOW. If you can figure out a realistic scenario that you’re both be OK with, there are going to be people lining up to help you make that happen. For example: ME. I will be first in line to help anyway I can and I will be throwing elbows and roundhousing anyone who tries to to take my spot as number one helper to you and my new neice (or possibly- but unlikely - nephew).

Doing nothing is always a choice. But it’s a coward’s choice. And you are not cowards. You can do this. So start doing it. Right now. You are both capable of being extremely resourceful and clever. It’s how you survived some of the things life has thrown at you. But you can’t take a day off. You can’t check out for a week because you got tired or busy or you didn’t feel like it. You have to come up with a plan. You have to start making lists no matter how much you hate them. [Editor's Note: If you hate lists then we totally need to talk because they are magical and rad. I'm sending you one of my special list pads. And some sharpies. Lists! Are! So! Awesome! - Kate] [Editor's Note: Ummm... Kate? Please don't frighten her. - Lydia] You’ve got to save money from every pay check. You have to keep your promises and meet your obligations. You have to say no when you want to say yes. You have to do whatever it takes. I know you’re thinking "I'm already doing that."

I think he's flipping the "V" bird.
Well, you have to do it even morer.

Sometimes it is not enough to do our best; we must do what is required. Winston Churchill said that. I’m pretty sure he was talking about the first six months of being a mom. Or possibly something about World War Two and Britain’s finest hour but whatever. It’s true as hell. Even if you haven’t risen to every occasion in the past, you are both up to this challenge now. You never know what you’re made of until you’re tested. And trust me - parenthood is the biggest test of all.  You already passed the first part when you peed on that little stick. And you didn't even study or anything. Now, go do all the other stuff. That little person you're making is counting on you. Go show her how awesome her momma is...

xo, Lydia

UPDATE: The baby was a boy and not a girl! And he's amazing and perfect. Also, my sister and her husband are wonderful parents and they are doing really, really well. I shouldn't have worried so much because my sister took to motherhood like a duck to water. She's a natural and I'm watching her and taking notes (because I'm NOT a natural and could use some tips).
xoxo, Lydia (1/24/13) 

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

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