family planning

There are few things as wonderful as the luxury of planning a family. When I was younger, I thought it would be great to be a young parent. Not super young… but, like, a baby at 22 or 23 or maybe 24 at the latest. That way, I figured, I’d be a parent with energy, spontaneity, a sense of humor, good health, yada-yada. When my baby grew into an adult I’d still have a semblance of youth in my own step and plenty of exciting adventures ahead of me yet.
Then I turned 22. And 23. And, eventually, 24. I realized I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to be a young parent. I didn’t want to have a baby before I had a career path or a house or a strong relationship (be it with my husband or simply with myself). I didn’t want to have a baby that I couldn’t provide for without sacrificing most of my own desires. I wanted energy, spontaneity, good health, clean habits, and fun hobbies first.

When Luke and I got married we were bombarded with questions about when the little ones would arrive. It was aggravating. In part because it was presumptuous, in part because we weren’t thinking about it or ready for it. Enough time has passed now that should I mention children the questions and speculation begins again with renewed vigor. There is disbelief when I say not yet.

But I mean it. Not yet. Even if I’m happy to browse baby clothes, children’s’ books, and kids’ toys in the stores or sites. Even if I have a small collection of things for my someday-baby in the back corner of our spare closet. Even if I’m pleasantly planning family traditions and trips and keepsakes and fun.

The luxury of family planning does not stop at the pill. No, the pill is simply where it starts. Family planning is a process of patience, of self-awareness, of learning, of personal growth and work. It’s a matter of saving money as well as ideas and inspiration. It’s a journey through the realm of what-if and a commitment to preparing financially, emotionally, physically, and materially for a desired future.

With the holidays approaching I find myself awash in baby-planning-fever. Shopping for Christmas gifts for nephews and nieces and friend’s kids spurs it on. Setting up Christmas decorations, trimming the tree, sipping hot chocolate all would be enhanced with a child of my own, I think. Probably it has to do with nostalgia for times past; nostalgia for childhood when the holidays were so fun and exciting and just the stuff of dreams. Now that I’ve joined ‘the real world’ holidays creep up on me quietly and end too quickly amidst the chaos of planning time off and booking plane tickets and budgeting presents and coordinating dinners. Which isn’t to say the holidays aren’t fun or joyous but raw enthusiasm is harder to come by.