Much to my surprise, it held quite a bit of weight. For with that document everyone expected us to take ‘the next step’, and immediately wanted to know when we were going to have children. We had talked about having children for quite a while, though never completely seriously. I insisted that we be married prior to conceiving a child. We were in the process of moving out, getting our own place, together. Moving proved to be very stressful and taxing on our relationship. We fought almost non-stop, usually about nothing. For what we were fighting about, no matter what was said, was really about our inability thus far to conceive our first child, as we had planned. She blamed me, convinced that the reason we had not yet conceived was purely my fault. We went on this way for 10 months, every month anxiously awaiting the results of that test. It is one of those tests you cannot study for. We just wished and hoped every month that this would be the month we did not fail that test again. Then finally, in December, we got the results we were hoping for all along. We found out that we were going to be parents. At the age of 20, we would be responsible for another human life, how exciting, how exhilarating, how elating, and how scary. One minute it was, “Wow, we are going to have a baby,” then it was “Wow, we are going to have a baby, everyday, forever and ever.”
The next 10 months were exactly what the books said they would be, verbatim. When a book said she would be feeling something she would, when it mentioned what the heart rates would be, that is what they were, down to the week. We went through the morning sickness. We went through the cravings, the Lamaze classes, the heartburn, the contractions and labor pains. I even spent every evening reading to my unborn child, everything you would expect a pregnancy to be. More importantly and most unnoticeably, our relationship grew during that time; we matured and prepared to become parents. We worried about what we would do in this situation or that. We worried what kind of person would he or she become when they were grown. Where would they go to school? What could we provide for them? It was during this time that we decided, more or less, what kinds of parents we would be. We decided what would be important to us and what our rules would be, we were ready. Well, at least we thought that we were.
Julia was brought into this world on September 1, nine days before our anniversary. I remember it being a very strange feeling. It was almost as if I was outside of my body watching everything from above, and I was thinking, “Wow this is really happening. This is what all of this waiting was for.” It was a miraculous thing to watch. The emergence of a child into the world is a scene without parallel. Julia was cleaned, weighed, washed, and tested, and then handed to me. All at once, I felt an overbearing desire to protect this little girl from everything in that big mean nasty world. I felt a new kind of love and respect for my wife. We had learned to perfect the dance of two. We had come to this point and brought a new life into the world, and it was now our responsibility to raise her to be a good person.
At last, they allowed us to bring our newborn baby home. We got her in the door, laid her in her bed and thought, “Ok, now what?” We sat down, completely worn down and exhausted, looked at each other and realized; it was time to start a new dance, the dance of three.