“We make plans, and God laughs.”
So says my dad, via Woody Allen, via an old Yiddish proverb.
We had plans.
The plan was for Lee and I to start trying for our second baby next summer, during our fabulous 10-year wedding anniversary vacation which was going to be a river cruise from Bucharest to Budapest. That plan would have put Molly and her sibling at 3+ years apart, which, we decided, was a great age gap.
The plan was for us to pay down our mortgage for another year or two and then sell and move to a bigger place, once the second baby came along.
The plan was for Molly to be a big cousin before she was a big sister.
The plan was for me to be in my new job for more than a year and 1/2 (minus a maternity leave); to spend some time focusing on finding and maintaining the balance between having a career and having a family.
The plan was for Lee’s business to really take off before we made any major life changes.
The plan was to give us some more time; time with Molly and time with each other, to continue to navigate this rocky road of introducing a third person into our family and onto our team.
We had plans.
And then, just a few days after Molly’s very first birthday, all the plans stood still. And I swear to you, when I looked at that pregnancy test, locked in a stall in the Ferry Building, that I heard a chuckle, from somewhere up there in the heavens, along with a voice that sounded unquestionably like it was saying “so much for your plans, you sweet, innocent idiot.”
We tried so hard for Molly. We tried for almost two years before I got pregnant. We tried and tried and I remember having this same feeling, that I had no control; that what was going to happen was going to happen no matter how hard I willed it or wanted it.
I should have learned then, that planning is all well and good until life unfolds the way it’s going to anyway.
These days, our plans are logistical – what will we do with the cats while our house is on the market? Who can babysit Molly during open house time, which is also her nap time? How are we ever going to come up with enough money to cover moving costs, let alone a down payment, let alone taxes on a bigger house, let alone childcare for two kids? What neighborhood do we want to live in (and where can we afford)? Is a backyard or a third bedroom more important to us?
And then there is the bigger question: How are we going to manage with two kids under two? What’s our plan?
We have until mid-November to come up with, if not a plan, at least a map. And it will undoubtedly be a map peppered with twists and turns and roadblocks and hurdles because that’s the beauty and the terribleness of living, isn’t it?
Lee and I are lucky – so lucky – to be bringing a second life into the world. We’re giving Molly a sibling, a little brother or sister whom she’ll never remember what life was like not knowing. And we’re so, so, so very blessed by that. So unbelievably blessed that sometimes I can’t believe it, because it all feels so random and doesn’t make any sense and why? Why us? Why now? This pregnancy was not in the plans!
And when I find myself caught in this spiralling line of questioning, it’s then that I hear that voice again, that booming, resonating voice, saying, “quiet, child…you’re not the one calling the shots here, after all.”