Thursday, June 2, 2016

Before Baby Bucket List

Last weekend, we celebrated the marriage of two of our friends from college. With Noelle in tow, Joel and I enjoyed the party like we always have. Wandering the dance floor in search of my baby who was being passed around, I ran into a friend I hadn't spoken to yet. He asked me how motherhood was (a frequent question, since very few of our friends have children yet) and my answer was, "Great! I love it!" He just smiled and said, "Well, you and Joel have always made everything you do look exciting and you both seem happy." Then he went on to share that many of his friends have had kids and seem tired and worn out by it. He attributed that to them not being ready to become parents. 

I am NO guru on the subject, but I can speak from our experience. I shared this with my friend and I will share it with you. When Joel and I got married we knew that we were not ready to become parents. There was still so much that we wanted to experience together. We knew it would be totally fine if we had a child before we thought we were ready, but if we were able, we wanted to accomplish a few things before we crossed into the great unknown of parenthood. So, we came up with a "before baby bucket list".

As you probably know, we had a lot of travel goals in mind, but there were other things too...

 It went like this:

  • Backpack Europe together
  • Get out of debt
  • Invest our money
  • Visit New Zealand
  • Whale Watch
  • Visit South East Asia
  • Ride an Elephant
  • Visit Africa
  • Visit South America
  • Jump out of an airplane
  • Drive across country
  • Camp in America's most famous National Parks
  • Drive Highway 1
  • Be married for 5 years
  • Joel wanted his Masters Degree
  • I wanted to invest in my health- and get good at preventative (natural) care
  • We wanted to move out of the dorms (we lived in campus apartments for a while)
  • We wanted to live in the city (the most happening spots) where we could walk everywhere we liked
  • Learn to garden and grow food
  • Get chickens (eggs)
  • I wanted a cat
You get the idea. When we returned from South East Asia in the winter of 2015, we were struck with a deep sense of accomplishment. We had completed our list and felt ready for the next phase of our adventure together. We were excited to try for a baby and delighted to find out we were pregnant. 

I think everyone has different experiences and feelings around becoming parents, but for me, I can't say I felt ready (how can you possibly ever feel ready???). However, I WANTED to become a mother. I WANTED to have a baby. And I LOVE being with Noelle. It makes the long nights, spit-up, and poop diapers, all OK because I chose to have this child and I want her in my life. 

I know that not everyone's plans work that way. In this sense, I am grateful that God allowed us to complete these goals before Noelle. I needed that. I needed to not look back and wonder what it would have been like to drive across country, just with Joel, in a convertible. I wanted to desire parenthood and know that it would be the next, and greatest adventure I could experience. 

For us, the Baby Bucket List was a must and I think it has helped to make this experience even richer. 

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