A while ago, back before we decided to be honest with ourselves and cancel even our bare-minimum cable package, I saw a Honda commercial extolling the virtues of the Leap List. The Leap List, it seems, is a sort of Bucket List of things you’ve always dreamed of doing, except the deadline isn’t death but some other major life event - namely, according to the commercial, having a baby.
With no conscious decision to do so, my mind began spouting all of the things that have for years floated around in a nebulous wouldn’t-it-be-nice-to miscellany but had never before spooled forth as an actual set of goals with names and deadlines to anchor them into existence. Yet suddenly here they were, insistently making themselves known. The list went something like this: run a marathon, learn Turkish (my husband’s native language), write a book. Go back to Paris, this time with my husband; but first, brush up on my French and put to use some of the books collected on previous visits that have for years sat untouched on my shelf. Re-establish a yoga practice; this time make it stick. Ride in a hot air balloon. Travel, always more travel.
Less than a year later, with none of these things checked off my list, my husband and I are expecting our first baby. Fleeting thoughts of unrealized dreams floated through my head as the reality of this new development registered. But they floated right back out as a new set of goals – a healthy pregnancy, becoming the type of parents we hope to be – set up firm residence.
Pregnancy thus far has been nothing like I expected, nor has my own casual shrugging off of the list of things that remain undone. Perhaps it has only served to help me highlight which things I value most and which others will not leave me feeling unfulfilled in their absence. Or perhaps – and seasoned parents and even I myself one day may laugh at this – I will see that while there is a distinct Before and After to life surrounding the birth of a child, the pursuance of my own life goals needn’t be completely tossed aside. Perhaps there will actually be time in between and around the diapers and the feedings and the potty-training to dedicate to undertaking the things that nurture me and feed my soul. I hope it’s not just wishful thinking.
But the realization of one goal has already sprung from the decision to start a family. When my husband and I decided that it was time, a voice inside me said, Well then you’d better start that blog. It’s now or never. I later learned that at the time of my first post, I was already pregnant. So maybe, just maybe, there will be a way to find room for both. And maybe someday I will enjoy that hot air balloon ride with my child at my side.