Sunday, September 12, 2010

New reality

I was reminded a few times this weekend about the "new reality" of our lives as parents. Not that I'd want to, but there's definitely no turning back after starting a family. Ellie is the center of our universe in a million wonderful ways. And she's also the center of our social lives these days. By that I mean that we can't do anything without considering Ellie's needs above our own. And that's fine and what we wanted as parents... but it's taking some getting used to.
Brian and I turned into total home-bodies during Ellie's first year. It's just been easier, and cheaper, to stay in at night. But this past weekend we went to dinner at the houses of two different friends. It was a life-saver because our kitchen is destroyed right now while we replace some cabinets. Plus, it was really fun to get in some social time. That said, both evenings were very challenging where Ellie was concerned.
On Friday we took her pack-n-play with the hope that we could lay her down and relax during the evening with Nick and Abby. But the combination of Ellie's cold and the new surroundings was too much. She screamed for about 20 minutes before we gave up and brought her to the dinner table with us. We still had fun, but Ellie required some serious juggling during dinner and then didn't allow for much post-dinner visiting time.
On Saturday we went to a new friend's house -- one of Brian's co-workers and her husband -- and started the evening earlier. We couldn't arrange for a babysitter, and figured after Friday night that Ellie wouldn't allow for a late evening out. As expected, she was pretty fussy during our dinner with friends... but she did thoroughly enjoy when our hostess gave her a metal pot and wooden spoon to play with on the floor. We all had to talk a little louder at the table, but Ellie was content for about 20 minutes!
I guess we're doing OK with our parent-social life juggling act. But it's going to be a long time before we're able to "go out" without a lot of prep or a child tagging along. And that's OK... just different.
The final way that I was reminded of our parent status this weekend was when we pulled the trigger and used our long-saved credit card airline points to book flights to my younger brother's wedding in October. We're excited to go there, but I'd pictured us using the free flights for a more exotic trip at some point. We finally decided that a trip to California or even back to visit friends in New England is going to be nearly impossible for us to afford, schedule and execute at this point in our lives. And I'm not feeling sorry for myself. I love our lives right now and wouldn't trade Ellie for a trip around the world!
I'm sure we'll get those places eventually... and maybe we'll even make it through a whole dinner with friends even sooner without cries of protest from our bundle of joy :)

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