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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Six-Month Mark

I was never good at dating, or at least "dating" in the sense that movies/TV/friends seem to present the concept. They make it seem so breezy and fun: meet a guy, ask or get asked out, eat a meal or attend an event, kiss, make a new friend, get serious or more often than not, go your separate ways. I instead think of dating as a series of awkward moments and communication blunders . With the exception of a few, I quickly skipped the dating phase and went straight into relationships--though of course, in the first few months, it's always called dating because of the general state of denial, or lack of definition/commitment...

Zenas and I have known each other now for exactly six months. A good friend told me just before I had the baby: "It's okay if you don't feel in love with your baby immediately. There's a lot of pressure to feel all this love instantly, and you might not. But it will come." I thought it was a brave thing for a new mother to say. And I could imagine, despite the months-long hype leading up to the birth, it's essentially a blind date. A lot of fantasy and hope and anticipation bundled up in a flannel blanket. A wrinkly face that might not be so appealing. What if there were no chemistry???

But I got lucky. It was love at first sight. Giddy, instantaneous crush on someone I imagined more than knew. But it's easy to love a newborn. Their need for you feels like the most precious love. And these small creatures can crush even a hardened heart. But that was not yet true love. Those first few months were the hazey, hormonal and sleep-deprivated weeks of infatuation. My lump of a larva could coo, poo, spit up and sleep like no other. It might have been an unhealthy period of little sleep and all obsession but I was hooked and he was the drug that made me feel good.

I started to feel a shift around month four, when the traveling began. That's always a milestone in any relationship, that first trip away, to spend 24/7 under duress. Away from our daily routine, I had to tune into his cues better in order to provide as much comfort as I could. We got to know each other's little quirks, sleeping and eating habits, and I became the authority on how to make him happy.

Yes we have had some late nights: I did most of the talking while he cried. I made mistakes and I apologized. His drinking grew heavy. He made messes that I had to clean up. But never did either of us think even once of leaving or being with anyone else. If anything, we kept building new routines, inside jokes, and filled photo albums. We kissed all the time.

Now we find ourselves at that six-month mark when there's no question of it being more than dating. If you make it halfway to a year, any relationship seems suddenly more significant. (Less than that might be considered a fling.) Any serious commitment before six months sounds frivolous and insane. But when you say "six months," somehow it's acceptable if you decide to get married, move in, whatever.

I want to be with Zenas forever!

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