Before and After

by Cookie

As I sit here this morning, watching the mini blizzard outside and having a coffee, there are a gazilllion thoughts swirling around upstairs.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my life before.

You know, before I was responsible for someone elses life 24 hours a day.

And I thought about how much it really does change a person.  I mean, look at Rick on the Walking Dead.  He’s responsible for all those people’s lives.   And the Governer.  And guess what?  Crazy.  Both of them, of the batshit variety.  I sure hope that doesn’t happen to me.

Granted, there aren’t hoards of zombies trying to eat us, unless you count the crowds at Superstore on a Sunday afternoon.  Sometimes the lineups are so fucking long, I worry someone might get hungry and take a bite.  But mostly I just worry about a list of profanities coming out of my mouth towards someone bigger than me when I didn’t bring Husband along for backup.


What I’m really talking about is things like how relationships change.  Within your marriage.  With your parents.  With your co-workers. With your friends.

Within your marriage, you are absolutely solidified as partners from now until eternity.  At least if you know what’s good for you.  Because if there is any hint of a sniff of any division between you,  you are fucked.  Kids can smell that shit like a bloodhound on a deer hunt.  And they will divide and conquer.  So now, as parents, you must be on the same page even if you’re not.  Kapeesh?  Now I understand my father’s auto-response when I was a child “What did you mother say?”.  Men take note.

With your parents, it’s kinda like getting your wings.  Now that you have procreated, your relationship with them changes.  Why?  Because as grandparents, they no longer give a shit about you.  Your sole purpose now is to be the guardian of the new little love of their life.  As disheartening as this sounds, it’s actually kinda liberating.  You can do whatever you want now because they no longer notice unless it affects the child.  What’s that?  You want to go out and get loaded and arrested and spend the night in the drunk tank?  Super.  As long as they get to babysit.  The irony of course, is finding the time and energy to act like an asshole proves very difficult when chasing a toddler and carrying a tiny leprechaun in your uterus.

With your co-workers?   Yeah.  We’ve talked about this.  My priorities are at home these days.  But the advantage to that is feeling confident in the job that I do, without worrying so much about “moving up the ladder” right now.  I’ve eliminated myself from all competition and workplace bullshit.  Sometimes it’s nice to be able to accept your limitations and be honest about them, and work to live instead of live to work.  I’m sure that day will come again, and I’ll enjoy the gossip and catfights and all that jazz.  And I’ll pull out my claws and go a few rounds, just to watch someone squirm.  But right now, I’ve got Oprah episodes and Bell long distance commercials to cry over.  Fucking hormones.

And with friends.  I’m really lucky.  Most of my friends have kids, so the understanding that we keep in contact by phone and computer and see each other once a decade is sorta mutual.  I’m also lucky that I can cook.  Because then my single and childless couple friends are happy to come over here and drink my wine and eat my food once in a while.  Not that we never go out, but the dynamic changes.  Do you remember those days where if no one puked, it was a quiet night?  Or being able to nurse that hangover with McDonalds all day the next day?  Oh my God.  I don’t need a 26 of rum to feel hungover anymore.  Sometimes 24 hours alone with my child is enough to have me wake up feeling wasted the next morning.

Int the end, I’ll keep the after.  Because I can always remember the before.

And there’s always retirement. Right?