Monday, May 14, 2012
Rob and Celia have just moved into their new house, two weeks before their baby is due.
Finally, finally, finally, Rob thought. Not only was the most massive item on the pre-baby to-do list completed, but Rob was also experiencing a bigger, primal sense of accomplishment. It engulfed him now as he watched Celia, dozing on the sofa in the middle of the living room, and listened to their mothers set up housekeeping; Celia’s mother upstairs in her own room, since she was living with them now, and Rob’s mother in the kitchen putting away the first grocery store run of their new life.
Rob identified the feeling: I am an adult. It was hard to believe. Rob and his friends had graduated college right before the economic downturn, and he was one of the few to have hung onto to his first job. He was the only one to have gotten married and he was certainly the first to be on the verge of having a baby. Some of his friends had boomeranged back to living with parents and others were in doubled-up roommate situations, and here Rob was, standing in the living room of his own house.
Of course, the down payment had come from Celia’s mother selling her house, and heaven knows he still had his reservations about living with the inclined-to-be-flaky ding-dong who had birthed his wife. But the arrangement killed several birds with one stone when Celia’s mother lost her job and they suddenly needed both childcare and a bigger place to live. Rob had been raised to be financially conservative and owning a home represented a key piece of being responsible.
In the back of his mind, Rob tried to figure out how to put money away to buy his mother-in-law out of her interest in the house someday. God willing, his income would outpace inflation and the value of their home would rise and maybe someday he could do so with a home equity loan…
But he had to wait to cross that bridge when he got there. He thought about Celia’s words in response to his control-freak insensitivity right before they had left the apartment for the last time. “You’re going to make yourself crazy, Rob. You’re only as alone as you make yourself with your incredibly unrealistic expectations of—everything. You can’t expect us to work to your perfect script.”
“I get it, Celia, but it will still drive me crazy,” he had said as he kissed her.
His life now seemed to be comprised of a relatively solid foundation, with a structure of pure chaos built upon it. Well, maybe not pure chaos, but there was much that was unpredictable, and Rob did not like unpredictability.
But Celia did OK with predictibility. Between the two of them, maybe they could manage a live-in mother, a baby, two jobs and a mortgage.
Suddenly, Celia sat up her eyes confused. “Rob?”
He smiled at her, feeling good.
“I think my water just broke!” she said.
What happens next?