Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Planned Transition

Wintry weather here in the windy city is doing its best to put a stranglehold on and curb stomp the warm temperatures of spring. Yet my spirit is in an uplifted state and in general I have found myself in a mid-spring delightful mood. My wife’s student loan will be obliterated in just a few short months, we are in the midst of planning a celebratory trip, work has been going really well and we’ve been connecting with friends on a really personal and cool level lately.

But the single biggest contributor has been the addition of a new item to our short/medium goal list. The idea of it scared the living hell out of me as a teenager and in college. I reluctantly knew it was at least a decade away as I started my 20’s. But now, being in a loving and growing marriage, with our finances just about where we want them to be (debt free—HELLO!) my wife and I have been talking more and more about bringing a life into this world.

Although we have discussed being parents with each other off and on over the last seven years, this year the conversations have taken more realistic tones. Early in our relationship we would brush the topic by talking about the kind of parents we wanted to be. Now we are running budget estimates, talking about how we plan to spend evenings together as a family, considering becoming a single income household, and I took a good look at the number of mutual funds available through my bank where we plan to open an ESA and took inventory of how many mutual funds meet my strict investing criteria (at least 10 years old with average annualized returns of over 12%...there were over 70 J).

And lately it’s all I’ve been able to think about. On the empty seat next to me on the bus and the el I picture my toddler looking up at me. When I’m at the gym I picture myself at home bench pressing my newborn and making time to read stories with my child instead of pumping iron. I look across my cubicle and envision a crayon drawn picture made just for me.

Reflecting on my 20+ years of life there are really only two things that my soul has desired and that I actually prayed for. The first God answered about seven years ago when I first met my wife. The second has been to be a father. I used to dread in fear the idea of taking care of a life apart for my own. I mean there are no user manuals, there’s lots of bright ideas, but no single source that you can read and say, “Yup, I’m ready to be a parent now.”

But as 30 is on the horizon in the coming years my attitude has changed. I’m less and less worried about “being ready.” I’m going to make mistakes. I’m going to have a lot of successes. And all the way through I have an unbelievably amazing and loving wife to begin a new chapter of life with.                     

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