As we stood there, in the invigorating sea breeze, I looked out to the horizon and took a deep breath. I looked at my wife. I looked down at our daughter. It dawned on me that that there was now a new meaning to trips like this, a purpose that added a entirely different dimension. I realised that what is often initially assumed to be a constraint was actually the complete opposite.
Easter weekend presented us with such an opportunity. The weather was good (enough), we had no prior engagements, and the car had passed it’s MOT. We decided upon visiting the coast, knowing that it was well within reach so it could feasibly be made into a day trip, and suitably adventurous compared to our suburban home.
Why did we want to go to the coast for a day anyway? We wanted to see the sea, have a walk, enjoy the fresh air, eat an ice cream, do something that we like to do. But there was that added dimension. The reasons I have just given may have seemed as though they were the primary reasons, but the underlying, less obvious reasons cannot be disregarded. We wanted to prove that we could do this sort of things with a baby, a long drive, unknown territory. We wanted to impress upon her the things that we enjoy, and the pleasure that comes from being outdoors. We wanted to take her on her first trip to the seaside, and to experience an activity such as this together as a happy family.
I remember early on my wife and I had discussed what life would be like with a child. We both came packaged with preconceptions of what happens when you become a parent; the sacrifices and changes that we would be challenged with. We sat there and had reasoned that our life didn’t have to change though, and that we would continue doing all the things we enjoyed doing. We convinced ourselves that we could easily defy the convention of these preconceptions with the choices we made, and by taking the plunge, dealing with whatever problems as and when they presented themselves. We knew that having a child could not hold us back.
I have to admit though, that when faced with the prospect of having a baby it is hard to avoid any negative assumptions regarding the sacrifices you face, but all those things you have to adjust to seem minimal in comparison to what you have to gain.
Our will and choices genuinely feel forever changed by having a child. But subtly, and surprisingly, these changes are all of a resounding, positive note. Now that we have a daughter there is only purpose added and nothing taken away. We have a reason, or excuse if you will, to take opportunities that previously may have been passed up due to being too expensive, or too far, or too much hassle. We now have more reason for visits to the beach and an entire universe of other limitless opportunities.