Midlife Crisis: The adventures of a thirtysomething first-time horse owner

Things are going so well for Amanda Smith. She’s happily married and the proud owner of her first horse. So why won’t her biological clock shut up?

From Amanda:

A few years ago, just after my older sister had her first child, a co-worker said to me, “You’ll know you’re ready to have kids when it’s all you can think about.” I laughed and sort of dismissed this prediction. But my co-worker assured me… it happened to her and claimed it has happened to many of her friends. I guess it made sense, but surely not for someone like me who had a “take it or leave it” attitude towards being a parent. After all, I had just purchased a horse, which at the time I had been longing to do for most of my life. Kids of my own never quite had that status in my head.

Then I met my niece for the first time, while my sister was visiting Atlanta from Tampa. My niece was three months old and perfect, of course. She was still so tiny, but laughed and smiled and it was just too cute. I was smitten, and so proud to be her aunt.

That night when my husband and I were laying in bed, he rolls over and proclaims. “Let’s have a baby!”

Wait… whaaat?

I thought I misunderstood what he said as I was dozing off to sleep, but he said it again, this time clarifying, “…Not this second” Well, gee, thanks for the notice. And also, thanks for consulting me before declaring that we should be parents. After remaining speechless (never happens) for several seconds, my Wonderful Husband explained that he knew that our current situation wasn’t ideal, (Wee House, wee paychecks, not so wee expenses) but that he could see us together raising a family. He was so excited about that prospect for the future. And that’s when everything changed.

Turns out, my co-worker was right. For the better part of three years I have done nothing but think about having kids, just because of that one brief, lovingly honest conversation with my husband. I’ve thought through all the good things (we’ve picked names, and *I* at least have determined that our kids will attend Georgia Tech like mommy and daddy) and bad things that come from thinking about having kids.

What kinds of bad things? Mostly panicky-bad type things… because I’m a big time “what-if-er”…What about the Wee House? Its… well, it’s wee with just with the two of us and the dogs. Where would a baby even sleep? We can’t put it in a dresser drawer. Wee House is also old, and repairs keep popping up, much faster than our bank accounts would prefer. And let’s not even go down the road of the housing market.

What about Alfie? I cannot fathom selling him. Is that selfish? He’s not quite up to snuff as a prospect for leasing. So then what do I do with him? Send him off for training and then see what happens? Well, that costs money, too. What about my job? Do I keep working? That means daycare… can we afford that on top of everything else?  I don’t think we can afford me not working…What about my mom? Since she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I have a heightened awareness of the time she has, and dammit she is an incredible woman, a fantastic mom and she deserves to meet her grandbabies before she isn’t able to remember things like that.

My list goes on and on and… ooooon.

I know people say the timing is never right, and that you’re never truly ready to have kids. Despite that, I’ve gone back in forth over all of the above in my mind more times and more often than I’d care to admit (and maybe, possibly crying a little about it. maybe.) trying to determine what the “right” scenario for kids is. Of course, once I get going on something, the What If Roller Coaster of Uncertainty starts flying! Not healthy, but its part of my nature.

No one is putting pressure on me, but me. I hate that I do it, but what else is a control freak like me going to do? I have to over-think and over-analyze and what-if every situation to death.

Obviously I’m having a bit of a mid-life crisis (now you see where the title of the series comes from! Ta Dah!) but I’ll figure something out, and God knows I won’t rush into anything!  I think… “think” being the operative word… I think I may put Alfie in training for a month to get him kick-started on the path of earning his keep. I’ve scrimped and saved (i.e. not spent money at DSW or Target) the past two months to get this money together, so now its a matter of presenting this option to Wonderful Husband. My hope is that  (1) Wonderful Husband tells me its a great idea and (2) Alfie comes back from boot camp a nearly model equine citizen and I can take him to a few local shows and combined tests this summer/fall and that he does well (providing I don’t screw up!). Then his prospects for being leased improve…

And if I can get him leased and earning part of his keep, then maybe … baby?

I dunno, Amanda. Kids on ponies are PRETTY cute!! Photo: HN

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