Sunday, December 5, 2010


I'm convinced that one of the most vital ingredients of a thriving long-term relationship is the ability to tolerate and support change in one's partner. Mark and I have been a couple for over 17 years now. We have both changed so much in that time. I often tease Mark that I'm going to post his Princeton senior picture somewhere in the halls of CU law school and "out" him. You see, Mark's colorful past would be a bit shocking to his current classmates and professors who see Mark as fairly driven, fairly Type A, fairly clean-cut. In Mark's senior picture at Princeton, he had two very long neatly constructed lovely blonde braids. In those days he also wore skirts and had earrings in both ears. Yep, and I fell in love. We climbed trees and had midnight (naked!) runs on the Princeton golf course with other hippee friends. We protested this and that. We sat on the porch of the vegetarian coop we lived at and had sing-a-longs of Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. We actually didn't even worry that much about the future and what we'd do with it--I think we both fancied that we'd spend our future together, but there wasn't much talk of how we'd co-construct it. We never talked about having children together. In fact, as a couple years passed, we even seemed to be in agreement that we would not have children---raising a family was for more mainstream folk than us--we had more important things to do!

And then time went on. And then we changed. Each of us in our own way. Little by little sometimes. Sometimes in what felt like a great big thumpity bump. Sometimes it felt fantastic. Sometimes it was horrible and we didn't know if we'd make it out alive, or together, or alive together.

Well, a story for another day will be how we made it through the change process of a couple not planning to have children into a couple who is going to have children. For now, let it suffice to say that we made it out of that change process alive AND together.

And now I see my beloved partner so happy to be becoming a Papa. From the porch of the coop 17 years ago, I would not have recognized this person in front of me who wants to sing to Peach in my belly, who wants to write out and "time capsule" his "intentions" to give to Peach when she turns 18, who is signing up for a breastfeeding class with me, no questions asked.  No, he didn't even ask about the fact that he doesn't have breasts. He's in this 100% and he's doing what a happy expectant Papa needs to do.

I'm a touch sad that Papa Mark is as busy as he is because I've been wishing that he were recording some of his thoughts and feelings about Peach here as well. It has been very sweet to witness his unfolding in this change process. I'm going to try to capture just a few recent moments of Papa Mark.....

Papa Mark likes to sing to you, Peach. There's a good chance that you'll come out singing rather than crying. It seems to be mostly either a morning ritual or an evening ritual, sometimes a cappella and sometimes with guitar. Bouncing 'Round the Room by Phish is a recent favorite, as well as the standards we picked out a few weeks ago.

Papa Mark also likes to put his mouth right up close to you and say with excitement and anticipation "Where's Melissa?!" This, as silly as it sounds, makes us both laugh a lot, which I can only believe is good for you, Peach. This "Where's Melissa?!" question is a gift from our many days with Glory Dog and Teacup. See, years back, I started saying to Gdog and Tcup, "Where's Mark?!" in a expectant and happy tone. Dogs learn tone quickly. They learned that this "command" meant to look around eagerly for Mark because he must be nearby. Over the years, those two words said in the right tone would alert the pooches that their Papa might be just around the very very exciting! Somehow, we are finding that asking Peach where Melissa is is perfectly funny, perfectly absurd, and perfectly tied to our crazy love for our first generation of dogs/children.

Papa Mark is preparing for sleep deprivation. How? Teacup is becoming more and more needy in these twilight years and she usually wakes up in the middle of the night asking to go out. She's wearing a night diaper these days, so we could ignore her and let her pee her pants, but Mark gets up, faithfully, carries the old pooch out, lets her do her thing in dignity, and then comes back to sleep. Sometimes this happens more than once a night. No complaints (well, at least not that many!)

We have changed together. Tolerated it, supported it. Alive and together. With Peach on the way.

Maybe Papa Mark will log in to the blog here and do some writing sometime in the next couple weeks when his semester ends. Until then, here's a picture of this good man.

Mark in Estes Park summer 2009.

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