The True Spirit of Video Games

This story was submitted to me by a community member named Brandon. I couldn’t even bring myself to proofread it, and thought I would publish to my blog as-is. I did not want to take away from his story in any way, so I left it just the way it was sent to me. Truly the most amazing story of how video games can affect people’s lives for the better.

Anyone who calls themselves a gamer should be required to read this story.

I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. 🙂

“This is the reason why I end every statement with the words: Brandon and babie3 slimmy (aka: PlayStation 3 Slim) and co

Why do I call the PlayStation 3 Slim the babie3 slimmy (aka: PlayStation 3 Slim) and co
Difficult question to answer, so I’ll try my best! I don’t know if I’ll ever meet the right person, settle down, have children, grow old and die a happy person! I know that may never happen with what I have – my disability has certain barriers that I may never over come and if I do it won’t happen in this lifetime, due to peoples perceptions on what a disability is and how they think it affects the person that has had a life changing experience of being disabled. Whilst some think they know – they actual don’t KNOW and may never know until it affects them!

If given the chance and if you see how PlayStation affects myself, the history of the PlayStation I have experienced! What it has taught me about myself! The experience I have been apart of that I have seen how positive the brand of the PlayStation has brought into my life and the uplift that was witnessed because of the PlayStation! Why do I end the messages with what you see? It’s a true story but a long story of what happened when I was studying at College!

Whilst I was studying at college. I knew a friend of mine who was sobbing! I asked a member of staff at the cafeteria to bring over 2 cups of coffee. I sat beside him and asked him if I could be of any assistance? He went on to explain to me, his daughter whose name was Aimee, was terminally ill with Cancer and had a disability, she had appeared to close herself off from the world, not communicating with them because she knew she couldn’t do anything about changing her circumstances which was beyond her control and her parents couldn’t do anything to change that situation. Because of his state of mind I had accompanied him back to the house and notice a Harry Potter door of their daughter’s room at the top of the landing – what I saw I’ll never forget – when I opened the door, the whole room was of Harry Potter – I saw the little girl in the corner looking out the window. All of a sudden I had a flashback and quickly looked around the room and ran back downstairs to ask her father if he could take me back into town as quickly as possible before the stores had closed for the day!

When we got to GAME I had asked the store assistant for a babie2 (aka: PlayStation 2)? Her father had asked you already have a PlayStation 2 why would you want another one? Moments later the store assistant had asked, “Any Games with that?”

I said, “Please could you locate ALL the games that EA (Electronic Arts) had made and released related to “HARRY POTTER!” I had asked the store assistant to place each game individually and in a transparent bag as I had a plan that May or may not work, but I had to give it a try! Her father immediately smiled because he then knew why I had dragged him into town.

Upon arriving back to their house I had asked her mom if I could knock on their daughters room to set yup everything that was brought from the store – and once given permission by both parents I went about setting up the babie2 (aka: PlayStation 2)!

I had taken off my shoes knocked on the door and introduced myself and ask if I could borrow her TV. I went about setting up the console and placed the babie2 (aka: PlayStation 2) joy pad on my right side – at the corner of my eye I could see her mother and father watching as the door was slightly ajar, to what I was doing! I was sitting at the rear-end of her bed as my back wasn’t touching her Harry Potter bed, took out the transparent video games and held one of them up into the air and said “Should I play this, babie2 (aka: PlayStation 2)?, Nah wrong one!”. All of a sudden I felt the bed move, I wasn’t the one that was moving the bed! Got the first one out and said ” There you are, will play this yes babie2 (aka: PlayStation 2)!” The bed moved again! Placed the CD inside the console and started to look around for the joy pad, I couldn’t find it wasn’t where I left it! A scream was herd and again it wasn’t me! I looked at the console and thought where the joy pad is? Followed the cable from the console right to the handheld part of the joy pad itself! It was the young girl playing the console, playing Harry Potter! My job was done!

I cleared up the mess I had made and crawled out the room – where her father was shocked. His Wife was literally downside sobbing and I might add in shock by what they both witnessed!

I tapped her father on the shoulder and went downstairs. As I walked downstairs I could hear the young girl commenting on the spells that was used in the Movie! When her father came downstairs he had asked me why I had done what I did: I walked over to the door and pointed up to the direction of where we could hear screams of happiness and joy coming from they daughter’s bedroom and said:

“Do you hear that? That is the ‘True Spirit of Video Games!’, because that’s where dreams can come true!”

A few seconds later we heard a faint tapping at the door, I had opened the door and her mother had ran off again – I peered to see what see [her mother] had saw and it was the disabled girl with her arms stretch out as if to ask to be picked up? The daughters Father had picked his daughter up and you could tell by his body language he was SHAKING visibly shaking! His wife had come back into the kitchen and their daughter had jested to her father to be passed on to her mother, and her mother was shaking alot more!

What happened next I’ll never forget – she had jested to both her mother and father as if to say something to me! I had moved a chair so she could rest on it and went down on my one knee and said to her:
“If you were 30 years older, I would escort you home and ask for your parents hand in marriage!” She had smiled what I said, as if she knew where I was coming from! I said to her, “You are the most bravest lady I have ever met and will never ever be forgotten, not in my lifetime! Go back upstairs fellow gamer and let me know how the game ends!” We hugged and as we hugged it was as if I could feel her energy ebbing away. The one thing I’ll always remember was the hug which I’ll never forget! As that was the last time I saw her!

The following day I met her father at the gates of the college and he brought me a coffee and had said that for the first time in a long time they had their daughter back and it was a joy to know that a video game can do that! He thanked me and I said “No, no, no, not me was the babie2 (aka: PlayStation 2) and co that deserves all the credit! I had asked him when your daughter passes away in her sleep can you let me know so I can pay me respects? We exchanged numbers and went our separate ways !

A few weeks later I got a text message saying she’d past way in her sleep – I went to the church service and walked to her coffin, draped in Harry Potter linen. There daughter was now at peace and I noticed alongside her was the game that she played and beside that there was a plaque which stated “All we have is our dreams for the True Spirit of Video Games!” I looked directly at the parents and was puzzled by what they had done!
At the wake I walked over to her father we hugged and I had to ask: At the church service I saw what I’ll never forget, why did you fo what you did? He pointed in a direction that I looked at and his wife had opened a door and pointed up towards the roof, I heard this coming from the daughters’ parent:

“Do you hear that? That is the True Spirit of Video Games!”

I looked back towards the daughters’ father and thanked him for what he had done we hugged and as we hugged I said to “I’ll never forget her – NEVER!” Her mother had approached us and I had thanked her also and hugged and said the same thing as I said to her husband! And left them to enjoy the rest of their memories that had of their daughter.

When I got back to my flat I looked at my babie2 (aka: PlayStation 2) I thought to myself that was an experience we (I and the PlayStation brand) will never forget and as a continuing tribute to all those that have a disability or face hardship as that young lady had faced – to honor them, to honor her, and many individuals who goes beyond the call of duty to aid others before themselves I will forever , and for the rest of my life always end with what you and others read – that is Brandon and babie3 slimmy (aka: PlayStation 3 Slim) and co

Now all that reads my posts knows why I sign off by saying what I say with this term Brandon and babie3 slmmy (aka: PlayStation 3 Slim) and co”

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Inertia…Sometimes We All Need A Push

Laws of science always apply.

Lots of people ask me for advice. Well, okay, I’ll admit…they don’t ASK all the time. They just sit there, frowning, talking about all the things that are happening in their lives. All the things that are making them sad. All the things they wish they could change.

I admit, I’ve lost a few friends over this. I’m sorry, but if you have all these problems, and I’m a good enough friend to give you insight into what the problem is and how to fix it–and you agree– and you do nothing about it…I can’t associate with you. I can’t associate with weak people. I can look at them from a distance, but I can’t get too close. Weakness is like a disease…it spreads quickly like a wildfire and without bias. 

MOMENTS of weakness are a different story. Everyone has them. Everyone can relate to making a decision that goes against everything you believe in just because it feels right at the time. Everyone’s done it. If you haven’t, I suggest you do it at least once to get an insight into what it feels like to let everything go, and just do what you feel…

Tangent aside, I like to give advice. I can’t stop myself. Ever. It gets me into trouble sometimes. but I don’t care. Don’t come to a bereavement counselling student and discuss your problems and NOT expect advice.

Anyway,

I have these two friends…they are a couple. We’ll call them Sam and Sally. Sam and Sally are “repeat offenders”, as I call them–people who have broken up and gotten back together before. They recently broke up again. Sally is a good friend of mine. She was in my wedding. She came over and was very upset. They had broken up a few days before, and I’d seen her right after it happened, two days later, and then finally, the night before they got back together.

She was a mess. Let’s say the breakup was a mutual thing. Sam acted like an asshole, Sally called him on it, he apologized, but the level of asshole-ness was too extreme at the time, so she had a hard time forgiving him right away. She dwelled on it, which lead to him dwelling on things, which lead to a mutual ‘dwelling’ phase. Until she realized she missed him. A lot.

She was over here, at ‘The Clinic’ as I call it (my couch), and I could tell someone had to do something. So I interfered.

I threw myself right into the middle of their problem. I got myself involved because I saw a need for something to happen.

You know that moment when you see something happening, and you feel like you could help? Like if you were to see a lost little boy wandering around in the city…or an old woman hobbling across a busy street?

Is that wrong? Even though I helped the situation and they got back together with better ideals, and a more concrete idea of what they BOTH want out of their relationship, and a deeper understanding of each other, should I have gotten involved? I think the answer is yes.

Well, the answer is Inertia.

Inertia is  is the resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion or rest, or the tendency of an object to resist any change in its motion. And object at rest stays at rest, until an external force acts upon it, giving it motion. And then once in motion, will not stop until another external force comes along and…well, you know the rest.

I am the external force. 

I think everyone needs an external force at one time or another in their lives. You need someone, an unbiased outsider, to give you the low-down, down-low on your situation. Someone that can see both sides, and see where the problem is, and give it just a little push in the right direction.

In Sam and Sally’s case, they are just a young couple with nothing holding them together. No kids, they don’t share an apartment, they have nothing keeping them together besides their genuine desire to be together. True beauty. in it’s simplest form.

Sam and Sally needed some inertia.

Sometimes, all someone needs is a little push in the right direction. Some people don’t like to be the external force, but I don’t mind. There’s something gratifying about noticing that someone needs help, and them offering them your assistance.

Whatever the case may be.

Sam and Sally aside, there have been many times in my life that I, myself , have been given an external force. And I appreciate it. Whether good or bad, external forces bring you to new understandings, and new perspectives on life.

Giving birth to a child without any pain medications was a huge ‘external force’ for myself. It really gives you a new perspective of what pain really is, what strength really is, and what really matters in life. I guarantee if you speak to a first-time mom who had an epidural, versus a first-time mom who went all-natural, you’d have a Venn diagram with almost NOTHING in the middle. Besides the baby.

Death would have to be the ultimate external force.

The unexpected death of a loved one has been one of the biggest changing factors in my life, to date. Although the death was extremely painful to watch and deal with at the time, it has brought be to higher levels of appreciation and understanding for the life I have been given. It gave me purpose and direction,  and a desire to excel. It gave me a better perspective on what to appreciate and what to hold dear to my heart.

We all need these external forces, regardless of how they come into our lives. Whether it’s a friend helping your situation (that’s what friends are for, right?), a huge life event, or the death of a loved one, we need all of these things to happen sometimes.

We all need something that rattles us to the core, something that wakes us up like a smelling salt. Something that reminds us that we are alive, and ever changing. Something that reminds us that while, yes, there are other people in the world, it is US, personally that need to take a stand in our own worlds, and make something happen for ourselves.

We all need something to live for, and sometimes we forget what those things are, until we receive our external forces.

When it rains

This past weekend was great. Fabulous weather, fabulous family, fabulous life. So why the hell have I been crying all weekend, I ask myself. I never cry. EVER. I’m not a crier…never have been. So why the eff have I been a sobbing mess these last couple days? My period came and went with the same waves of angst, rage, and bitterness that always concludes with an uncomfortable day of whining…and that was it. Nope, that’s not the reason for the tears. Saturday-cry. Sunday-cry…WTF?

As I tried to figure out why I was such a hot mess this weekend, several reasons pop into my head.

We’re poor. I mean, really poor this month. As my husband and I assessed our bi-weekly finances, we realized we had about $4.54 left until Friday. Our car is almost paid off. As we’re nearing the end of our 75-year contract on our Cobalt, we have incurred late charges over the years. Now, since we’re at the end of the loan, we’ll have to pay extra this month and next, so that it is paid off on time. What’s an extra 50 bucks, you ask? Well…that 50 bucks means a lot. And I’m pretty sure that 50 bucks is why I’ve been a teary-eyed, red-faced, emotional wreck this past weekend.

My husband called his parents, who gave him gas money for the week. At least he’d be able to make it to work. I saw the 50 bucks on my kitchen table, and felt good. Then I opened the fridge and realized we didn’t have enough food for the week. I looked at our diaper supply which was dwindling down to about 4 diapers. DEF not gonna work. We talked about it, and I told him that I’d have to use that money on the table for food and diapers…we’d have to figure the whole ‘getting to work’ situation out…after our kid had the things he needs.

I decided I’d call my mother, and explain the situation to her. Maybe she could help.

Alas, she did not. Could not. Whatever you wanna call it.

As I hung up the phone, I began sobbing. HARD. The feeling of being 26 with a child and a family and not being able to get him the things he needs…well, it’s awful. I’m almost crying again as I write this all down.

This is the first time in quite a long time that we haven’t had money. We’ve successfully depleted our savings, and with another few months before I get my student loan disbursement, pretty sure there won’t be any ‘savings’ for a while.

My husband saw me there, crying. He decided to call his parents back and see if they could help us out. They said they would pick us up some groceries, and I felt a little better…a little.

Nolan went down for his nap, and then I heard a knock on the door. It was them. The ‘outlaws’, we like to call them. We opened the door to see them standing there, soaked from head to toe, holding several bags of groceries. These people went out and bought us food in the middle of a hail storm. Thunder, lightning, and pouring rain and hail. And then they delivered it to our door.

As they came in, I started unloading the food with shame. I felt awful. God damn it. Now I’m crying AGAIN. Aaaaanyway….

I mean, it’s awesome knowing that there are people that care about us, that will help us as much as they possibly can, but it is still so awful to know that if they hadn’t been there to help us this week, we would be selling our things at a pawn shop, or going to a food bank for food. Knowing that if I had gone to school a few years sooner, or NOT gotten laid off two years ago, that things would most likely be different. Looking at those groceries made me so thankful and so sad at the same time. I now understand the shame and sadness that TRULY poor people must feel every day.

As I unloaded the items, I couldn’t stop it. It was coming, and I knew it. I popped like a balloon filled with tears, and I exploded all over them. I don’t think they really understood why, but they’ll read this, and then they’ll get it.

So, as it would seem, the next month will be a difficult one. Spent pinching pennies, clipping coupons, and finding deals. After that, the car should be paid off, so that’s a good chunk of money we’ll be able to save, and with school starting back up soon, I’ll get my loan disbursements, and we should be back to normal.

On my drive home from work yesterday, I cried again. Same reasons. I realized that poor moms probably cry a lot. I also realize that there are people that have it much worse than us. There are people with no homes, living in shelters, and stealing food just to live. Then I remembered that, when I was a kid, my Dad used to do those things to support us. He used to go out in the middle of the night to find metal and cans and junk to scrap so he could put food on the table for us. He also did many more unsavory, undesirable, sometimes criminal things just to support his family.

I got home from work and saw my little boy, in our nice little apartment, watching a nice, big TV with his Daddy and  that Anne Murray song started playing in my head…”even though we ain’t got money, I’m so in love with ya, honey.”

I know it could be much worse. And the amazing American Beauty quote comes to mind:

I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me… but it’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst… And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life… You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry… you will someday.

Beauty is in the eyes of…

My Son

            My son is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. His eyes are blue, like the sky on the most perfect spring day. Most of the time, they are perfectly round, like little blue raquetballs, darting around, taking in his surroundings. When he gets tired, the shape of them changes to almost almond-shaped, outer edges pointing downward like a ski slope.

Before he was born, I was positive he would come out looking just like me. I am dominantly Italian, with dark, deep features–dark hair, dark skin, and dark eyes. I thought surely that my features would overtake my husband’s, but I was happily surprised to see that they didn’t—light hair, cute boyish features, and blue eyes. The doctors assured me that his eye color would most likely change, but alas, they did not. And I couldn’t be happier.

I watch him intently as he eats his meals with tiny, chubby little hands grabbing wildly at fruits and macaronis, stuffing them into his cute, pink little mouth, one by one.  At the mere mention of food, his eyes squint into a smile, wrinkled at the outer edges, and with little arms reaching up toward me, we go into the kitchen to eat.

You can tell a lot about a person by their eyes. I’d like to think you can tell a lot about a baby by their eyes, as well. I can tell if he’s tired, happy, content, angry, or sick—all just by looking into those little blue eyes.

We recently taught him to “wink”. If you wink at him, he closes his eyes tightly and harshly, squinting as though he is staring directly at the sun. His round eyes turn into a wrinkled mess of skin, and his mouth opens wide into a large smile, showing all 16 of his teeth. He then repeats this process about six to eight times, until he gets the desired laughing reaction from his audience.

In his eyes, I can see the future. I can see where I’ve been, where I’m going, and where I need to be. I can see Christmases and Halloweens to come, monster truck rallies, sports events, and life passing by. I can see the first day of Kindergarten, graduation day, and his wedding. I can see my son, my husband, and myself. Above all, I see my life, and my purpose. To look into the eyes of something you created with the one you love is an experience unlike any other. I take one look into those laughing eyes, and I just know that this is where we are meant to be.

They say everything happens for a reason…

I never really knew or understood how life-changing it could be when a loved one dies. On May 21, 2011, I watched as my father took his last breaths at Saint Peter’s Hospital in Albany. It had only been five or six weeks since we found out he had stage four lung cancer, and by that time it had progressed to a point at which there was nothing more they could do. He spent his last 11 days alive in the hospital, and the last three of those on hospice care.

The pain I felt in my heart was overwhelming. Indescribable. Unless you have been in this same circumstance, you will never understand. To watch someone you love very much die right in front of you is hard enough—the things that happened in my life immediately following the most heart-breaking experience in my life made it even more overbearing.

We immediately moved back into my mother’s two-family home to try and help her with some expenses, and to just be there for her. She quickly found that, with taxes coming up soon and his final expenses (he had no life insurance) she wasn’t going to be able to afford the mortgage. She put the house on the market, and it sold in five days. They wanted to close by the end of the month, so we had about three weeks to vacate the premises. The last day before we had to be out, I went downstairs into my mother’s apartment to say goodbye to our cat who we had for about eight years (he was staying with the house per the new buyer’s request), and I had a realization. My whole family was now gone. Everyone. Growing up, it was my Mother, Father, The Dog, The Cat, and I. Our dog had died in February, my Father in May, now the cat was gone, and my Mother was moving away. My entire family was gone. I had taken them for granted for so long, and now they were all gone. I could still call my mother on the phone, but they days of her being close by were no more. Now it would be weeks – even months between seeing her

We found out later that week that it would be my husband’s last day at work. He worked for a subcontractor for DirecTV, and they were bought out by a larger corporation. Almost everyone that worked there was out of a job, including him. So, along with everything else that was going on in our lives, now this. We had no money saved up to move into a new apartment, and with him losing his job we really had nowhere left to go. We called my husband’s parents and asked if we could stay at their home for an undisclosed length of time. They have a nice home, with two extra bedrooms, so I suppose it worked out fine.

Now, here we are a month and a half later, living in a home with five people and six cats. They already had four cats—Fuzzy, Cleo, Lucy and Flash, and we have our two—Clamps and Tiny Dancer. I have never before in my life had allergies to any animal. However, living in a house with six cats, I have developed the itchiest eyes I have ever had, along with a nose that at times runs like a water faucet.

I feel awful. We are a married 25-year-old couple with no savings, a one-year-old child, and two cats. We are such bums. Living in a house with this many living creatures just does NOT feel natural. I’m not sure how the Amish do it. I know it seems more economical to all live together and conserve things, but not at the expense of my privacy. My husband and I have had our own household for almost eight years. At first, I must admit it was nice to have dinner on the table at 6 o’clock every night, and have the dishes done, and not have to clean much but at a certain point I want to cook my own dinners again. I wish I could be using my dishes, and sitting on my brand new furniture. We were so unprepared for all of this.

I am currently in the process of taking control of my life. A month after my father died, I decided to enroll in school. He had always told me to go to school and do something with myself, and after what I had saw and heard from him over the last week or so of his life, I knew I did NOT want to waste ANY MORE of my life…ever. If something that quick and drastic could happen to someone like him, then it could happen to anyone. Even me. I looked at my family’s situation and knew I couldn’t depend on anyone to change it. Not my mother, not even my husband. I knew I couldn’t complain about something I wasn’t willing to take action on. I took on a second, part-time job at Stewart’s and eventually quit my full time job to work there only. Working two jobs and going to school full time, along with having a family was too much for me, so I decided that one part time job was enough. School needs to be my number one priority if I’m ever going to get my family out of the situation we’re in.

My husband recently heard of a good job opportunity, so he’s in the process of interviewing for that, and applying to other companies in the area. Hopefully he will get something soon (UPDATE- He got that job!). For now, I suppose things worked out all right. We are all still alive (for now), my mother is happy in her new life, I am on a career path that will make me very fulfilled (and rich, hopefully), my husband is able to stay home with the baby so we can avoid day care costs, and we are all okay. We’re also saving up some money and most important of all – I now have direction. Something I never had before. I know where we are, and I know where we need to be.

I would have to say that my father dying changed my entire life. It hurts me very much to think that he is gone, but in a way, it made me a better person. I now have an appreciation for life that I never had before. I have purpose and direction and a will to succeed. It’s hard to think of my father’s death as a positive experience, but when I think of all the knowledge and power that I received from having gone through that, I can’t say it was bad. If it was going to happen anyway, I am so glad that I took what I could from it and gained what I did. I feel and know he would be proud of me right now even though we are living with my husband’s parents. All he ever wanted was for me to work hard to reach my full potential, and I never did before. It feels satisfying to know that I am doing everything I possibly can to make my life turn into what I want it to be, while I still can.

How Having a Baby Changes You

I miss the freedom, I thought to myself the other day while trying to detain my 11-month-old son who crawled frantically across the Pergo floor to try and escape me. He smelled like rotting carrion on the side of the road on a hot day. It must have been the fruit and cheerios mixed together. I scooped him up and put my face in his little belly and blew some raspberries on his stomach. He giggled and laughed as I lay him down on the couch to change his poopy diaper. As soon as the pants come off, a meltdown ensues. He rolls and kicks and screams. He hates getting his diaper changed. While I’m trying to make sure poop stays off my in-laws’ very expensive furniture, I find myself in a daydream-type state. I wonder what life for us would be like if I hadn’t gotten pregnant.

My husband, Nick and I have been together since high school. On our fourth anniversary, when we were opening presents on Christmas morning, he had asked me to marry him. I said yes, and a year and a half later, we got married. I was working a very good job, we were making great money together, and we were doing excellent. We could afford anything we wanted. We had a brand new, flat-screen TV (when they were a new thing, I might add), one of the best and fastest computers you could buy, a brand new car, a beautiful apartment with more rooms than we really needed…we had anything and everything we wanted.

We would frequently eat out, go to the movies, hang out with friends, or just sit around and do absolutely nothing. We did a lot of that. Nothing, really. And it was nice. We could just do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted, however we wanted to do it. There was nothing to stop us. We could just stay up late, drinking beer and having wild sex if we wanted to or play video games all night long. There was no reason to limit ourselves in almost every aspect of our daily lives.

My husband has a pretty subdued personality. He doesn’t like to draw any kind of unwanted attention to himself, so he is usually pretty quiet, maybe somewhat socially awkward. He would rather stay home and watch TV or play video games then go out to the bar with friends or be in any type of large-group environment. He likes to hang out with a few friends, on a nice, quiet night, having a few beers, no one getting too loud, and everyone going to bed relatively early. I, on the other hand, am almost completely opposite.

In my early 20’s we had no child, no real responsibility, fabulous jobs, and money to do whatever we wanted with. I have, what some people may call, an impulse-control issue. I see something. I want it? I get it. Whatever it is. Doesn’t matter. It’s that simple. I wanted to be a real-estate agent, so I did it. I wanted to quit that and do something else, so I did that. I just did whatever the hell I wanted. If I wanted to go out to the bar and get hammered on a Thursday night, then I would do it.

I had already been thinking of having a baby for a few months before Nick had asked me to marry him, so by the time we married, I had already been thinking about it for almost two years. I decided we should try and get pregnant, and see what happened. He was reluctant. We had a few scares over the years, but nothing serious. He knew I wanted to start a family. We hadn’t gotten pregnant in the first six years we’d been together, and after much “convincing”, I suppose he slipped-up on purpose and decided he was also ready to start a family.

I had been rehearsing this day in my head for quite some time at that point. I had taken a few pregnancy tests over the years, a few days late and scared…just trying to make sure. I never got a positive result, and I always wondered what I would do, how I would act, and what I would say the day I saw those two little pink lines. I was trying to get pregnant now. It was different. I wasn’t taking this pregnancy test out of fear; I was taking this one with hope. Well, maybe there was a little fear in there, too. I saw the plus sign, and immediately grabbed the other test in the box, praying I had some more pee left in me. That one said positive, too.

“Uh, Nick. Come here,” I said, not a yell, not a scream, but just loud enough for him to hear downstairs from in front of the TV.

“Whaaaaaaaat?!” he yelled back, annoyed. He most likely assumed I was going to ask him to do something.

“Come HERE,” I said again, and he came up the stairs into our bathroom, where a pregnancy test lay on the instruction sheet that was enclosed. He picked up the test, pulled it close to his face, set it aside and grabbed the instruction sheet.

“Are you sure you didn’t mess it up, or something?” He asked, his eyes huge, a half-smile, half- terrified expression on his face.

“Yeah, I’m sure,” I said back chuckling. “How could you ‘mess up’ peeing on a stick and waiting?”

“I DUNNO!” He said back to the mirror, a look of fear on his face. His eyes were large, his mouth wide open,  rubbing his bristly, patchy beard. This was all becoming too real for him, I could tell. We just looked at each other and you could feel the anxiety, but you could also feel the happiness and the excitement. We both wandered back downstairs, where we sat on the couch, completely silent for the next 10 or 15 minutes,  pretending to watch TV, but neither of us really was.

Holy shit. I thought to myself. I know he was thinking it, too. We really did this. We made this happen. What was going to happen next? What do we do? What can’t I do? Oh, God, I’m pregnant now. Now I can’t drink, or eat too many shellfish, or roller blade. Then panic set in. Oh my God. Now I need to call the doctor and ask them what to do. It was all over from that point on. Nothing would ever be the same.

I immediately adopted and loved this new lifestyle. I traded in my late nights out with friends for day trips to the museum and walks in the park. Shopping became a new favorite hobby. Especially for baby things. How could you NOT buy baby things?! Over the months I was pregnant the excitement built even higher when we found out we were having a boy. This just reassured our ideas that we always get exactly what we want. It was a beautiful thing to watch my husband’s transformation from scared and unsure, to excited, happy, and looking forward to our future.

Nolan came into our home like a hurricane. We were only 24 years old. This was our first child. We had no clue what we were doing. After the one-hour labor fiasco I had just endured, my body stitched back together, and not being able to sleep more than a 2 hour stint at the hospital, by the time we came home, I was exhausted.  Neither one of us had any clue what we were doing, so everything was a two-man operation. One late night, he was having a middle-of-the-night bottle, and my husband went to change his poopy diaper. For some reason, he left the old diaper off while he turned around to grab a new diaper, and all I saw was a stream of poop flying through the air. It got all over our bed, Nick’s hands,  and the floor. My husband was gagging, and almost throwing up. I was laughing hysterically, clutching my chest, and pointing my finger at him. We quickly cleaned everything, and put Nolan in-between us, and just laid there and stared at his little, perfect face. My husband looked at me and said, “We have a family now. Our own little family.”

I then began to hysterically cry, realizing that my life was now more complete than ever. All I could see were the years to come – apple picking, carving Halloween pumpkins, opening Christmas presents, doing arts and crafts – all kinds of other corny things I had always looked forward to doing with my own family. Every Halloween it seemed so awkward to me to carve my own pumpkin alone. Now that would never be the case again.

Nowadays, when Grandma and Grandpa take the baby and we have a “night off”, we go home and relax…maybe even sleep. The last time we ate out at a restaurant was Panera. We have to go to “family-friendly” places now to drown out the sounds of a baby who wants his All-Natural Cheese Doodles. I still go out with friends once in a while, but I have become a much more responsible, laid-back person. I worry about money. We can’t go spending on frivolous things like we used to. My husband and I went to Wal-Mart the other day and bought a large package of diapers, a large box of wipes, 10 jars of baby food, some baby socks, some of his Cheese Doodles, and a few other things, and the total came to $130. Not to mention he grows so quickly he constantly needs new clothes.

Who could resist?

Having Nolan has definitely changed both of us for the better. We are much more responsible, less apathetic and lazy, and we both have a little person to take into consideration. Everyone says it, and it’s such a cliché, but “It’s not all about us, anymore.”  Even going to the grocery store is a production, now. We went from having more than enough time, money, and patience to having almost none of ANY of those, and we love it. When I sit watching his little hands shovel Spongebob macaroni and cheese one-by-one into his little mouth, I know we did the right thing. Every time a little old lady walks up to me in the store and tells me that I have the cutest baby she has ever seen, it just makes my life complete. I would say, having a child with my husband is the most satisfying and fulfilling decision I have ever made. I would trade all the drunken nights and wild sex in the world for snuggling with my cute little companion for life, any day.