In the process of preparing the house this summer for the baby’s arrival, Dr. Husband and I switched the guestroom from the one across the hall from our bedroom to a cozy, quiet little room in the corner of the basement. A friend visiting from Minnesota tested out the new room for a week and declared it to be “perfect.” Perfect, too, it turned out, was having the guest room not right outside our bedroom. Not that Dr. Husband and I were up to anything worth spying on, we just fare better when we have our privacy. We’re more relaxed, more ourselves, more likely to brush our teeth while naked when there’s nobody else upstairs with us. Many of our favorite moments of our wedding were the ones where it was just the two of us in the car driving from one event to the next, either quickly processing some relation’s antics or just sitting quietly holding hands and enjoying being a tiny little team.
So it was with some horror that I realized recently that not only are Dr. Husband and I getting a baby out of this whole pregnancy deal, we’re also getting a housemate—one with an 18-year minimum lease. I had this flash of our son (we still don’t know the baby’s sex yet—I just keep picturing a boy) at age 13 living in the bedroom across the hall from Dr. Husband’s and my room, and the whole proposition seemed suddenly absurd. In no way have we been in the market for a housemate—particularly a teenage one! Some days the proximity of the next-door neighbors feels oppressive—and they’re hardly ever home! Why are we suddenly inviting this adolescent stranger to come live in our former guestroom and hog the TV and eat all the best snacks? It took a few moments of Lamaze breathing (hee—hee—hee—hee—whoooooo) before it occurred to me that by the time the boy is 13 he won’t be a stranger, and he won’t feel like a guest. First he’ll be this screaming, fussy suckling who keeps us in a state of sleep-deprivation so severe that we forget what it was ever like to have peace or quiet or privacy. By the time he’s 13 we’ll probably be rather used to him and rather able to be ourselves around him.
“Yeah, either that,” Dr. Husband deadpanned when I told him all this, “or we can just send him to boarding school.”