local woman says lawrence not actually that bad

jared has decided to put a pin in plans to have another kid. apparently he’s just too freaked out about the time & money a kid requires. he says he feels that it would be a choice between a second kid & finishing his dissertation, because he doesn’t think he can finish his dissertation with a newborn in the house. i see his perspective, but i am still really sad. while we were talking, ramona came in & threw herself at my legs & said, “hug!” & that’s when i had to just leave the room & cry.

he said his ideal would be to wait until he has a job that offers paternity leave. obviously the idea of having him around to help out as much as possible with a newborn & a toddler sounds ideal to me as well. the problem is that it could be years before we’re in that position. or it could never happen, ever. or it could happen next year. who knows? the point is that waiting for the ideal means we run a very real risk of just never having another kid, & i don’t know if he finds that idea as devastating as i do, but i don’t feel great about it.

i also can’t figure out how dickish it is of me to think, “really? you’re treating this like a choice between having a child & having a career when you have me there to be a full-time stay-at-home parent? do you know how many people would love to have the free full-time child care you have?” probably at least a little bit dickish.

so. i am very sad, & looking at ramona just reminds me of how fleeting these little kid days are, & i can barely even look at jared. not because i’m mad. i’m just sad. & i don’t know how to make myself feel better. i guess it will just take a little time.

in the meantime, i guess i should sew. i can go ahead & tackle all those clothing projects i’ve had sitting on the back burner. i got a shipping notification telling me that the custom sewing table insert jared got me for christmas will be delivered on thursday. we still have to put a platform in the table, but i don’t think that will be too difficult. then i can set up my sewing area, & i’m really excited about that.

another weird element is that we still don’t know if we’re going to be in lawrence for another year (or more) or not. it all depends on whether or not jared is selected for a fellowship that has a residency requirement. i guess the upside of not having another kid right away is that we can just stay in this house, if we’re staying in lawrence. although i daydream constantly about having more space & a separate bedroom for ramona, the reality is that she seems to have more space to run around than a lot of kids with bigger houses, since we don’t restrict her to certain rooms or areas. & all of downtown is basically her yard, since we’re right there. & the price is right, & i don’t have to worry about cleaning a bigger house.

while i don’t love the super-hot summers & the giant spiders & the sub-standard selection of pizza, i actually really like lawrence & will be sad to leave. there are a few places where i’d be thrilled to live, but there are far more places that sound a whole lot worse than our current situation. i forget if i mentioned, when we were in boston over the holiday, i checked out a new-ish fabric & yarn shop there. &…it was really disappointing. altogether, it was maybe a quarter or a third the size of the fabric store here in lawrence, with a much more strictly “curated” selection. obviously the fabric store here has a lot of fabrics i never look twice at (a whole wall of batiks, for instance–i really don’t like batiks), but they also have a lot of stuff i love, & being able to touch the fabrics & match them against other fabrics makes fabric-shopping easier & more fun. they also have a fairly decent selection of apparel fabrics. there’s not a ton, but there’s a rack of voiles, a couple of racks of jersey, all kinds of lace, sequins, bemberg, wools, flannels galore, a whole bin of heavy wovens for coats, denim, corduroy…all kinds of stuff. there’s probably more apparel fabric to choose from than there were quilting fabrics at the store in boston. & they had maybe eight bolts of jersey, & that’s it for anything that could be considered apparel fabric.

i also haven’t mentioned this before, because i’m not a knitter, but there’s a yarn shop across the street from our fabric shop. it is cavernous & packed to the rafters with yarn. it’s definitely the biggest selection of yarn i’ve ever seen anywhere (not that i pay that much attention, not being a knitter), & i imagine that if i ever did get into knitting, i’d be in heaven, having such a large selection to see in person before i buy.

obviously you can get any kind of fabric or yarn you want online, in any one-horse town in the country. but it’s also so much more pleasing to be able to touch & see what you’re getting before you commit. i still haven’t sewed up those glittery knits i bought, probably because i never would have bought them if i’d had a chance to see them in person first. (luckily they were only like $4 for a 60″ wide yard.)

that is just one of, actually, quite a few things i will miss when we leave lawrence. i have started harboring a little fantasy of jared being hired to teach at haskell indian nations university or something, & us being able to buy a house in east lawrence & send ramona to the arts center for pre-school & have another kid with the doula discount offered for repeat families & be able to just build a life here instead of holding ourselves perpetually at an arm’s length because we always think we might be leaving in a few months. it’s been this way for a few years & it’s exhausting.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

8 thoughts on “local woman says lawrence not actually that bad

  1. Ugh, holding yourself at arm’s length. I can relate. We just moved 6 months ago, and we may need to move again in 6 months time, depending on what happens job-wise.

    & stay close to that yarn store if you can! I have ordered the odd bit of wool online, but very rarely. It’s hard to tell if colours will complement online, and anyway, yarn stores often have really knowledgeable staff who can be invaluable. That’s one of the nice things about knitting being so portable. You can often take your work into a shop to ask for advice, and good stores encourage you to.

    1. i hate the arm’s length thing! we’ve been in this weird holding pattern for like three years now, & it’s probably going to just keep happening because an academic doesn’t necessarily land a life-long gig right out of the gate. we might be floating around for a while (indefinitely?) due to fellowships, research, visiting professorships, etc.

      i still haven’t gotten into knitting! i follow a few blogs by people who knit & it’s a terrifying foreign language to me. jared says it’s easier than sewing (or at least less complicated?) once you just dive in & try it, but i don’t even know where to begin. which is silly, because really, there are way more resources out there for beginning knitters than beginning sewers, & sewing didn’t intimidate me at all. the yarn store here offers a beginner class…maybe i should just do that?

  2. This hits pretty close to home for me, because I very much want another kid… and K is very much not sure if he wants another kid, at all. I hope you guys can figure something out that works for both of you. I’ve sortof made my peace with it, but it still fucks with me hard whenever a friend announces that they’re having #2.

    1. glad i’m not alone on this. it’s hard. i mean, jared seems down for having another kid eventually, but you know…i’ll be 36 this summer. time’s a-wasting. & then i look at ramona & she’s such a KID, not a baby anymore, & i wonder if i’ll ever have those baby times again & it feels very overwhelming. i know a lot of people who are in a similar boat–either wanting a kid but their partner not, or wanting a kid & dealing with some unexpected secondary infertility issues. but also, going out to kid events (story time, toddler gym, etc)–you see so many preggos or people with toddlers & tiny babies…when i’m feeling kind of tired & stressed, i’m like, “better her than me!” but usually i just feel very wistful.

      we did talk about it again the other day & jared was like, “bottom line, i’m just not comfortable having another kid when i don’t have a job.” i said, “but that’s so unreasonable!” & then realized it was like the most reasonable sentence ever spoken.

      i’ve also been sick off & on all year so far (!!!), so, you know, kind of glad not to be adding pregnancy symptoms to that right now.

  3. I have to chime in & say that this really resonates with me as well. I really, really want/wanted to have a second child & my husband just doesn’t, end of story. G is almost five right now, but it still upsets when I think about how much I want another, or when someone I know gets pregnant with a second child. I hope you guys find a solution that makes you both happy.

    1. thanks, i hope so too. i THINK jared is amenable to having another kid eventually…but i do worry that time will keep on ticking & we’ll wake up one day with a nine-year-old, having missed our chance.

      it’s such a hard thing to navigate, maybe even harder than the decision to have a kid in the first place.

  4. Wow, we are dealing with the opposite situation! It’s so hard. I try to be happy with one child, since of course so many people can’t even have one. But it sucks seeing so many pregnant moms with 2-year olds in tow and I just know that another child isn’t possible right now and might never be. My husband is ready for another, ignorant to the fact that I would be more burdened than I am–it’s hard taking the bus everywhere with a toddler! I’d love N to have a sibling and it sucks that I don’t know that we can handle it. Maybe this is weird, but I seem to be collecting evidence from celebrities (Corin Tucker! Maggie Gyllenhaal) and people I know that a six or seven year age gap is OK. I hope you can work it out.

    1. i have a friend who just had a baby in november…& her older child is eight! i have another friends who’s kids are six years apart in age. they seem to be making it work. the difference is that both those people had their first kids pretty young, like early 20s. i’m going to be 36 this summer. waiting another five years is taking a pretty big gamble as far as fertility goes.

      every family is different. one woman i know is currently pregnant with her fifth, & her oldest is about to start high school. (she also got an early start with the baby-making.) i know that would be too much for me. but i personally feel like i’m in a good place with ramona, & adding a baby to vhe mix would of course be a huge challenge, because any baby is a challenge. but it’s something i feel up for in terms of lifestyle, energy, relationship with ramona, etc. jared has other responsibilities & feels differently.

      i have other toddler mom friends who are totally freaked by the idea of adding a second to the mix right now, it’s not just you. my philosophy is that, yeah, a baby & a toddler sounds like a nightmare on paper, but keep your eyes on the prize & think about what you want your family to look like in thirty years. will you be happy with just one kid? for me, if that’s what happens, it’s okay, but i’d prefer at least one more. but i know other people had such a nightmare-ish time with their first babies (colic, breastfeeding problems, sleep deprivation, post-partum depression, etc), they’re really focused on how hard it would be to do that again…& this time, with a toddler in the mix too. & we all know that toddlers are their own challenge.

      it’s hard! good luck figuring it out.

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