Life’s all about timing, someone told her once.
It’s a banal saying but it’s not untrue, Petra learns this year.
Learns it gradually and bit by bit as they go from being recently married to new parents that juggle jobs, a teenager, a house that was slightly too expensive for them to begin with and a baby girl.
Amara is a sweet baby, no doubt about it. She sleeps a lot and fusses very little. Even so she has wrecked their lives completely apart, if mostly in a good way and mostly in a fashion that they know how to deal with.
Being a parent is a big deal. Overwhelming, sometimes. Rewarding, of course, but also completely different from how she imagined it.
Being at home with her daughter full time, every day, all day, is something Petra just can’t seem to appreciate. Not the way she had expected to. She has worked odd hours for years, always yearning for that time when she would be given an extended period of time off work, and now that she has one, she wants to work.
It’s just that the days seem so endless when she’s stuck at home. Amara wakes up easily so taking her outdoors for her naps is a bad idea and instead Petra spends most of her time inside, watching telly while she waits for the baby to wake up and demand her attention. She feels ungrateful for not appreciating it more. Like she doesn’t really deserve this family life.
They’re lucky with Mireia. She’s very fond of her little sister and takes a lot of resposnsibility for her whenever she’s at home. Which isn’t terribly often what with her part-time job down at the city hall and her various activities but during the weekends and holidays she’s often babysitting. Petra usually sleeps then, or tries to have some sort of social life.
She’s been hanging out with her co-worker Theresa Ceder a bit lately. They’ve been on the same rotation for weeks, heading out with the emergency team together.
Theresa is a trauma surgeon so they’re not exactly at the same place in the unyielding hierarchy at work, but they get along well and have a fair bit in common. It’s nice to get a bit of fresh air in every sense of the word, so to speak.
They had planned that Petra would be at home with Amara for a year, but after six months she begins working a night here, a morning there until she finds herself more or less back at work again. Ben doesn’t mind, he cuts down on his own hours as much as he can to be at home and they manage, even if money’s tight and they get very little time with each other. It will pass, Ben tells her when she talks about her concerns. She will grow older and we’ll look back at this and not even remember how tired we felt all the time.
She doesn’t quite believe him, but he has done the whole raising a child thing before so she supposes she ought to bow down before his expert opinion.
Ben wants another child as soon as Amara celebrates her first birthday. They have barely cleaned up after her birthday party (a very low-key party, but a party nonetheless) before he pops the question. At first, Petra doesn’t know what to say and that reaction surprises her. She wants more children, too. She has always pictured herself with three, that has seemed like a good amount. And now, when asked, all she manages to think about is diapers and baths and food on the kitchen floor and her chest feels tight then, almost like she’s having a heart attack.
“Maybe we should wait a while,” she manages.
“I’m ready whenever you are,” Ben replies and despite the warmth in his voice, she can only hear the expectations. They land heavily in her, like hammer blows.
He’s hardly in a perfect position for more children himself, truth be told. After a pretty rocky few years at the law firm he works for – with one previous warning as he had been accused of meddling in the lawyers’ cases – he’s finally fired one day. Petra wants to be angry with him, rage about job security and the wriggling these lawyers had to do in order to escape the laws they work with, but she only feels tired when he tells her.
It hits him hard, she can tell. He doesn’t want to talk about it very much but it’s obvious the matter is always on his mind. While he’s far from a career man, Ben wants to be a reasonably successful adult like the rest of them and his career, so far, has not been good. It’s not about the money, it’s about feeling that you do something you can at least stand and she’s never seen that fire in Ben’s eyes. Petra loves her job. Ever since she qualified to be a trauma nurse she’s been certain – in-her-gut-certain – that this is what she wants to do for the rest of her career.
She knows Ben doesn’t feel that way at all, but she can’t help but wanting him to. So she looks for jobs for him, at night while he sleeps and never mentions it in the morning because it seems like too much meddling.
She thinks about his career more often, it seems, than he does. Which adds a certain kind of balance to their marriage, a certain sort of slant to it.
He’s a great father to his daughters, there’s no doubt about it, but Petra hasn’t really seen this other side of him before. The part of him that just doesn’t seem to want to try out of fear of failure, perhaps, or sheer laziness. She isn’t sure. And she isn’t sure what to do about it, now that she has discovered it.
Bonus pics of cuteness:
* Ben really sucks at his job, LOL. He’s been demoted twice and now fired. I’m not allowing him to apply for another position in the field again since it seems unlikely he’d ever get one, heh.
* Ben also ACR cheated on Petra in their home this session. With her friend Theresa, no less. Damn it, Ben, you loser! I didn’t make anything of it for now but depending on how his life unfolds, I might.
* Their family pic is my mistake – I didn’t really keep track of when and how the aging up was going to take place. Heh.