The Coliseum Can Crumble

Sometimes we worry about our choices, only to find reassurance in the little things.


1. The Coliseum Can Crumble

My friend Amber came by a few hours ago to show me the photos of her trip to Rome.

Halfway through looking at the ones of the Coliseum, she turned to me and said, "don't you ever get tired of staying in the same boring place?"

My first instinct was, of course, to deny it. To even think that I would be dissatisfied with my life when I have the family I do would be ridiculous, right?

But even after she apologized, looking ashamed, I couldn't shake the feeling that maybe she had a point. Since she left, I've been sitting on the couch, thinking it over.

When I got pregnant with Izzy only a little over a year after I got out of college, it was no surprise that some people thought I was too young. That I hadn't lived my life enough. That they thought my "fun" days were over. Not to say that they didn't congratulate me, but something in their eyes told me that they wouldn't have made this choice.

If I really think about it, I can't say they're wrong. Being pregnant was hard. I threw up pretty consistently for the first eighteen weeks, I could sleep all day and still feel tired, and I never felt like eating until much later in the pregnancy so Ben had to practically force-feed me. When I got really big, he couldn't even sleep in the same bed as me because I needed to stretch out. Those people that say it's fun are out of their mind. But it wasn't just physical, and it didn't stop there.

I haven't left the city in as long as I can remember, much less the country. I never saw Rome, or Paris, or even New York like I wanted to when I was younger. I didn't go out with many guys in college, and I never did something spontaneous like a road trip across the country. It's hard to do anything unplanned with a four-year-old.

My days are filled with incessant questions, tiring play, and cleaning up more messes than I even thought could be generated in such a short time.

The boldest choices I've made in the last four years are what princess outfit to wear and what to have for dinner. Not exactly freedom.

Amber's always been a tad judgmental, so part of me wants to disregard her. Except there's a distinct part that doesn't, that isn't so sure she's not onto something. I love Izzy with all my heart, but I can't help but wonder if it was the right decision to have her when we did. Was it?

I'm startled when the door opens, and I see Ben struggle to hold it with one arm already loaded with groceries. Izzy is being held by his other one, cradled against his chest. She's fast asleep. I get up to help him hold it open, and he smiles at me.

"Hey, beautiful," he coos, his eyes lighting up. "Did you have a good day?"

"Um, yeah," I respond. "Just did some laundry and other things, you know. That kinda errand stuff. So Izzy fell asleep on you, huh?"

"She was fine at the park, but the car ride got the best of her. I'll tuck her in, you're probably tired."

An inexplicable urge to be the one to put Izzy to bed fills me. 

"No," I say, hurried. "Can I just . . . Would you mind if I did it? Please."

He catches my eye, knowing something is off about me. When I don't give him any acknowledgment, he doesn't comment.

"Of course," he replies, handing her to me. "I'll put these away."


He gives me another long look, but nods and heads to the kitchen.

The warm bundle of pink snuggles into my neck, murmuring something about bunnies. She's always talking, even in her sleep. Sometimes we even record her, as she says the funniest things.

I take her to her room, carefully laying her down so I don't wake her. I switch on the night light by her bed, then reach to get her favorite stuffed octopus so she can sleep with him. I gently pull the covers over her, tucking her in like a burrito. If she were awake, she'd giggle. She loves when I do this.

When she's all settled, something keeps me beside her. I reach out to smooth back the hair from her face, and her nose twitches like she's imitating the other bunnies in her dreams. I can't help but smile at the sight, the little girl that I brought into this world enjoying something so simple.

Amber's wrong. I don't get tired of staying in the same place. Just like Izzy never gets tired of games, hugs, or bedtime stories. Just like Ben always tells me he's the luckiest man in the world to have married me. Like he never gets tired of seeing my messy morning hair, how much I sass him, or even how often I'm the one falling asleep on him halfway through our movie nights when Izzy is in bed. If the two people I love most in the world can love the little things, so can I. The fact that I doubted my choice to have Izzy for even a second seems silly now that I have her here in front of me. I would trade a thousand lifetimes if it meant that I could be here to tickle her in the morning and hold her in my arms at night. No pregnancy problems could ever make me regret having her.

So even though I've never been to Rome, that's okay. It doesn't matter that I'm not as spontaneous as other people my age, or that I have to clean messes despite being exhausted. Because I don't need any of the things Amber does.

I have the city lights of New York in my husband's eyes, the sense of adventure in my daughter's spirit, and, actually, the amount of princess dresses Izzy has makes choosing one quite a quest.

The Coliseum may be magnificent, but it will crumble. I made part of the future, and she's more beautiful than any vacation spot I could ever see.

Feeling a strange sense of peace, I make sure Izzy is secure under the blanket one more time before kissing her forehead.

When I head back into the living room, Ben is standing there. He's been waiting for me. This time when he gazes at me, he seems relieved with what he finds in my eyes.

"Is everything okay?" he asks, arms looping around my waist.

I lay my head against his chest, enjoying the way the warmth of his skin seeps into my cheek.

"Yeah," I reply, smiling. "It's perfect."

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