Thursday, April 16
Gray Hairs, Sleepless Nights, and Thoughts on Moving Past the Baby Stage
"Hi, my name is Lisa and I gave away my Boppy this week...
If I were an active participant in a live support group for mothers, this is how I would have introduced myself.
"...the pink one with the little purple and white flowers. The one I used to support all three children while I nursed them as infants...just days old. It feels like just yesterday."
"And my changing pad. And a stroller. The first stroller I ever owned. The one my husband painstakingly put together, with the manual by his side, in our first house in Whitinsville, Massachusetts, months before our daughter was born. The green one with the paisley pattern that matched the pack-n-play that his mom bought for us. It also matched her car seat. The one we brought her home from the hospital in. We spent far too much money on it all. I gave it all away and I want it back. Is that ridiculous?"
Pause. Insert empathetic nods from knowing mommas.
"And clothes. Lots of clothes. I kept some, probably too many, but I've given a ton away. And her high chair. The high chair all three of our children ate all of their first solid food in. The one they whipped potatoes on the floor from. The one I have pictures of them eating their....(insert tears...sniffle...sniffle...wail)...first bite of birthday cake from!!!!"
"I really want to drive back to the crises pregnancy center and re-load it all in my truck. Do you think they would let me have it all back?"
Sympathetic eyes would connect with mine and nod empathetically in reaction to my distress.
"I'm serious. Do you think they would give it back? I mean, maybe we could build a little baby shrine in our basement...like a hall of history to show the girls all of the stuff that formed and shaped the busy days of their first years?"
Letting go is hard to do. Isn't it?
Letting go of the baby stuff is hard because it means letting go of the baby days...and years. The ones that have ticked past us at the speed of light. The ones that painstakingly remind us that the child we bought that stroller for is almost as tall as her mother. The ones that felt so very long, and somehow, like everyone said, wound up being so very short.
The ones we can scarcely believe may be coming to a very real end... yielding their way, of course, to a whole new chapter of homework, friendships, vacations and memories, but wait...wait...I'm not ready yet.
Fortunately, just about the time I find myself reminiscing enough to get me into trouble, we seem to have a night like we had earlier this week.
A night in which our youngest (who will be 2 in less than one month) kept us up for more than three hours wailing and crying simply because she didn't want to sleep. When I finally got her settled down at 5 a.m., the middle and oldest girls woke up telling me that they had had very bad dreams and wanted me to hang out in their room for a while. Of course I was a little sad for everyone, but I was also too darned tired to be the nurturing type and told everyone they needed to go back to sleep because their father and I were really, really, REALLY tired and desperately NEEDED some stinkin' sleep (Sorry girls, the sympathy for the bad dreams is going to have to wait for a better night!!).
(I did apologize the next morning).
Usually after those nights I can confidently declare that I'm 120% sure that I'm done. Maybe 250% sure. After those night I'm really, really done. Like burnt toast done!
Done being pregnant. Done with the crazy sleep schedules. Done with the food flinging and nursing and tantrumming. Done with the wild messes of stuff that I can't keep up with, or even comprehend half the time. Let's move on to the greener pastures of more sleep (I like to naively believe that there is more sleep in those pastures, but I could be completely mistaken!), and more rational forms of communication (though I hear the teenage years are a tough bit!), and less crushed cheerio dust in all corners of the house.
But then I walk into the baby's room in the morning and she is smiling at me from over the rail of her bed with a face that says, "Momma!" so big and wide that it competes with the span of the Golden Gate bridge and I melt. It's a face that says, "What's the problem mom? Why do you look so...tired?"
She's far too cute to be mad at, and the affirmative 120% part of me that says I'm done with the baby stage shrinks a little bit...to like 96%...
Just enough to nudge that door open a crack and leave me wondering if I made the right decision in giving all of my stuff away, even though I'm pretty sure that I did.
The girls are getting bigger day by day and time is a fast paced race horse that doesn't stop to smell the roses. We have to yank it by the reigns sometimes and force it to stop, just so that we can see more clearly...love more deeply...so that we can be in these fastly fading moments more fully.
It's a wild horse of ride, that's for sure, but I'm learning to manage my horse a little bit better these days and it seems to be understanding me.
Aubrey will be 2 very soon, and oh my heavens is she ever acting like it!
She's growing into bigger shoes, literally and figuratively, and learning by leaps and bounds.
Her contagiously happy big blue eyes are enough to stop us in our tracks everyday, and usually enough to make amends for the massive mess she has left in her wake.
Ava will be 8, which always reminds me of my age as a mom...I will be 8 years old as a mom this year, which always offers perspective on how far we've come and how much more we still have to learn--as parents, as a family, as individuals.
And, little miss Ella who turned 6 this year, just read me a story before bed last night...If You Give a Mouse a Cookie...one of our favorites.
"Ella, no one ever reads me bedtime stories. This is such a treat."
She just grins and reads the words as if the whole thing is no big deal, my big little girl who could hardly read a cereal box a year ago.
Scott has more gray hairs, and I'm experimenting with covering mine up. While I would never pay the price, I'm starting to see where a little botox could be appealing.
Our basement and our garage have been bursting at the seams and it was time for a good purge...out with the old, in with the new.
We don't have a need for a high-chair any longer, though after realizing how bittersweet it was to see it go I might have come up with a couple of really good reasons that we coulda, woulda, shoulda, kept it.
But I'm a writer and a reader, so I know that stories are full of chapters. Chapters that must begin, and then end to make way for new chapters. The story must progress, the characters must change and grow. Time, as they say, marches on.
I know that we are writing our family story and that is a beautiful thing.
I just wish it weren't so darned hard to give the Boppy and the high chair away.