Hi! Finally, after five days, I’m feeling better — not 100% just yet, but well enough that I feel confident handling the kids on my own this evening and Drew doesn’t have to cancel plans that he has to stay home and help. I don’t have a column ready for this morning though, and may not get one up by the end of the day. I might post a letter or two to the forums at some point, so check in there if you’re desperate for new content. And use down time to make calls to your senators and representatives! This is a big week in terms of resisting Trump’s agenda.
In other news, both my babies hit milestones over the last few days. Joanie turned 18 months old on Saturday, and yesterday, as I was saying good-night to Jackson, I realized that it was his “five and one quarter” birthday, which, as you can imagine, he was pretty psyched to hear. I’ve gotten rid of almost all our baby gear now — clothes for the first year are long gone, passed down to friends or friends of friends who had babies after me. Play mats and bouncy chairs and infant car seats are gone, too. Swings and toys and the moby wrap I only used a few times with Joanie have found new homes. We still have a crib, of course, and a bottle warmer, and diapers for now, but Joanie is already showing signs of being interested in potty-training, so maybe their days are numbered too, who knows (Jackson was three before he was toilet-trained, but I’ve heard girls go sooner, and, though I’m not pushing anything, I don’t want to hold her back either).
Predictably, I’m having some feels over all of this. I miss my babies, and it’s bittersweet knowing I’ll never have another, but, though I still have a couple years of toddlerhood to wade through, the freedom that comes in the growing independence of one’s kids is pretty great. Jackson can get himself dressed completely on his own now, from picking out his clothes to pulling on his socks. And he’s tall. And the shape of his face is way different than it was six months ago. Even his voice has changed. And he calls me “Mom” now, hardly ever “Mommy” anymore. And to Joanie, whom I’ve always been “mama” since she learned to sound words, I’m now becoming “mommy,” and because I can see the future right in front of me, right next to her, I know that too will change before we know it.
Like every parent before me and everyone who comes after, I feel the tension of wanting my babies to stay my babies forever and wanting them — and me! — to have the freedom that comes from the ability and confidence of making their own choices and doing things for themselves. And as we get closer to that point, I’m better able to appreciate the beauty and the gift of their dependence on me, much more than I feel the burden of it. It’s a particular gift that comes from having multiple children, too, that I can experience two ages at the same time, and know in an even more visceral way how fleeting this time is — how fast it goes. How lucky I am to have it with them. Really, whether you’re a parent or not, is there a bigger gift in life than appreciating what you have exactly when you have it and not just in retrospect?
Thank you for being patient as I recover from the Great Miserable Cold of 2017. I hope to be totally back to normal — whatever normal is — by tomorrow.