It’s starting to happen at playgrounds and meet ups and the like as my belly grows larger and larger and I’m increasingly, obviously pregnant to strangers. The question has started “are you ready for 2? Are you getting excited?”. And while I want to tell them, that yes, I’ve read all about sibling relationships or I’m extremely confident in my newborn parenting after one – there’s a part of me that aches to tell them the dirty, rotten truth which as they chase their children around with me, I’m sure they know too – “I have no idea what I’ve gotten myself into. This is probably crazy, and it probably will be for a good amount of time.” But apparently, that’s not social protocol in these situations.
Instead, I laugh it off and say “No, but does anyone?”. And I think that’s the best way I can put bringing life into the world a second time. I may know how to swaddle a newborn, figure out human origami nursing a baby in a public restroom, or rock a child in my arms till I wonder why I didn’t lift weights in preparation for their arrival, but I have no clue on how to do that with a toddler running around my apartment with her own set of needs.
I think when it comes down to it, the greatest fear I have is what do I do when there are two existing set of needs for two people that I love more than anything in this world. Not to put Mike or myself or our marriage on the back burner forever, but in those early days, our individuals wants, needs, relationship seemed like a foggy memory of a life once lived pre-kids. I was ok with that – I could remind myself that it was momentary with newborn Marin, and that we’d adjust, and that she’d grow, and that we’d all get better at that lovely tango in due time. But now, my priorities are doubling – I still have a will-be 2-year-old who until this next phase has enjoyed me all to herself, 24/7, 365 days/year (I have not had one full day away from her yet).
And most of all my heart aches for the day that Marin has to adjust – because honestly, she doesn’t have the option much longer. The option to enjoy mealtime for as long as she wants or the freedom to walk down the stairs as slowly as humanly possible. The option for me as a parent to put words to her every emotion or to simply slow down enough to listen to her every thought or to be arms that she can sleep in on sick days without any interruption. I have loved being a stay-at-home Mom of one for these reasons, because the constant luxury of availability that I can give to Marin, means the utter world to me. And to be fair, her too. It would never have lasted forever, and I wouldn’t want it too (don’t worry Marin, I won’t be rooming with you when you leave for college!), but I am sad that I know it’s ending and she really doesn’t.
It reminds me of something Joyce Meyers said at a conference I went to of hers in Atlanta. Someone was asking her if she was excited to go on an international mission’s trip and when she said ‘no’ the person was taken aback. Maybe that’s how this post sounds – ridiculous and unappreciative. How could I not feel excited for another baby? I’m not excited (yet), but I am grateful. I will be excited, don’t worry, because I promise I did this with MK too. The end of the ‘just Mike and me era’ was mourned deeply. That’s probably a good 80% of why I never complained about her being late – I knew that once Marin was on the outside, there was no going back, there were no random eat outs together and our schedules would be wrecked for some time. But as soon as she was here, we were overjoyed (and overwhelmed) with her and the elements that parenting brought to our lives and relationship.
I’m reminding myself of that transition and going easy on myself. It’s ok to not be excited for every single second of this journey. It really is ok and it’s important to let other women know that motherhood carries with it ups and downs just like most parts of our lives. It’s not some infallible, perfect system – it’s life, for the rest of it and 18 years (or more) under your roof. I’ve lived with Mike for almost 5, and I assure you, in that time, there’s been some hills and valleys. This is just some time in the valley before our family is swooning on the mountaintop with another newborn.
For now, I’m soaking up the days of having just one child to hold and push on a swing until this new one arrives for as long as I possibly can. I’m taking more time to sit on the steps outside our apartment and look at cars with Marin when I’d rather go inside and get dinner ready. I’m reading ‘one more book’ almost everytime it’s requested of me because I can. I’m snuggling my heart out and I’m spending as much quality time with my Nugget as humanly possible during our days together. I’m not wishing these days fly by any quicker than they do, because they will pass sooner than I’d like. And I’m reminding myself of how awesome it will be to tell BB #2 to ‘go play with your sister’ because that will truly be epic. I don’t care if that’s not for awhile, because when it does happen, and I sit at a table and drink my not-constantly-reheated tea one winter hearing our children fight in the playroom over their toys, I’m sure I’ll smile and think ‘what did I ever do with just one child?’.