Letting Go

When we got home on Wednesday (Yay! Home!) I uncharacteristically started unpacking right away. The second drawer of my dresser is filled with assorted maternity and nursing wear and as I was cramming clothing into the other drawers the misuse of drawer two became more and more glaring. Yes, I’m still nursing C. He’ll be two at the end of August and I’ll probably wean him around that time. I’m still rocking the nursing tanks full time, but I haven’t had a nursing top on in over a year. And we aren’t having any more babies. So I put on my big girl pants and cleared out the drawer. Which means I dumped the clothing on the bed in our spare room. I assumed it would stay there until the next time we have guests so I wouldn’t have to think about the fact I’m not having another kid or that the baby I do have isn’t a baby anymore for a nice long time.

Over the last few years we’ve gotten tight with a group of three other families and we couldn’t wait to see them when we got back. Last night we had them over for a BBQ. Well, it turns out that our friend is expecting her third. Suddenly the pile of clothes on our spare room bed had a logical place to go.

I’m excited for our friend and her family. I can’t wait to get my hands on the baby once s/he arrives. At the same time I’m envious. I want another baby. I want to need the maternity clothes. I want to nurse a newborn. I want to need the nursing gear. Holding on to the clothing meant I didn’t have to face the fact that I’m done having kids. It was hard to face reality, but I’m glad the stuff will get used again. It’ll be fun to see my friend wearing it all.

I wish we could handle having a third, the truth is we can’t. Hell, a lot of days we can barely handle the two we have. As Z and I cleaned up the kitchen this morning I told him I wanted a third because mothering a newborn is intuitive to me. I’m good at it. And the older our boys get the worse I feel my parenting becomes. C is going through a particularly challenging phase and I feel like I’m fucking up with him right and left. This is my job and I suck. A baby would make me feel in control, like I could do something right. And the nursing. Oh man, the thought of finishing nursing C and being done forever makes me want to burst into tears. For me breastfeeding has been a lifeline, an easy way in to bonding with my kids, a cheat-the solution to any parenting problem, something tangible I can do for them when everything else about this parenting business is so damn nebulous.

I paused and looked at him. “I realize these are really stupid reasons to have a kid.”

Z, “I’m glad you said it so I don’t have to.”

I wish I was a competent enough Mom to feel like another was doable. I wish the money was there for a third. I wish that my uterus didn’t suck so bad at not being pregnant after childbirth (for new readers-retained placenta after T, incomplete miscarriage, and hemorrhage after C. I know, what a drama queen.)

On the other hand, some days I wish we didn’t choose to have kids at all and were still footloose and fancy free. Some days I wish we had six kids. Some days I wish we had one. Here’s the important thing, though–most of the days I’m happy that we have two boys who are two years, two weeks, and four days apart. I’m happy that I get to raise them with Z. And while I suck mightily at motherhood a lot of the time, I’m happy I always have the chance to try and do better. My boys deserve that.

And you know what? I’m glad three kids work for my friend and her family. I’m glad that one kid works for some of our friends. I’m glad that two kids with a three year split, or five year split, or six year split works for our other friends. Maybe it’s more accurate to say that I’m glad we are all making what we have work for us.


I’m grateful I get to do this for a little big longer.

c and c

I’m grateful that the boys were as excited to see our friends as we are.

family on pilot mountain

Most of all I’m grateful to be part of this family.


4 thoughts on “Letting Go

  1. You hit on a topic that is very very very very “it” for me. I know that’s not the way to say it, but strong, painful, these all make sense. And while my husband seemingly merrily gave all our baby clothes to our friends and my cousins and asks aloud, “Why do we have this pack n play in the closet anymore?” (My reason is that we could use it if friends with little ones come over i.e. just in case) Really, my reason is “just in case we have one more baby.”

    My 4 year old likes to act like my baby sometimes. It irritates my husband to no end. Sometimes it bothers me too, but honestly, obviously, part of me encourages it. His ever longer growing limbs wrapped around me, he will always be my baby boy, planting kisses on me as I walk around with him hanging on like a baby chimp. (We went to the zoo… the baby chimps do all the holding while the mama uses one hand to secure them. I told him to be a baby chimp.)

  2. You’ve put your finger on the human condition: there is no self-aware human who couldn’t make a similar list of what-if’s. Life is like a long hallway of doors–some you open, most you don’t.
    Some days I think about how we could only have one kid and I feel like a failure. Other days I think about the awesome-but-overpriced camp we send M to, which we could never afford to do for two kids, and I feel like my infertility was a secret gift. Some days I wonder, if we’d had no kids at all, would I now have the career I want? Then M comes up and hugs me spontaneously and I know there’s no career that could beat it.
    You have done pretty damn awesome for yourself, Miss Karen! Everything you have, plenty of others would envy. Hugs from CT, by the way, we miss you guys! 🙂

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