My baby turned two today.
I wasn’t sure I wanted kids. I had no confidence in my ability to parent. Much of my 20s were lost to mental illness and a marriage that was imploding. Then things turned around. Z and I managed to find our way back to each other. He thrived at grad school I thrived working for Whole Foods. Our 30s were suddenly an excellent time. It felt new and particularly precarious. I didn’t want a kid to fuck up the balance we’d achieved. And then I accidentally got pregnant.
I was wrong. I was wrong when I thought my life would be over after having T. I was stupid and immature and selfish and wrong. T was hard work, but he brought so much love into our home. He managed to make Z and me love each other more and the love we felt for him-I am not trying to be a smug, superior parent here. I am not. But clichés exist for a reason you simply cannot comprehend the love you have for your child until you experience it. I’m not saying it is better than any other kind of love. I’m not saying I didn’t know what love was before T (I hate when parents say that-What? Folks without kids don’t know how to love? That is bullshit. Particularly ignorant and insulting bullshit). I’m not saying I love him and C more than anyone on earth. Honestly, I love Z just as much. Becoming a parent increased my capacity to love. I was hungry for another one. And it worked. When we had C my capacity increased yet again! These kids, they are like a feel good drug. I finally understand families that have a million kids.
I went from not wanting kids, to just wanting the one, to really wanting a second, to thinking we could handle a third. We cannot, it turns out, handle a third. Not financially, not lifestyle-wise, and frankly my uterus has been pretty damn undependable postpartum. There were complications with both boys and with the miscarriage.
Now C is two. We are really and truly done with the baby years. I will be weaning him this fall. My doc wants me to try some different meds and I can’t be nursing while taking them. It is the right thing for my mental health, which means it is the right thing for our family. I wanted to nurse him for two years and as of today I’ve met that goal.
But when I wean him I am done. Forever. I say goodbye to the phase of my life when I’m the mom of babies. The anxiety makes any kind of life change difficult. Hell, the anxiety makes it difficult when the body lotion I’ve used for years is discontinued. I’m scared to move on.
C and my nursing relationship has been idyllic. Do you hear that Jeff? IDYLLIC! His latch was great from the beginning and he’s never been a biter. I think we both feel emotionally recharged from the small breaks we have a couple times a day when we get to cuddle and just be together. He has always been much more physically affectionate than his big brother. When Z or I yell at him and he starts to cry his first impulse is to reach out to us so we can comfort him. Even though we are the ones yelling!
Right after T was born we got close to a family with a four year old son. That fall I remember looking at the boy and being astounded by how big and grown up he was. I simply couldn’t imagine T ever getting that old. And here T is, just a second later I swear. He is 4 and big and grown up. Shit, he’ll be going to kindergarten in a year.
A couple of weeks ago Z and I were out on a date for dinner. There was a family sitting to my left who had a boy who was about 7. I stared at him, couldn’t help it. I watched him interact with his family and I could not imagine my boys at his age. My eyes filled with tears when I realized I am going to blink and T will be that kid.
On the same night I told Z I’d donated some money we really didn’t have to a fundraiser for a boy in between the ages of our boys who was starting chemo. He is the kid of a friend of friends. I’d heard his father’s name thrown around by a group we were tight with for years. If he hadn’t moved away from Brooklyn when he did we would have known him. He was just like us. And his kid was sick.
A few days later we found out a classmate of a kid in our extended family was terminally ill. Nothing could be done for him. We were with family when we found out and someone commented, “At least all our kids are healthy.” “Yeah,” I said. “But the families of kids who get sick think their kid is healthy, too. Right up until they find out he isn’t.”
C turned 2 today and I don’t want this to turn into a post about sick kids. As of this moment we do have two healthy kids who are growing. Right now chances are good I’m going lose track of time for a moment and discover they are in high school. Them getting older? As much as it hurts it is the only outcome I desire.
I am heartbroken to leave this stage of their lives and my life behind. But you know what? In a couple of years they won’t be getting up at 5:58am every goddamn morning. And that, oh boy, that is a beautiful thing.
T and Z are traveling this weekend. We celebrated C’s day on Thursday. But C and I still went out and got a slice of cake today.
He really got into it.
First picture taken after he officially turned two.
Oh, the sulking! He tried to bite me and he was super pissed I didn’t let him.
To C, you crazy kid you, we cannot imagine our lives without you. You are fearless and brave and loving. You are frustrated and frustrating and an inconsistent sharer during the best of times. We love you, all of you. We cannot imagine life without you. Thank you for being the chronological caboose in our family train.