I have had a few people ask me what it is like to be done having children. The last time I was asked that I literally stopped in my tracks in front of them to think for a few moments. I guess it hadn’t really sunk in yet that I was done having children. Harper just turned three-months-old on the 1st and everything still seems very new to me. So prior to that moment, I hadn’t really thought too much about “being done” and what that all means.
This past week, though, I started to feel the implications of what it means to be done. I felt envy towards the women I know who haven’t yet gotten to the point we are at. And I felt sadness that I will never again experience the anticipation of having a baby.
Good friends of ours were expecting their third baby on Friday and every day last week I would wonder if today would be the day they would have it. On Friday that day finally arrived and as I thought about my friend giving birth, it hit me that I will never again get to experience the pains of labor and the adrenaline rush of pushing out that child into the world. I would never again feel the feeling that comes with seeing my child for the first time and holding that new life on my chest. It was on Friday, that for the first time, I felt envy and sadness that my time had come and gone.
But then I had a revelation in a different kind of way that made me even more excited to be where I am today and grounded me in my circumstance. I think my revelation is something that I hope people can relate to whether they have one or four children. Instead of getting stuck in envy, I felt excited to be exactly where I am in life with my kids because I have never been here before. I thought, “I get to be a kid again through my kids”.
So much of the time I have felt as though I am trying to get through life rather than slow down enough to enjoy it. An example is the weekend. I really look forward to weekends because it means having my husband home and our entire family is together at once. During the week, in my anticipation of the weekend, I have found myself not enjoying the day-to-day and longing for the end of the day or the week to end just to have my husband at home, quite honestly, to lift my burden. But I realized, in longing for the day to end or the weekend to arrive, I was taking me out of my life in the moment with my kids.
What changed in my thinking happened when I enrolled Olivia in an after school art class. She is getting the opportunity to make things out of clay and then paint them just as I did as a child. Simply having her in that class is giving me the opportunity to witness it and in a way to be a part of it again.
Similarly my girls are in dance classes, and while I didn’t take dance growing up, I feel like I am getting to share in that experience with them too. We play the song for Olivia’s recital and dance around the house to it.
I also get to play Barbie’s again, learn to ride a bike again, draw and paint again, laugh at silly things again, pick flowers again, look at bugs again. I get to do all these things again just because I have these little children in my life!
I cannot even begin to convey how excited I am about this new line of thinking. Instead of feeling dragged down by sadness or envy for never again having the experience of having a baby, I am seeing the amazing opportunity in front of me to enjoy what I have and to enjoy being a kid again through my children. Even if it is just to witness their first time doing something or experiencing something new, I am so grateful for this awakening because it is coming to me at a time where I am already seeing the scary truth to the cliché of “it all goes by so quickly”
Today will be filled with playdates, coloring, dancing to their favorite songs, Rocky’s new found love for Yo Gabba Gabba (which she calls Gaga Gaga), Rocky’s request for “hot dog dinner”, putting a dress on Barbie, snacks, naps, diaper changes, milk, milk, and more milk, and probably some fights over who gets to use the iPad. Even thought my day will undoubtedly have it’s challenges with whining, arguing, and maybe a tantrum or two, I know it will be different than the day before. There will be something new, something exciting, or something precious. It’s a Sunday, but something tells me that today I am not going to let it pass by wasted as I sit around longing for another weekend to begin.