Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Better You Than Me

OK, so we're all up to date on how glad I am that it's not still four years ago. I've made my point clear, have I not? Well, as if to slam the point home, last night I ventured out into the ten-below-zero night in order to drive to the indoor track at the college where my husband works, where I can get into the Rec Center with my staff/family privileges card, to run a few miles inside. I've been sick for about a million years, and it's like the Arctic outside here, so I haven't been for a run in many days. But I just decided to suck it up, sinus congestion and all, go to where I could run without risking my life, and try a few miles just to see if my leg muscles still work. Because Good Lord in heaven, when you're a runner and you're used to a fair amount of fitness and whatnot, not exercising for weeks can really start getting to you. You start moping around all wobbly and defeated. You imagine you might never run six miles again, after all your hard work. You start gaining weight from not getting any exercise. It's depressing.

Well, so, anyway--there I was, suited up and getting on the track. And out of the corner of my eye, I see a woman approaching the walking lanes. And she's got a newborn baby strapped onto her chest in a carrier. She's got her iPod, she's got her walking shoes on, she's there in the pitch-dark of 6:00 p.m. in December--when I swear it feels so late that we should all be in bed already--and she's walking around the track with a newborn baby strapped to her chest. And at first I was like, Wow, brilliant! Why didn't I ever think of doing that, when I had newborn babies? What a great way to escape the claustrophobic misery of the evening hours with a fussy newborn, and also get your exercise in, even in the dead cold of winter!

And the very next second I was all, OMG lady, better you than me. And then I ran right by her, over and over and over again, feeling very fit and fleet--unencumbered. So glad to not be carrying colic on my chest. So glad to not be in charge of the next feeding--and every one thereafter.

I don't mean to sound cruel, ungrateful, or harsh. For a long time I missed newborns--sort of. I do still miss plenty of things about having children younger than mine are now, and it's just as painful as ever--as it is, I think, for every mom--to know that every single day that passes is a time and stage that can never return.

But there is a time and place for everything, and the time when it would have been brilliant of me to go to a track with the baby strapped to my chest is over. Now the brilliant thing is going to the track on my own, in the middle of busy December, with the kids at home being fed their dinner by someone other than me.

Amazing how that works, isn't it?


Rita said...

I'm raising my hands and singing "hallelujah" over here.


Grace said...

My friend Christy and I have an inside joke, when we learn that others are expecting. We say, "I'm so happy for you!" Only like, "I'm so happy for YOU!"---as in, thank goodness that part of our life is past.

Babies are wondrous and beautiful, and to everything there is a season. You captured that in a lovely way. Thank you. :)

Angel said...

Shannon, you crack me up! I really really want one more baby, but when I think about vomiting for 9 months straight, bed rest, night feedings, colic.... I wonder what the heck I'm thinking! I wish my last one could just be walking, talking, and feeding themselves when they arrive. haha

Donna said...

Oh so true. I paid my dues.

Better someone else than me.

Though, of course, we have the teen years to "look forward" to!

Mnmom said...

I very quite sad and nostalgic for my little ones. THEN I see all those folks with strollers and whiny toddlers at Winter Walk and I relish my freedom.