Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Just Like Yesterday.

The other day at lunch Genevieve and I shared a grapefruit, and she yelled, "Yaaaay! Glapefluit!" and I died from the cuteness.

The truth is, I'm glad she sometimes still says "l's" for her "r's." It shows that she's still got some baby inside her.

Every year at roughly this time I get the illness I have now: some kind of Super Cold, a Super Virus, that turns everything from my neck up into a throbbing mass of congestion and pain, and tops it off with a cough that keeps me up at night. At its worst, it turns into a sinus infection and usually pinkeye as well. Every time I get sick like this now, it takes me right back to the first, and worst, time I had it--when my girls were just one and three and I was alone for nearly a full workweek while Christopher traveled on a business trip. I was on my own, solo-parenting, and Genevieve still nursed and no one was really sleeping through the night, and they were at that baby/toddler stage where just taking care of them involved constant physical exertion on my part--and I was sick as a dog. I remember it so vividly, like it happened yesterday.

But what's funny is that when I think of that time, there's this part of me that feels a distinct twinge of nostalgia. Not for being miserably sick while solo-parenting two babies and being awake for hours at night coughing, and getting up to do the diapers and the nursing and everything else, powering through, and just getting sicker and sicker because there was no one else to do it all. Not nostalgic for that. But nostalgic for that time, I guess, when I had babies ages one and three.

It was super hard, so exhausting and draining--and yet, I have fond memories of lugging those babes and the carseat and the diaper bag all over town, shuttling us through our days together and getting through it all with all my other mom friends who had babies one and three too, who were similarly exhausted, who were running on caffeine and fumes just like I was. It was like we were in this little parenting army together, one we'd enlisted in voluntarily, one we were proud of, but that still required us to face battle every day together: would the baby sleep through the night? could we finagle the simultaneous nap? who was still nursing? who was weaning? which toddler was going through the throw-herself-on-the-floor-at-Target-and-scream stage? and how would we survive it?

There's nothing like that time. It uses every cell in your body; it burns every calorie, it runs you ragged all day and puts you straight into bed at night. Mothering babies and toddlers is demanding like nothing else--and then it's over and gone, and the next time is nothing like that previous time. The next time is better in a lot of ways, but it's just not the same, and you do miss big chunks of what your life was like before, when the babies were little. You really do.

So you're secretly glad she says "glapefluit." And when she says, "I need to work on my "r's," Mama, so I don't say it like an "l"," you say to her, "Oh, honey, it's okay to say it like that for a little while longer."

This photo was taken that week, the week they
were one and three and I was so sick.

And secretly, you mean "forever."


Rita said...

Ohmahgaaaaah I meant to say something intelligent, but then I saw that photo and I lost my train of thought. SO CUUUUUTE!

Mom said...

And there you have the truest example there could be of the trite phrase, "This, too, shall pass!" I don't think I've ever seen that picture! They look (and are) so small!

Mary S. said...

This brought a little tear to my eye. I had a similar experience parenting solo (for 5 weeks!) when my girls were 4 and 8 months. I remember thinking, 'it will never get harder than this' and, physically, that was true. It's a cliche, but each season has its joys and trials and they are all precious

Love the photo!