I remember when Dennis and I could actually stay awake long enough to watch an entire episode of Saturday Night Live.
At the time in our lives when we could actually accomplish such a feat, we also lived in an apartment that was a whopping 365 square feet in size. So, maybe the same thing that allowed us to live in such a confined space for our first years of marriage without killing each other is what gave us the uncanny energy to stay awake at what I now consider to be such an ungodly hour.
When I tell you our life was simple back then, I mean it was real simple. Just the two of us. We went to school, worked part-time jobs that were total cake, and had almost no bills, thanks to our financial aid. It wasn't until I approached the end of my studies in social work when we learned about poverty and all that fun stuff that I truly understood why the financial aid gurus were so good to us. I learned that we were actually living below the poverty line. We honestly had no idea.
We never felt poor (well, aside from the type of "poor" that all college kids feel...the ramen noodle type of poor, if you will). We were so happy, and we had a blast pretty much all the time. We'd pick up and go on a hike or a picnic in the woods on a whim. We'd pack up the chess board and set up a game in a grassy spot on campus (where I would then proceed to angrily knock all the pieces off the board - multiple times - after losing. Repeatedly.). We were really very care free, except during finals week, of course.
Life is different now. Way different. We've had to grow up a bit. Now we have a mortgage, real jobs to go to, lots of bills to pay, and an extra mouth (that likes to babble, blow raspberries a lot, and make fake coughing noises when she wants more attention) to feed.
Kaylee came into our lives at the perfect time. We were thrilled to find out she was on the way, and I was blessed with an uncomplicated pregnancy, as well as a good labor and delivery experience. Being the avid reader and information junkie that I am, I read a butt load of stuff about pregnancy, labor and delivery, but not a whole lot about what to expect after all of that. There just aren't many books out there about it, and frankly, I didn't think I needed to read many of them even if they were out there.
Being a mom was the part I thought I could handle. I was confident that it would just come naturally. I was good with kids, I knew I had the necessary motherly instincts, I've taken care of babies and kids - I was ready. Ready to have the baby, get home, and start living life as our new little family. Dealing with the pain of pushing a kid out was what terrified the daylights out of me that whole 9 months, and not much else. I survived the labor, discovered that chocolate is a girls second best friend because epidurals were actually a girl's true best friend, and thought the toughest part was over. I wasn't all that worried about missing some sleep and dealing with newborn poop.
I could have worried a little bit more, perhaps, but it wouldn't have done any good, because I've had a hard time adjusting, in spite of my assumption that it'd be just hunky dory. (More posts about that will be sure to come)
People always said once you have a child, you'll never get to eat an entire meal before it gets cold again. So, I expected that, but I didn't realize that after a while, that gets really old. We are the kind of people who occasionally partake of delectable breakfast foods for dinner, and I don't care who you are - cold eggs SUCK. I just want to eat my eggs while they're hot! But, the eggs have to wait when you've got a stinky diaper to change or tears that need to be wiped away.
Sometimes I miss not being able to watch a full episode of my favorite TV shows because they interfere with bathtime, bed time, or rice cereal time.
Sometimes I miss being able to take a nice, long shower without mini me right outside the shower door because she'll cry if she can't see me every 13 seconds.
Sometimes (try every night) I miss being able to sleep through the night.
To be honest, I really miss having more time for myself.
A good friend of mine helped me to realize that new moms often actually go through a grieving period of sorts - a grieving of the parts of your identity and your life that aren't really so evident anymore. Your life changes the minute you become a mother, and no matter how hard you try, you can't really prepare yourself. I'm still trying to grasp the fact that it's *okay* that I miss a few things about my pre-baby life. And there are a lot of things that I do miss.
But you know what? Give me the cold eggs. Give me the sweet little girl in her jumperoo whose face lights up brighter than the sun when I open the shower door to remind her I haven't gone anywhere. Give me the 7 p.m. screaming session, signaling to me that the rice cereal and squash are exactly 2 seconds overdue and they need to be delivered NOW. And I mean RIGHT now. Give me the 3 days worth of dirty dishes and the 6 loads of laundry. Give me 15 minutes of The Office instead of 30. And yes, give me the middle of the night wake-up calls from the 6-month-old down the hall who has already proven that she is capable of sleeping in 8-hour increments - she just chooses not to most of the time.
I might complain about how hard things are sometimes, and for good reason, because they are hard. In reality, though, I know that people aren't lying when they tell me I'll miss these things someday.
This - right now - this is what we were going for all along. This is what we always wanted. And I'd eat cold eggs every day if I had to because it won't be like this for long.
(Head on over to Mama's Losin' It to read more Writer's Workshop posts from other bloggers.)
IT WON'T BE LIKE THIS FOR LONG w/Darius Rucker