Sunday, January 27, 2013

I WOULD LIKE MY BABIES BACK, PLEASE.

Last night my dreams were filled with waves of new-birthed babies and softly rounded toddlers. This morning I am beached and bereft. I want nothing more than to reach down into a crib and gather up an armful of warm, sleepy child, every inch of the plumped body absolutely buzzing with life. I want to wait for a visit from a friend with another small child, and I want to talk and drink tea while we watch the clumsy navigations of unsure hands and unsteady feet. I want to sit in the rocker and feel a warm, befuzzed baby head grazing the delicate skin on the inside of my forearm. I want to experience that moment when you lift a baby under their arms and their head automatically goes just far enough back that you can reach that perfectly kissable spot under their chin.

I miss Angus calling himself A. "A do it!" "The wain was falling on A's head!" I miss the way he called a frying pan a pancake and called beer Dad Juice and ran towards the phone yelling Hi Damma, Hi Damma even when I wasn't talking to Grandma. I miss Eve enthusiastically saying "Nice booby thing, Mommy!" every time she saw me wearing a pretty bra. I miss the naked hug we would do every morning before I got in the shower. I miss the way they would both start yelling "DANCE MOMMY! DANCE! in the last few seconds of Sesame Street, distressed that I might not get out of my chair quickly enough for us to dance while the catchy, syncopated version of the Sesame Street song played over the credits. I miss the way that every single thing was an amazing discovery and a new experience.

We are all conversant with the ways in which parenthood is a parade of small deaths and vestigial mournings.  Sometimes I think it's monstrously unfair that we are bound to experiencing our children in such a relentlessly linear fashion. Wouldn't it be nicer if the chain of days was interspersed with spacers where we could reach into the past - go from six days of algebra and peach-fuzz whiskers and giant shoes back to a few hours of picture books and playing with the garden hose and word pronunciation gone delightfully askew and silky smooth cheeks?

No, of course not. It would be unnatural and wrong. I've read Slaughterhouse Five and The Time Traveler's Wife. Some of my worst nightmares revolve around coming untethered in time. And I know the Monkey's Paw-ishness of this kind of wish. I know there are people who have lost their small children and never get to experience the pleasure and awe of the new people you're supposed to receive in exchange. I know there are people who do have the experience of living with children who don't age, and for many of them it's no cause for celebration.

I love these people I live with. I love that I carried something inside me that now towers over me. I love that they can have thoughts that amaze me. I love that they find strength and confidence in actions and environments that are completely apart from me. I love seeing the ways in which they are like me and the ways in which they are wondrously, vastly different.

But they were of me, and every day they are less so. And some days the throbbing of that absence is a little more noticeable. And today I just feel like letting that pain have a place, and a voice.

20 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for this post. I've been trying to articulate to myself these exact feelings and thoughts, but you've managed to do it so well. Wow...

Bibliomama said...

No, thank YOU. I'm experimenting with the odd irony-free post and it's a scary feeling. Much appreciate the comment.

Sarah said...

Yes, yes, yes. Sigh.

collette said...

beautifully said

StephLove said...

I get alarmed every time I see pictures of Noah standing next to me. Because in each and every one it looks as if he's almost as tall as me. Something must be wrong with the camera.

Mary Lynn said...

Yup, I've been having these thoughts flit through my head, too, though not in such beautifully articulate words. I miss Hana saying she wants "canilla ice cream" and telling me her favourite colour is "lellow."The other day I looked at how tall she is and was blown away by the idea that I'd ever been able to hold her in just one arm. How does time go by so fast? At least Jamie still has a bit of little boyishness to him.

harriet glynn said...

Beautiful.

I'm the old lady with a 3.5-year-old (half mother/half grandmother) and not a day goes by that I do not acknowledge and totally GET that this day will never be again. I am nostalgic for the present.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this beautifully written post. I am reading it while watching cartoons with my soon-to-be three year old, and my baby sleeping peacefully in her crib. I am thankful for the simplicity of this wonderful day!

Bibliomama said...

Thank YOU for not being a spammer complimenting me in bad english before trying to sell me viagra or designer shoes! :)

Nicole said...

A couple of months ago I was looking for something on the computer and ended up watching home videos of the boys - that was not bright of me.

Cynthia said...

That was really nice. And, don't worry, soon I will be bringing my new little bundle of joy over to your house. :)

Maggie said...

My oldest turns 10 in a few weeks and I've been feeling this so strongly lately. I love that he's getting bigger and independent and gets my jokes etc., but I miss the small boy who thought everything was incredible and new and fun. What a crappy deal. Being a successful parent = raising my kids to leave me eventually. Rough.

Patti said...

When you write like this, Allison, I am transported. You make me feel like this too even though my children's babyhoods were sleepless and screamy.

Lynn said...

What Maggie said...being a good mother means you train them well enough to send them off on their own. SOB. My husband often chides me for still doing things like cutting their food for them or rushing to get them a cup of juice when they can do it themselves, but MY BABIES NEED ME - and won't for much longer. I WILL GET THE DAMN JUICE, THANK YOU.

Loved this post, Allison :).

Amber Strocel said...

You made me cry with this one. It isn't hard, but still, here I am, trying not to get tears on my iPad.

Also? I want another baby, and I think maybe I always will.

Julie said...

beautiful...

Anonymous said...

lovely post.

call me nora said...

What a beautiful post.

Mom of the Perpetually Grounded said...

A heartachingly familiar feeling. What Elizabeth said...yeah.

clara said...

Time races.
Thank you for writing this, it is true and eloquent and heart-rending.
Damn wonderful kids.