Friday, June 21, 2013

I want my babies back

I saw you today. I saw your frustration ebbing over your top as the eldest bopped around your navy minivan; she couldn't be contained or restrained by the booster seat, and your hands were literally quite full with the younger baby. Clad in blue and green plaid with arms and legs happily flinging about, she seemed to agree with her older sister: car seats are for SUCKERS.

You most definitely didn't see me as I observed you from my own minivan, just a few spaces diagonally across from yours. If you had spotted me, though, undoubtedly you would have formed the incorrect assumption.

I sat in my vehicle, alone, a/c on in the middle of a mall parking lot on a sunny summer Wednesday, drying my nails in the flow of the air. I had on a clean and relatively cute outfit with hair that was washed and STYLED that morning. Clearly, I live a life of luxurious, child-free existence. Clearly, I wouldn't be able to empathize with your overwhelming situation. Clearly, I was judging you and your inability to buckle 2 small children into a minivan.

If you had seen me, and if you had looked deeply into my eyes, you might have noticed that the shine in my eyes isn't a result of an overzealous air conditioner. You would have seen that the half-smile upon my face was not a self-righteous smirk but an attempt to quell the jealousy. I cannot look upon the sweetness of young families without feeling this sharp ache in my gut. My stomach physically drops and it is not uncommon for my longing to spill over in the most inopportune of times. While your baby is screaming in the grocery store as your toddler flings the bread about, I am desperately trying to zone out; not because the noise bothers me, but because I am jealous of their smallness. When you are struggling with a stroller that will not close in a rainstorm while 3 kids are crying and fighting in the car and you haven't even had coffee yet? THAT MAKES ME WISTFUL. Yeah - I even miss THAT.

So, if  you are blissfully cradling a 1 year old and all is quiet in your space and surroundings? You can rest assured that I am just moments away from a full-on sob-fest. If I race to the bathroom, it's not my weakened bladder but my weakened heart and tear ducts that are to blame.

I am not so far removed from young parenthood that it is a distant memory. Just handfuls of months ago, my baby WAS a baby - they were all upon me, all the time. And while I do enjoy the little perks that having older children allows me (like leisurely painting my nails on a Weds in a parking lot ALL ALONE), I would trade it back for a few moments of my babies being BABIES.

Little hands that reach for me and only me to pick them "uppy, Mommy! Uppy!"...

I long to feel that fabulous weight that only comes from a young child who has passed out on my shoulder; sweaty, sun-kissed hair in my face; infusing my mind with the deepest love I've ever known...

I don't sugarcoat all of the memories. Yes, a lot of the care involved in raising little ones is monotonous and selfless, but so is ALL OF LIFE. There is so much beauty in the briefness of babies! So much to treasure with toddlers! Preschoolers and young children have a magical quality about them that draws my heart...

Truth be told: I don't want another baby. I just want MY BABIES BACK.

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