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.




8 comments:

anymommy said...

You made me cry. All of it, straight from my heart. (Except that MAYBE I want my babies back and then to go away again at 2:00 a.m. ;-)

Shannon said...

Oh Tracey, I get that baby ache, too. It was such a whirlwind then, but I ache to remember it, really remember it, now.

Melisa said...

Oh my heart. That was beautiful. xoxo

Marianne said...

Best post ever. And crap. Now I'm crying.

Jerky.

jen @ and two more makes FIVE said...

Gosh, isn’t that the truth! We get so relieved over each new milestone of self-sufficiency (whew! they can buckle by themselves! whew! they can shower by themselves! whew! they can play in the backyard by themselves!) that we forget to savor the fleeting baby that is evaporating into an independent little being…until that baby is gone and we’re left with almost-grown-up kids.

Alyssa said...

Tears all over the place here, and the soft sweet weight of my three month old, completely unexpected totally impossible to have daughter slumped sound asleep against my chest. My kids are 19, 15, 10 and 3 mos and our last is the little one that nearly wasn't...but the waiting made me that ache you describe oh so familiar to me. I am glad it happened that way now because on the days that are too crazy...still I know what a treasure I am holding in my arms. :)

Kat said...

I know. I KNOW!!!! I miss my babies. I will always miss my babies. And I would actually love more. But, alas, someone has to be the last baby in our family, right?
*sniff, sniff*

Heather Novak said...

OH Yes....My 2yo and 4yo are growing and changing....I’m not quite wistful but am paying attention to their precious littleness now. Thank you for writing this so BEAUTIFULLY!

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