Today is January 7th, 2015, and on January 19th, I’ll go back to my full time job in IT distribution and leave my sweet baby boy with someone else for eight hours, Monday through Friday each week (technically nine hours if you count lunch, but I’ll be hightailing it over to the daycare to see him on lunch for the first few days/weeks). Am I sad? In some ways, yes. Maternity leave in its true form – the kind where you go back, not like with Russ where I took a leave knowing I probably would not return – goes by quickly and it’s difficult if not impossible to cram all the snuggles necessary into that amount of time. Into any amount of time, really…can our babies really be babies for long enough? I saw something online somewhere where it said the following:
You have a newborn for one month, an infant for one year, a toddler for two years, a preschooler for two years, a little kid for four years, a big kid for three years, and a teenager for five years. Those years will fly by, so soak them up. (Paraphrased…but whatever, you get the gist)
Now…that’s a LOT of math for just saying “Hey, childhood is fleeting. Enjoy your kids.” So I’ve tried to do just that, even while trying to keep up with Russ (who honestly has been a pretty challenging kid behaviorally since becoming a big brother, but I think that’s kind of normal), pumping/nursing seemingly CONSTANTLY, getting back into Crossfit, keeping the house up, and dealing with financial challenges of unpaid leave time. I didn’t always nail it, and I’m okay with that – my kids don’t expect me or even want me to be perfect, they just want me to be present. So turning off the television, cranking some Cake or Blitzen Trapper, and doing things with Russ has been very important. And of course, I get most of the day where Jonathan is at work and Russ is at preschool to just snuggle my sweet Henry. But is it “enough?” I don’t know what “enough” is at this point. I don’t think it really exists. You just enjoy the time you have with your newborn and then you look forward to watching them grow up. There is joy at every stage I’ve experienced thus far, and I’m sure there will be even more joy ahead.
Two days ago, January 5th, marked FIVE years since the day this motherhood journey began – the day I found out I was pregnant with Russ. I didn’t know how far along I was, nor if my baby was a boy or a girl, or if I’d even get to KEEP that pregnancy. Not to be dark here, but let’s just say it – something like 10-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriages, and I was probably a little too aware of that and spent the first trimester of my pregnancy with Russ biting my fingernails and fretting over every sensation. Looking at how far we’ve come both as a couple (having major marital issues in 2012 and 2013, with this past year really marking a new era for us as a couple) and as a family, I’m filled with awe, gratitude, and I am humbled beyond belief. We are so blessed.
Yesterday, the 6th, also marks nine years since my Uncle Rick passed away alone in Easley. Now seeing my two sons as brothers in their earliest stage, it makes me hope and pray that my sons maintain a deep and solid brotherly connection throughout their lives.
I don’t know if I’ll have a third child, though I suspect I’m just stubborn enough to do all of this one more time. But I’m okay with “going back to the grind,” and I no longer feel like someone else is “going to raise my kids for me” while I work. That’s not right. In my first foray into motherhood, I sadly placed an immense weight on my own shoulders to do everything by the book, to be perfect for my son. It backfired, horribly. I felt meaningless, valueless, aimless, and goal-less – and like once my sweet children grew up, I’d have no meaning or value at all. Going back to work, for me, has been a blessing (and a curse, in some very normal ways – haha!) and has helped open up an entirely new side of me. It’s made me a more well-rounded person, and mom. I’m thankful for it.
So come January 19th, it’ll be back to the grind. And I’ll hand my sweet baby boy off to the nursery ladies and kiss him. I’ll go out to my car and shed a few quiet tears, mourning the passage of another newborn period, the fleeting time when our babies are only beginning to show their little personalities. I’ll grab a cup of coffee and swipe on some lipstick, and I’ll go back to doing what I do best – dancing as fast I can, juggling as much as I can, because life is long, and the journey is rough. And when it’s done, I want all of my energy to be used up.