A letter to a friend – and to friends I don’t know yet
Let me start with an apology. I'm so sorry I've been "too busy" to get together with you lately. Sure, I have the guys' sports schedules and my volunteer and paid work, but that's no excuse. In fact, all excuses are flashbacks to discordant riffs from of my former life when I play them back in my head. They're the same excuses I heard when the guys were your kids' ages, and I've always vowed that I'd do better if the situations were reversed. They are now, and I haven't done much better. I will from now on, though.
You see, my friend, I've been where you are now. Two kids in diapers. A baby and a jealous older sibling. Trying to keep both of them fed, dry and amused at the same time and often feeling like I failed miserably.
You look at me now, five years after I was burning in hell, and you admire my calm. You shouldn't, for a couple of reasons.
One, it's always easier to handle other people's crying babies. There's a level of detachment when it's not your own child who's distressed. I used to feel just awful when day care teachers, relatives or even complete strangers could step in and calm a situation that I was unable to. It happens.
And, two, I know a few things you haven't experienced yet: That it gets better, and that a half decade down the road you'll look back and see the joy in these days. I think it's the same coping mechanism that erases the roughest edges of labor pains. We remember the contractions and the pushing, but the sharpness fades. We recall vividly, though, that first snuggle. Those early seconds of introducing ourselves to that tiny creature who previously had been only kicks inside of us.
Yes, I still recall the weekend both guys had the stomach flu at the same time. Big Guy was two and a half, Boots was about six months. I'd no sooner finish changing Boots when Big Guy would come toddling down the hall, diaper in hand. "Mommy! I poopy again." This went on every 15 minutes for hours. I can actually laugh about that now. At the time, I sat down and cried the second the guys' were poopy-free and down for naps.
But what I remember more vividly: Afternoons at the coffee shop with baby Big Guy, me sipping an Americano while he discovered ice cream. Days at the duck pond as Boots delighted at throwing bread to his new friends. Delighted, that is, until one particularly aggressive goose decided to grab it out of his hand. He was scared for weeks after that.
Yes, I recall Big Guy's determination to turn my arm into steak tartar as payback for bringing That Baby Who Ruined His Life into our home. But I can't feel that anymore. What I can feel: The rush as he rushed to me every day when I picked him up from day care, hugging me for dear life. These days, he's too cool for me to even be allowed to meet him at the bus stop.
So, yes, I hear you. Life is hard right now. Very hard. But in a few years, you'll look back and relive all the joy you're too tired, stressed and frazzled to fully appreciate now. I promise.
Meanwhile, how about we get together today for Americanos and ice cream?
Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.