I've been feeling strange lately. It is really getting to be fall. The leaves are turning, it is cool, I'm cooking with pumpkin and lighting the big autumn scented Yankee candle I only burned about 1/3 of last year.
I like fall. This year it feels so strange though because I keep thinking that last time it felt like this was right before E was born. Maybe it is because the month and a half after his birth was a daze and I hardly went outside, I felt like I skipped a big chunk of time. It sort of feels like this is where I left off. Which probably sounds really strange, but when E was born everything changed. Of course it did. All my priorities changed, it took me awhile to feel confident that I knew what I was doing. My whole relationship with my husband changed. Ever since I feel like little by little I am getting things back.
First, I went back to work. I dreaded how that would be, but when I did it, it felt great. It helped that I was leaving E in my home with my mom. It helped that I was less than 10 minutes away and could come home for lunch. It helped that I was only working 3 days a week, and those days I was only at work for 5 1/2 hours at a time. It was so good though to get dressed and ready for work, to have a few hours where I had both hands free, to think of things that had nothing to do with my role as a mother.
Then I finally found a solution to the pain I had experienced for almost three months. Mark and I started having an occasional "date night." Then we started traveling more than 45 minutes away. Then I started being able to go grocery shopping again. Then I finally got the confidence to go out alone with E. (I don't know why it took me so long to do that, I partially blame the pain in those first few months, partially blame the really bad winter weather we had until March.) Then I finally got my hair cut again (although, that hasn't happened since...). We started putting E in his highchair at dinner time with some toys and we could actually eat dinner at the same time and while sitting at the table again. Then I switched doctors and E started gaining weight and I finally was able to worry less and enjoy more. Then he started eating solids and combined with supplementing, he wasn't quite so dependent on me for food. Breastfeeding is totally worth it, but anyone who tries to tell you it isn't demanding is probably lying.
I finally got to the point where I could get him to sleep and leave and have a few hours in the evening to do some things I wanted to do or just be Mark. That was a HUGE step. Perhaps I could have had that earlier than 6 1/2 months, but crying it out just wasn't an option for our family and I don't feel that would have really worked with E anyway.
I started planning meals again and cooking regularly. E got out of the "mommy only" stage and Mark could take him along when he ran a few errands. Which meant I finally was able to clean things like I hadn't been able to since before I was pregnant.
So I guess that is all part of why everything feels so strange for me right now. Every day I look at E and see less of a baby and more of a little boy. Every month I'm feeling more and more like myself. It is partially that I've reclaimed things from my old life, partially that I'm adjusting and owning aspects of this new life and these new roles. At the same time the world is looking like it did back before everything turned upside down and things feel more and more "right."
It has been a crazy year. Or 10 1/2 months technically I guess.
The whole thing is very bittersweet.
I'm sad to see it go. It went so fast. I feel like those first six months were a blur, and there were so many struggle and unexplainable things, and some sadness and it was exhausting. I feel like I didn't get to enjoy it as much as I wish I did. Even this second half of the year, which I have been able to enjoy more, has just flown by. Every time I pack up clothes that are too small or are out of season I feel a twinge of sadness because E is never going to be at that stage again. It is over.
But at the same time...
I look at him now and see him taking steps on his own, babbling away to us and occasionally using correct words, feeding himself real food, etc. and it is just amazing how far he has come in such a short time, and it is so exciting.
I was always worried about having babies. I mean actual infants. I was around them so infrequently, I wasn't sure I would know what to do. All the diapering and feeding and their inability to use words to communicate and their small and delicate bodies, it was really overwhelming to think about. In reality it hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be. Instinct did kick in. I figured out communication (most of the time anyway) even without E being able to use words. But my point is, when I thought about having babies, it wasn't because I wanted a baby, it was because I wanted children.
So now E is coming out of that baby stage and becoming a young child and I love that! I am so excited to take him to pick out pumpkins, and Christmas this year is going to be so much more exciting than last year. I can't wait until we can make play-dough, use crayons, play in the sandbox.
I know this is one hell of a rambling post again, but there is just so many emotions to sort through, and I would rather write about this than read the book I'm supposed to read before Wednesday about retirement planning.
I've still got a month and a half left before E's first birthday. This is not the last I'll say on the subject, I am sure. If there is one thing every other parent with older children tells me, it is that they grow up so fast and before you know it the time is gone. I guess I've only just begun to experience that.