Before our kids were born, my husband and I would spend hours talking about what we wanted for our children, how we would raise them, how we would discipline them, what wnderful parents we would be, who would be bad cop, and so on.. Of course once they were born, none of those conversations mattered, our conversations were more along the lines of: who made the last bottle, who changed the last diaper, who had the least amount of sleep last night and who could have the next night off. While laying in bed last night, thankful that the house was dark and quiet, I started thinking about the way life used to be, BC (before children).
The husband and I were movie buffs. We would go sometimes twice a week; we were the Barry Ronge’s of our day. We could hold intelligent conversations for hours, dissecting the movie we had just watched, while sipping on post movie cappuccinos in a QUIET spot where non parents could gaze into each other’s eyes, without getting a blob of ketchup thrown in your face. If we stayed up late, burning holes in the carpet, it was because we were having an adult party and dancing the carpet away, not pacing up and down with a baby who couldn’t settle. We used to watch the news after dinner, and Sunday mornings were for church, followed by fresh hot bread rolls and reading the newspapers.. Now the only news I get to follow is via my social networking contacts, and the only papers I read are clinic cards, report cards and bills. If we didn’t feel like cooking, we’d order in; if we felt like going to bed as soon as we walked in from work, we’d do it. If we felt like a night of pigging out while watching hired movies, and leaving the dirty dishes to soak, we’d do it! AD (after darlings), we have to ensure that there is at least one wholesome meal a day, we have to wait for the kids to go to bed before we break out the junk food – and even then, we have to open wrappers verrrry quietly, chew slowly and hide all the evidence. We don’t leave dishes in the sink, because there’s nothing worse than getting up at dawn to wash baby bottles, and the sink is covered with leftover dishes – that’s got to be one of my pet peeves! I remember sleeping in until the heat emanating from our room would eventually wake us up – midday sun is HOT! Now if the sun is up before me, it’s probably because I’ve been up all night and only got to bed at 5am – no not partying, nursing a sick child!
But the one thing that has really evolved AD, is the relationship I share with my husband. Our conversations are limited to baby talk – quite literally. He’ll say “I’m going pee-pee” when he leaves the room to take a toilet break. Or I’ll quite seriously say “give mama some love” when I need a hug? The only time we have alone time is when both kids are asleep, and by that time, all we want to do is sleep too. We get excited about Pampers being on special or half price kiddies meals at a restaurant, when did this happen?!! We argue over missing baby socks, and Hannah’s bad hair day and Liam’s increasing vocabulary of rude words; COME ON! We used to argue over who’s soccer team was better and how my t-shirt showed too much cleavage!
Sometimes I ask myself if this is the life I signed up for? Is this the man I married? Are these the sweet angels I used to dream about when I was pregnant? The truth is – NO! My rose coloured glasses were knocked clean off my nose, that very first night in the hospital when that darling nurse nudged my shoulder at 3am to feed my screaming baby. Of course this is a blog my kids will read someday, so I do need to end it on a positive note! But the blatant truth is, that even amidst the hardship of raising babies, and mommies and daddies having to sneak into the bathroom to have a cuddle, and crying louder than my two kids because I just don’t know what they want sometimes, and wearing the same pair of butternut stained jeans two days in a row because they are the only pair that fit, and wanting to bust a cap in Liam’s teacher’s XXX because he likes her more than he likes me sometimes, and wanting to SCREAM at my husband when he promises the kids something that I have said no to already… even with ALL these things, the blatant truth is that if a genie had to appear and ask me if I wanted to rewind.. I wouldn’t even consider it. When you know the feeling of tiny soft fingers wrapped tightly around your hand, when you’ve giggled with your toddler until the tears flow, over something utterly silly like watching a dog pee, when you come home to little arms outstretched for a “love”, when you’ve kissed a bleeding booboo, when you’ve fallen asleep with a stiff neck because a little face is nuzzled deep into your neck, when you feel that joy of a baby who has learned to clap handies or blow kiss or say ta-ta, when you see little eyes light up at unwrapping a gift – there’s just no going back and there’s just no giving them back, not for all the chocolate in the world! And even though my husband and I are no longer the people we were when we got married, quintessentially we are better. You see, babies force parents to connect and reach out to each other and rely on each other in a way that you never thought was possible. Babies strip you bare, they force emotions out of you that you didn’t know you could muster up, they make the highs really high, and the lows dreadfully low; and for my husband to still be here, to still love me like he does, to still be the almost-perfect father to our kids, after witnessing firsthand the highs and lows of parenting two bambinos, 15 months apart; I love him now, more than I have ever loved him in my life.
I know this season will pass, and there will come a time when Liam and Hannah leave the nest empty and the husband and I can go back to our movies and junk food and sleeping in. I know too, that as I sometimes miss our BC past, I will one day miss THIS time when my kids were babies who still looked up to me like a demi-goddess. Because the old adage is true: live in the present because it is a gift from God.