When the hubs and I forecasted parenthood in its splendor and dualities, we failed to entertain the thoughts of what we’d “miss” once babies entered the picture. It wasn’t character tragedy on our parts. We simply guessed that we were ready because parenting was an intentional choice for us. There was a quiet understanding that we could handle whatever unexpectedly rolled our way. Or we’d figure it out as we went.
I’m tickled with laughter. The things we learn with time…
We began dating in January 2005 and existed in almost eight years of exclusivity, two years as husband and wife, before becoming pregnant with Jrue. We were settled in schedules and plans; there was no awkward oddities between us. We cherished the “just the two of us” stages as we deepened a camaraderie, a companionship, though we were sure we wanted children someday; the magic just hadn’t “taken” yet.
When we received the happy news, we waited until the holidays to release the bulletin to our families, then began the sometimes anguishing baby preparatory process, an ultimate summons scary and endangered because it was so unknown. We read, read, read, listened, listened, noted, check marked, read some more. The baby’s weekly fruit-compared development was forefront in our minds all the time. This creation was a little project we had indulged in, him and I…but parenthood was still unimaginable, a faceless encounter.
We had no previous experience to springboard from, nothing in comparison to relate to what we were getting ourselves into. Jrue was born, and we soon learned that no amount of studying could have organized the biggest tasks of our lives. Everything…everything…became so weird…because it was.
“The hubs and I” became “us.” “Babe” became “mommy” and “daddy” permanently, literally overnight. I talked to Jrue in the third person, for goodness’ sake. (And, uh, still do.) Parenthood became as consuming and as confusing as trying to get a plastic bag refill into the Diaper Genie canister.
But it was as wondrous as the urine fountain majesty that Jrue streamed across my wall at age three days.
Parenting is work…particularly now with two children. These two over here are so similar, but so insanely different in personality and discretion and wants and egotism. Most of the time, I don’t know if I’m coming or going. I feel like exhaustion has become such a seeping part of my inner being that having even the slightest energy is now peculiar. I find myself daydreaming, remembering what it was like with just me and the hubs, late night, eating out, fattening up, watching bad reality television. It helps me through.
This is not to say that being a parent is such an incredibly daunting assignment that I have no luxury to regularly dream. At the same time, I am not apologizing for feeling this way. But I reflect on the ones that got away, the things we used to have that now elude us, to admire where I am and to see how I have grown as a woman, a wife, a mom, and a human being.
Sleep, you were an excellent friend that I never appreciated. Sometimes, I’d avoid you to style my hair or binge-watch “The Wire.” In college, you would arrive in enough time as I would entertain you, then I’d push you away. You would steal me away for the lack of attention you received. I neglected you. You were immensely satisfying, but I couldn’t see that. I was wrong, and I cannot do more apologizing than I am doing now. You are missed.
Ownership, I honestly didn’t know you were essential in my life until you left in little hands. Your form was in food and space and trinkets—all of the little things that matter. Frequently, I sit and think of you, plainly individualistic, unknowingly coveted, gone for what they say is forever. If I could frame you, I would, to keep you close to me, but I couldn’t have that, either. You are in the breeze that blows by me.
Time, oh Time, let me count the ways in which I curse you. Time, you speed up when I’m not ripe and you slow down when I need haste. Why is our relationship such a tumultuous “love-hate?” You remind me of your presence when I’m flipping through baby albums or thinking about times I had as a child. You wink and blink and do your own thing, and I’m exasperated at your determination. But, to you, I am also humbly thankful…you always find a way to recall your criticality. You are the reason to pursue life’s fullness because of your omnipresence.
Energy, my dear, where have you gone? You moved away without telling me first that you were leaving. We grew up together. While younger, we ran hand-in-hand in the daylight and at the night’s watch. You were there through T-ball games and dance classes and cheerleading routines. You were there later through gym sessions and my wedding and at childbirth. But, now, you seem angry with me; my meter is rarely replete. When I chase you, I feel you run away so quickly. You do not answer my calls. What have I done to deserve such rejection? Please talk to me.
Lastly, Money. I miss you, Money. Our rapport has been respectful over the years because you were not the largest pot. But you were good to me, unfailingly good to me. I learned to hold you in high regard as I got older because I needed you to manifest. It wasn’t ever the chase, believe me; it was the opportunities you brought, the doors to memories you opened. You showed me life. If I abused you, made you feel even the slightest less of worthy, I ask for your forgiveness.
Pardon me while I hold myself and rock in a corner.