Last night I had dinner with a friend I’ve known for maybe 8 years? Our first children, both boys, were born within four weeks of one another. Now we are both expecting girls who will be born within four weeks of one another. (We didn’t plan it.) We have a lot in common there, but one big difference: I’m a stay-at-home mom and she’s a working mom.
We were talking about how sad we are that our relationship with our sons will change so drastically and permanently once the girls are born (though of course we are happy about the new babies, yadda yadda), and I started talking about daily routines that I realized I will no longer be able to do with him once there’s a newborn around.
Like read to him for an unplanned hour after breakfast on a tuesday. Or cuddle with him for 30 minutes after he wakes up from a nap and is still groggy and warm. Or play “undies” (silly game where he plays with laundry) with him for as long as he wants to.
She listened politely and nodded. But as I was driving home well after saying all of that (I can have a massive delay sometimes), I had the obvious realization that most parents don’t have the chance to do these things on a daily basis with their kids. I get to do it for two years. And the end of those two years is really more of a transition into a time when I have to choose between cuddling two of my children or both at once.*
I’m so fucking lucky.
*I’m also going to want to run away after being home alone with a 2-year-old and a newborn for 11 hours every day, but you know. Benefit far outweighs the difficulty.
My friend is happily working and says often that she could never be home full time with kids, but she does miss the time with her son and you can’t get that back. I should have been more sensitive when I was talking about it. That’s how deeply buried in this life I have become – I see these things as my daily routine, very matter-of-fact. Lovely parts of my daily routine, but still. I mean, I worry about how I am going to manage cuddling him when I have an infant strapped to me, like will there be enough open surface area? I DON’T KNOW!
And I worry about how my son will handle the change, of course.
But it’s like-
I’ve got this perfect life full of mushy cuddles and snacks and playgrounds and “undies” and here I am fretting about what’s going to happen when I add more love and mushy cuddles and “who knows what she’ll think up.” Yeah, it’s going to be different and it’s going to be hard in a different way, but so very perfect and right.
Image credit: Klara Lindahl