With Dinobaby's first birthday fast approaching, I've been thinking a lot lately about our family as it is and about our plans for more children. My once jaundiced and orange little October pumpkin is now a hulk of a toddler who can walk and say hi to strangers. He's becoming less and less like my little baby (sorry kid, but he's always going to be my little baby regardless of how old or big he gets) and more and more like a child. While it's beyond exciting, it's also a little sad. It's tugging at my heart and making think about other little ones who might be in our future.
That same tugging is also reminding me of how I felt after Dinobaby was born. Amidst the joy (and extreme exhaustion), there was also a slight feeling of, "Uhh...so now what?"
Growing up, I always looked forward to the day when I would meet the right person. In 2007 I did, and after a few months, my inner monologue was like a combination of "I Can Hear the Bells" and "Wouldn't It Be Nice." I couldn't wait to be engaged. And then we were engaged. Then, I couldn't wait until we got married. And then we did get married.
I'd been waiting for what seemed to be my whole life to have a baby and start a family, too. Miraculously (and I don't say that lightly -- I'm so, so grateful), Dinobaby was born a mere 10 months after our wedding.
The first time we visited my parents, who live a four hour drive away, with the baby in tow, I realized that I'd gotten everything that I'd wished for. I was married to the most kind-hearted man I've ever met and we had a gorgeous son. With that, however, I realized an entire set of consequences that hadn't really struck me before that point.
Getting what I wanted also meant that I could no longer sleep in at my parents' house, wake up to eat just-baked blueberry muffins, and then read a book for an entire afternoon. I couldn't walk to the gate and take my own sweet time, stopping to sit in the road (it's a long way to the gate, and the road is private, by the way) and watch ants scurry over pebbles and into their mounds. No more alone time watching the clouds as they moved lazily over the bright green pastures with no regard for how much time had passed. No more alone time to even go to the bathroom, for that matter.
In short, I realized that I wasn't the baby anymore and I cried. It was dumb, but I cried because everything was different.
Why didn't I just enjoy being single? I could go into a store by myself whenever I wanted! It was so much easier when I was pregnant, even if I was hot and miserable. Why didn't I enjoy it?, etc., etc.
I believe that things happen in their own time and at the right time. That afternoon at my parents house, I had to ask myself, "When else am I supposed to be happy and just live, if not now?" True, we could have waited to have children and used that time to travel or just be married. We would have enjoyed it, I have no doubt, and sometimes I miss that possibility. But I wouldn't change the way that things actually happened.
My point is that I need to enjoy where I am. This is the only time that my family will be exactly as it is. It's the only time that we'll be living in this apartment with just one child who loves my company, cuddles up to me to nurse, doesn't go to school, and hasn't yet learned the word, "No!" While it's fun to dream about how our family might grow, or what tomorrow might bring, I'm reminded to enjoy what we have today!