Saturday, May 9, 2015

How Am I That Same Woman? (Take Two)

I wrote and posted this blog post this past Monday, (May 4th, 2015), 
but then I took it down right away because I wanted to add pictures, so here it is with pictures.

My oldest is 15 and my youngest is 12. For many years after the birth of my youngest child, we weren't sure if we were "done." We always pictured ourselves having 4 kids, but we spent a lot of time on the fence for many years after the birth of our second child.

Then my wise husband noticed that every time I thought I might be pregnant, it was met more with panic than excitement, so maybe that was our answer. Of course if I ever had gotten pregnant again, we would have welcomed that child with joy and love, but yeah, we figured out that we're good with two.

So here I am, 41, dealing with occasional peri-menopause symptoms and overloaded with baby stuff - stroller, walker, bath seat, toys, crib, you name it. Yep, we've kept everything "just in case." We weren't sure so we kept it all so that we wouldn't need to repurchase anything if we did have more kids. We kept this stuff long after we decided that yep, we're not having more (2009). Apparently, I'm a bit of a hoarder.

But with our move, we've started to purge some stuff and organize what's left. We've sold some things at a consignment sale - a high chair and a few other things. There's something bittersweet about parting with that stuff, the things that have helped you raise your babies. There's a pang, an ache. Your sweet babies grow up. Time marches on.

Mommy and Baby Kate in 2000
Today, we parted with the crib. A woman came to the house today and picked up all the crib parts and the mattress. It's on its way to a center in Africa for children with AIDS. As I helped her load the parts into her van, she told me that this crib will likely hold more than one baby at a time. I'm glad it's going to a place like that. That helps me, as well as them.

But for a moment, during the 10 minutes the woman and I spoke as we carried the parts and loaded them into her van, I felt a cosmic shift of time. I was me, but 16 years earlier, and I was standing outside unloading baby items from our car and into our home as we prepared for the birth of our oldest child. It took a conscious effort for me to bring myself back to the present, the here and now, and I was dizzy from the adjustment.

And that's when the emotions washed over me. In that moment, 16 years passed by in the blink of an eye, imperceptible to the woman loading up a crib that was no longer ours, but undeniably obvious to me. In that blip of time, I aged, regressed, and aged again. From 41 to 25 and back to 41.

How am I that same woman who was so nervous with anticipation for her first labor and delivery? How am I that same woman who was thrilled over ordering a new toy for her as-yet unborn baby girl to have when she arrived? How am I that same woman who packed up that crib and moved it cross country, unpacking it again so many states and miles later in a new home, this time for her baby boy? How am I that same woman? 
Mommy and Baby Maxim in 2003

I don't feel older. I don't feel like that much time has passed. It doesn't seem possible. It's been so fast. Too fast. Where has the time gone? Now my babies are 15 and 12, and time seems to be going faster. Why does it feel like time is such a thief?

It took me years to give up the crib and it hurts. How the hell am I ever going to be able to handle them going to college and starting families of their own? Will time shift again when I become a grandma? Will I stand there helping to unload a new crib and think again, how am I that same woman? Will it be in the blink of an eye? Like 25 to 41?

I gave away our crib today and aged 16 years in a second's time. And as I stood there, eyes burning with tears, all I could think was, how am I that same woman?