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?


Dr. Mark said...

What a poignant post. To answer your question, I don't know. There are so many times that I feel like I'm living an infinite number of moments simultaneously, each one representing so many years of my life. I've had similar experiences where I'm transported back to an earlier year, only to be jerked back to now. It's one of time's greatest gifts and curses.

And will you have the same experiences as life goes on? Yeah, I'm sure you will, because you are someone who holds onto memories as your most cherished possessions, recalling them into your consciousness to enhance your love of the present, day after day.

You are that same incredible woman you have been in each of those memories you've recalled, and our children are better people because you are in their lives. I love you!

And for the record, you are NOT the only hoarder around here. I'm sorry. :/

Boquinha said...

Thanks, Mark. That's so kind.

I feel so young, like I'm not an adult yet (maybe that's good?) and I feel like time is going by so fast. I'm glad we're in this together. I love you!

Yeah, we're both hoarders. We should get on that. ;)

Jimmy said...

Great thoughts. Thank you, Stacy. I've been reading a lot lately about how fast time flies. There was a recent obituary written just before her death where the author wrote that she blinked and life was over. Another article I read where the author realized that there are no grown-ups like she thought when she was little--she realized its just people like her doing their best to act grown-up, but still carrying all the insecurities they've had all their life. And I've always remembered a family counselor that would constantly remind us to cherish the moments with our little children because they grow out of childhood so quickly. Even with that warning I still can't believe how fast my children have grown and I'm still not sure I cherished it as much as I should have. It leaves me hoping maybe I'll get it right as a grandparent someday.

On a lighter note, the last couple of years my lower back achingly reminds me that 46 years are indeed behind me.

Hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day!

Boquinha said...

Thanks, Jimmy. All those thoughts are so poignant. It's something that's on my mind a lot these days, too. It's so nice to hear from you. I always enjoy hearing your thoughts.

Emily Foley said...

This one really hits home for me. I know how you feel, I know what you mean. I know I just had another baby so we're not exactly the same stage of life, but we're done. This is it. I'm sending every stitch of baby clothing to Lindsay for Flynn because I can't hold on to it for one day longer than I need it or I'll never give it away. I love this part of my life, though it's hard and I'm tired, and it is hard to give up. So hard. I would have a hundred more babies if I could but it's just so hard and I'm getting too old. It's insane how fast time passes and how much things change.

Boquinha said...

That's why Toy Story 3 is so grueling to watch! It is insane how fast time passes.

Heh, just be sure you're really done. I've heard soooo many stories of people who give all their stuff away and then . . . surprise!

Yeah, I hear you. I could have a house full of teenagers, though I must admit that part of the reason we quit after 2 kids is because of how important it is to me to feel like I'm being the kind of mom I feel I need to be with my kids (and for me, the more spread thin I am, the more anxious I get and lousier I feel), and as they get older, holy cow, it's involved! I feel busier (though in a far less exhausted way) now than when they were babies/toddlers, and I can't imagine how I could possibly do it with more than 2. Not without some serious extended family support anyway, which we really haven't ever had. I sometimes think that if that were a factor, we'd have more. It really does take a village! :P

Anonymous said...

It is both a tough and a wonderful road. On the one hand, we want them to stay little forever. On the other hand, we want them to grow and change and become the people they were born to be. It's a much tougher road than I ever dreamed.

As parents, we second guess ourselves all of the time, every day it seems. But, that is what makes us good parents and strong role-models.

Are you the same woman? Yes and no. Fundamentally, yes. Yet, how could you possibly be the same? These two beautiful, wonderful beings have changed in you in so many wonderful ways. Being a mother has changed your relationship with your husband. You went from husband and wife to Mommy and Daddy. Those are wonderful changes.

Change never stops. As much as we might want it to sometimes, I can't believe we'd really be happy if nothing ever changed.

Boquinha said...

Great thoughts, Sherri. Thanks for sharing. I know you know the feeling well!