Take Me Back (but leave me here)

“To mourn: To feel regret or sadness about the loss or disappearance of something.”

Life is full of transitions and with each new transition comes a new season, which may be exactly what you need, but it seems to always come with a sting of the heart.  The reality is, I mourn the life I lived before you were born.  I’m not talking about the type of mourning that weeps and aches with the unknowns of how to move forward.  I’m talking about the everyday mourning.  The mourning that makes you look at your past and think, “If only I could have understood how truly good I had it, just how free I really was.”  That’s the word I have been grappling with lately, freedom.  My life as a mom is not one of freedom.  It’s one of surrender, of being needed always, of never actually being allowed to just be.  I can’t help but look at the baby bump sitting in front of my keys and ponder how much I mourn that freedom.  Let me explain.

When I was in college, before there was your dad and you, there was just me.  Just me, living in a freshman, all girl dorm taking for granted the small luxuries I lived each day.  If I was even remotely tired, I could crawl into my loft and nap.  I’m not talking like a cat nap either, I mean like the fall so hard, you wake up sweaty four hours later type of sleep.  With no need to set an alarm and no need for perky ears to listen for the small whimpers, I could nap like a champion.  (I pray you learn this skill children, because if you have Jesus, coffee, and napping ability in life, boy, is it a good one.)  I could also eat.  McDonald’s run at 3:30AM, sure.  A grilled cheese for every supper in the caf, I could work it off later.  A hot pocket was a must after every late night practice (Actually, I blame that one for my freshman 15).  Eating without a human pointing at me and grunting (cue cutting, feeding, watching, and cold food), Every. Single. Time.  The thing I mourn the most is the community.  I could literally walk two steps and find someone to have a heart-to-heart with, to vent to, to borrow clothes from, to stand awkwardly in the doorway of just because I wanted to have someone present with me.  That.  That is what I yearn for the most.  I wasn’t just doing life with someone supporting me, I was actually doing life with them, near them.  Fun fact, I currently am going on six months trying to hang out with a friend.  Every other week or so we schedule a coffee date and every single time one of us has to postpone.  The intentionality it takes to be a mom and a friend is one I am so not good at.  It’s hard.  And, it makes me miss the life I used to live.

Marriage, marriage is the next season.  If you can’t tell from my last letter, your dad and I made life fun together.  Always.  Don’t get me wrong, I hope once you’re old enough, our smittenness (not a word) is still obvious enough that you are grossed out.  We are doing okay right now, I have peed my pants three times this week laughing with him (yay for happiness… and Firefly chilling on my bladder).  Anyway, I was told once that the two hardest years of marriage are the first and the first one after having a child.  Well, they were wrong about the first year when it came to your dad and I (I would be lying if I said they were wrong about the other half – sorry little Loves.).  Our marriage was bliss.  We could binge watch anything we wanted, eat popcorn, and giggle all night.  We would talk, and talk, and talk with no fear of the future and no weight of adulthood.  We had some crazy epic walking adventures. One thing we would do was walk around the historic areas and try to guess the type of families that lived inside the adorable eclectic homes.  They always had happy stories.  “I bet in that house lives a man and a woman and a cat named Mittens and they enjoy solving mystery novels together and doing puzzles.”  “In this house lives a couple and their three boys who all are in show choir and hockey.  For fun they roast marshmallows in their backyard.”  Then, living in a small town later on, we would literally walk the entire town, right down the middle of the road.  Can you imagine walking for a couple hours, not having to worry about sunscreen or heat exhaustion or rumbling tummies?  Woah.  I don’t mean to make you sad for us or guilty, but I miss that marriage.  The one where we could invest in each other and take our time to do it.

And then came Wildflower.  Everything changed.  Life became stressful, strained, and scary.  Also, it became brighter, more joyful, and just right.  In the moment you were born, we lost our freedom and gained an incredible amount more.  You became our focus and with that changes every other facet of life.  Every milestone unlocked a new level of pride (they still do).  Every smile, from the fart ones in the beginning to the belly laughs melted us.  We would always question if we were doing the right thing and then you would hug, cuddle, or even just look at us and we knew if nothing else, that moment was a right thing.  All this goodness, and yet, I’m already mourning it.  I know I am going to look back on this time when it was just me, your dad, our naughty boys, and Wildflower and wonder, “How nice it was to only have one nap time to worry about.” Or “Remember when we could take turns being productive.”  I’m daunted by the thought of moving past this season because my heart doesn’t feel like it can accept any more.  I now understand why people decide their family is complete after one child (no offense Firefly), because you can’t help but mourn being a parent to your first, the only one who will know what it is like to have all your attention.

So comes the next transition, having our Firefly.  We have two short months until you join us little man.  I couldn’t be more thrilled to meet you, but my heart does sting when I think about you.  I know you will change everything.  I cannot even predict yet what those changes will be, but as with every new transition, they are going to feel like too much at first and I don’t feel prepared for it.  I know in my heart a new normal will arise and life will make sense again eventually.  Until then though, it’s like I sit in the present and mourn it because I’m scared of its impending loss.

All this to say (and excuse the cheese), I would choose all the hard, all the sacrifice, all the stinging, a hundred times over again to be right here as your mom.  I want the new naps that include hair pulling and rarely a glimpse at deep sleep.  I will take every food interruption.  I will trudge through the difficulty in community because I know right now, you are my biggest investment.  I will love your dad in the between moments, 15 minute walks because that’s all that you can handle, and waiting for us time when you finally fall asleep (us time now meaning financial planning and how we will get through tomorrow).  When it comes to being your mom, it always wins over the past seasons. Sometimes I wish I could go back and just stop to soak it all in, knowing the weight of that moment, never taking one for granted.   I miss the chapters as they disappear, definitely, but they all brought me to this moment, to you.  They all formed my heart to be your mom in the blissful moments and the hard ones.  The mourning is real, but more so is the celebration.