Oh yeah. And my house is a pit. A PIT, I TELL YOU.
So, while everyone else in the house is busy doing whatever I can find to occupy them which requires the least amount of effort from me, I think. I consider the mundane little things that I really don't care all that much about...because if I did I would have taken care of them by now and I wouldn't have to take care of them anymore...such as taking care of this blog and making it look somewhat presentable. Or, you know, CLEANING MY HOUSE. But there are other little bugs that have landed in my ears that I can't seem to get rid of. Items of note that happened to enter my brain at rather appropriate times that make me think, "Hey. Maybe I'm not so awful of a person for thinking about this...."
Recently, Shelby asked a question on Twitter that really got me thinking. She said something to the effect of "Trying to make lemons out of lemonade. Parents: what do you miss about your kid-free days that I should be ENJOYING right now."
That question couldn't have come at a more appropriate time. This summer has been a season of challenges for us in a variety of ways, particularly in terms of my learning how to take care of two needy children, a husband who is ill, and my own nauseous self all while growing a little person inside my belly. There were several weeks during which both boys wanted Mommy And Only Mommy, Jake wouldn't fall asleep unless he was bounced up and down ENDLESSLY (which, actually, worked out okay considering I had stopped Shredding once I found out I was pregnant. That kid is tougher than Jillian on her best day.) These were the times when, in the midst of it all and despite the fact that I know I love my kids and my husband and would NEVER trade them in for ANYTHING, I fell quite easily into the trap of lamenting the ease of my pre-children life.
And I felt so guilty for it.
The instant one of those thoughts crept into my head, I would BANISH it. I would lecture myself, "There are so many people who don't have NEARLY as many blessings as you. Grow up and be grateful." I would offer up my "sufferings" for those moms I knew who no longer had the blessing of gazing upon their sleeping child...for those mothers (and I know more of them than I wish I had to admit) whose sons had been taken from them, not as young children, but still far too early in life. Those women who would probably give their last breath for the ability to stay up all night with their crying baby. To bounce up and down in the hallway, stepping on stray legos in their bare feet, all in the Fat Chance Effort of getting that child to at least stop crying, let alone fall asleep.
These thoughts were helping me to keep everything in perspective. Somewhere in me, I realized that it's okay to "feel your feelings," and acceptable to get frustrated in the moment...who doesn't? And while I recognized that to be true, I suppose my bigger fear was that I would just turn into a constant whiner and complainer who was incapable of keeping ANYTHING in perspective.
Hard on yourself much?
So when Shelby asked that question, I really gave it some thought. I shared a couple of items with her, mostly in jest, of the things that I miss. The more I thought about it, there are a WIDE RANGE of life changes that occur once you introduce these little people into your life, funny and serious. Among them:
-- Being able to use both hands at the same time.
-- Actually being ALONE in the bathroom.
-- Not having someone SIT ON YOUR LAP while in the bathroom.
-- Using the facilities with the lights on.
-- Cooking dinner without constantly ensuring that someone doesn't fall off the counter.
-- Not worrying.
-- Running out for five minutes and it really only taking five minutes.
-- Hopping into the car, turning the key, and being on the road.
-- Looking in the rear view mirror to make sure you remembered to put the baby in the car.
-- Looking into the rear view mirror to make sure every one's alive.
-- Using a purse that's not filled with dripping juice cups and hotwheels.
-- Not feeling guilty over how you divide up your time between your kids.
-- Not feeling guilty over how you divide up your time between your extended family.
-- Talking to my husband.
-- Sleeping in.
-- Watching whatever I wanted on TV.
-- Taking NyQuil when sick and sleeping through an entire cold.
-- Showering every day.
-- Having a (relatively) clean house.
-- Doing 15-minute chores in under 45 minutes.
-- Going for coffee with friends WHENEVER I wanted.
-- Sleeping through the night without checking to make sure every one's breathing.
There's more, I suppose, but you get the point. Looking at this list, especially those things that just make parenthood FUNNY, I can see what is really lurking just behind: The things I DON'T MISS about my child-free days. Those are the things that usually prohibit me from saying the above out loud. The unfulfilled desires, the much longed-for dreams, the anxiety of "what if it will never happen," the negative pregnancy tests, the tears, the well-meaning yet always falling short sympathies of friends and family members, the empty arms, the feeling of a heart that's just lying in wait for the love of a child.
And I only had to wait for five months after we got married before I was pregnant with Christopher. Five months of, what I thought was, AGONY. When, really, I had no idea.
My words always fall short. I know there is nothing that I can say to ease the painfulness of the wait for my friends and family members who are in this Limbo. I know that, despite the fact that I've felt the feelings of anger, despair, anxiety, sadness.... feelings which I have known throughout my life and can empathize with to a certain extent, I cannot share the application of them in this situation, in these lives. What I can offer are my listening ears and, more importantly, my earnest prayers for these people who I love so dearly. And I trust that these prayers are heard, and answered, by a God who can see the suffering in the context of the Whole Plan rather than just the anxiety of the moment. A God who will see to it that these families are complete, in his own way. In his own time.