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I did it again….

23 Jul

I found this old blog in my draft pile from NOVEMBER 2013.  I don’t know why I didn’t publish it.  Maybe it was hitting too close to home.  I am glad I saved it.  I remember this day well…


Well I did it again.  Another blog post.  Well, yes, but that’s not what I’m referring to.   Today, while sleepily walking through the soda aisle at Safeway, trying to find Ginger Ale in a can for my daughter, who threw up at 4:30 am, I found myself silently wishing I could trade places with someone that did not have children.

There.  I said it.  I’m awful.  I know.

I have been down this road a few times this year.  First, for some God awful reason, my children keep getting stomach bugs.  Why not colds? Seriously, why not.  No, its always the stomach bug, and I think, if I am counting properly, this is our third time around since January.  Sick kids always suck, but the stomach bug is the ninja of all bugs, and inevitably it goes from one kid to the other and then to me and/or Bob.  So, if we are keeping track: second worst thing ever is a sick kid, worst thing ever is a sick kid plus a sick parent. Oh and worst, worst thing infinity is sick parents and two sick kids.  Been there.

Then, as many of you know, I weathered more difficulties with Post Partum Depression this winter after having Gus.

“Oh the second one is soooo much easier!” they said.

“Your recovery will be so quick!” they said.

“You will wonder why you thought it was so hard the first time!”

“Breastfeeding will be a breeze this time around,” I heard.  Umm, no. Actually everything was fucking hard as shit, much harder than it was when I had Bea and further complicated by the fact that I now had a two year old and then got it in my head that it would be a much better experience with the second.  I should have known better. **Disclaimer: Every kid is different, if you are pregnant with or thinking of having #2, he/ she may very well be easier than your first.  Just wasn’t the case for me.

So, back to Safeway.  I had been up since 4:30 (or 5:30 or whatever you want to call it since the clocks “fell” back), I was exhausted, downtrodden, hungry and I had a headache.  I was getting Ginger Ale, popsicles and a few other things.  And then…they walked by.

That couple.  You know them.  They were about 26 or 27. They were in their workout clothes. Probably just came from the gym.  She was wearing tight yoga pants, long hair in a pony tail, hot pink Nikes and weighed about 110 pounds.  He was wearing shorts, a t-shirt, sneakers and clearly hadn’t shaved.  That familiar feeling waved over me as they passed me by (with their little basket–pffft).  Somewhere between envy and indignation that voice in my head said, “Man, you guys don’t know how good you have it.”

And let me tell you, that feeling–that feeling RIGHT there–is the kind of feeling that every mom has had at one point or another.  I don’t care who you are.  Sometimes we feel it with a side of wistful remembrance. Sometimes with a little jealousy. And sometimes with desperation–as in, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE build me a time machine so I can be you again for just one day!  That feeling of being trapped; of wanting to break away but not being able to.  Not that I wanted to go anywhere, but the principle of the fact that I was stuck in the house with these people, waiting for my insides to twist as it became my turn for the black death…. well, that feeling could easily have turned into resentfulness.  It’s a defeatist, useless way to think, but sometimes you have a bad day and your mind wanders over to that place.  Women with PPD or depression tend to do that to themselves. It’s called catastrophic thinking.

Anyway, as I kept walking in the grocery store, I made a conscious effort to stop myself from going down that road.  I asked myself, What is this girl going to do for the rest of the day, and how great is it, REALLY?

Well, it was Sunday.  So chances are, she and the boy were going to go home, shower and head off to their local watering hole to watch football.  They will meet other single friends there and some couples, too.  They will drink a good amount of beer, eat some wings and probably be home by 9:00.  Maybe they live together, maybe not. Maybe he spends the night, maybe not.

She will wake up tomorrow a little groggy because she had too much Miller Lite and shame herself for ordering the wings AND the burger (must hit gym hard tonight, she thinks). She will go to work and talk to her coworkers about her weekend.  She and the boy exchange a few texts and emails.   Maybe they are talking about what to do for dinner.  If they don’t live together, they are planning their next get together.  Who’s house will they sleep at?  Who’s friends will they hang out with?  If they do live together she might say she’s making something for dinner tonight (fair assumption since they were at the grocery store today).

I should pause the story for a moment and admit that I overheard the girl telling the checkout guy that they had been together three-and-a-half years.  No ring.  So this was obviously a committed relationship.  Ok. Unpause.

She probably has a pretty good job, but is at a point in her career where she is ready for a bigger challenge.  She may go back to school. She may have decided that she is in the wrong line of work.  She might be perfectly happy where she is, but she knows in the next year or two, she needs to go somewhere: Up, over or out.

She is happy, yes.  She is free. She is independent.  She is strong.  But, she is also that same girl that stares at my babies with googly lovey-dovey eyes when she sees them at the grocery store (on that rare occasion I let them out of their cages that I keep in the basement).  She walks by the wedding magazines at the checkout aisle and has to steel herself from staring too long at the cover.  I have to remind myself that I have what SHE wants… not the other way around.

Now, now… before all the single ladies, feminists and DINKS start yelling and posting nasty comments, allow me to explain.   I am not saying that a woman’s entire life is spent in pursuit of a husband and children.  I am not saying that you are not ‘complete’ without these things.  Nor am I saying that a woman isn’t truly happy until she achieves this stage in life.  On the contrary.  I loved my 20s.  But I knew I wanted to find a partner for life and have children one day, and there aren’t many young women that don’t want to have a family, too, eventually.  Note I said FAMILY.  It doesn’t have to mean a husband and/or kids.  It can be one or the other or neither (I have several friends with same-sex partners and dogs that are quite content, thankyouverymuch).  But most all of us want a family of our own in some capacity or another.

True, this young woman really doesn’t know how good she has it: sleeping in, ab muscles that still touch, the ability to go away for the weekend at a moments notice and the luxury of going out to eat whenever and wherever her wallet will allow.  But, she wants to have a family one day.  She has love within her that she knows is meant to go around.  She is tired of wondering if he is “the one.”   She already knows what shape diamond she wants in her engagement ring.  She wants to hear her babies giggle in her ear and smell their heads until they are too big to let her.

I walked out of the grocery store today and reminded myself that I live with no regrets, and have enjoyed and learned from every stage in my life.  I reminded myself that one day I will be called on to help guide my own children through their own life decisions.  And I reminded myself that I would much rather know what I am missing than fear that I somehow missed out.

…and I also reminded myself that my kids will have kids of their own one day and I will laugh at them.



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