Even before I learned I was pregnant, I used to have this daydream. Me and my girl at the park. Her running off and playing. Sliding, swinging, giggling with friends. Me watching from a nearby bench, gently swaying to calm her baby sibling. Happy. Both of my children exactly where they should be. Nearby and doing their thing.
Of course the sun was also shining warmly from a deep blue sky. Birds were singing, leaves gently swaying in the breeze. Every child in the playground was happy, smiling, laughing.
It all felt very idyllic. Very perfect. Very much the memories I wanted with my children.
On Saturday I lived this dream. Standing at the edge of the park while my girl ran and played, swang and slid, giggled with a friend. One might argue that the reality was even better. My mom and neighbor keeping a closer eye on her than I could, helping her on and off the swing, fueling her imaginative play.
The support of friends and family… it cannot be underestimated.
And yet, that perfect, idyllic feeling was missing.
The sun wasn’t even shining.
And, sitting on a park bench, I struggled to hold back tears.
Feeding a baby who had insisted on eating all day long, I felt uncomfortable and stuck. And tired. Watching my girl play, while I was nothing more than an observer for the first time in her three years, I mourned our old life. Looking at so many long months before her brother could join us both out there in the sandbox, I felt as if park-time fun was gone forever.
For a bit, I tried. I’d finish feeding and place what I thought was a sleepy baby into the car seat for the journey to closer-to-them. But then he’d fuss again and I’d be back on my secluded bench, trying to nurse inconspicuously.
I hate nursing in public.
So I left. Why keep torturing him and me? She happily stayed with her grandmother and our neighbors and I walked home. Still fighting back tears. Feeling awful and desperate. And, of course, not more than 2 minutes into our walk, baby boy fell asleep.
These moments come in flashes. Moments when I watch my girl living without me. Playing like we used to play but with someone else. She is happy and well adjusted and confident. She knows that she can run and play. That I have to feed her brother now but she’ll get me later. So far, she doesn’t seem to mourn our old life like I do. In those moments, I’d give anything to go back to the way things used to be. Me and her. So simple and perfect.
But she is so wise. On Saturday, she did get me later. M took the sleeping baby while I took a drive to clear my head and fill my belly with salted caramel and mocha and decaf espresso. I savored every minute of my first drive without a child in 3 weeks.I strolled into Starbucks with just my wallet and my phone, feeling lighter without my massive diaper bag. And when I got home, my girl and I stood side-by-side in the kitchen and made banana bread. Me adding ingredients, her stirring, both of us making and creating. Relaxing and chatting. Baby boy sleeping. Candles flickering.
It was perfect. Idyllic. Very much the memories I want.
linking up with Shell. Pour your heart out.