I haven't written anything on my blog for almost 6 months. I know this because my last post was in celebration of my baby girl's first birthday party. And then, it was suddenly summer, and, as summers always seem to do, it flew by in a whir of green and heat and sticky, sweet smelling nights sprinkled with the songs of crickets, frogs and cicadas. We played in water at every chance, in pools, oceans, lakes and puddles. I became engrossed in my garden and soaking up all the beautiful weather we could. And just as quickly as it appeared, summer has gone, tucked in for another year while fall here makes her grand appearance. And grand it has been, the leaves where we live become so vibrant, that despite seeing this particular phenomenon for the past thirty one years, I still stare and gawk and drink it in every year as if I had never seen it before. The beginning of every season brings on the romance, the thoughts and fantasy of what is soon to come.
My sister recently, intelligently, introduced me to her idea of romance. While she is experiencing her first bouts of baby fever as she watches her friends bellies swell, she has a concrete understanding that she is in love with the romance of motherhood, but the reality is something she is not currently prepared for. The irony being, that if you understand this, you actually are more prepared than most parents.
Another mother blogger (ok, I like that, I really like that, mother blogger, mother bl#@%gger) recently wrote a post about firsts. How we look forward to all these firsts, cherish them, remember them, document them with photos and locks of hair taped to albums or tucked in silver boxes...but never the lasts.
Over the summer, we had so many firsts and lasts. J's last nursing session, where she solidified her decision to cease nursing by vomiting all over me the last time I offered. She took her first steps, first big fall, first, and second, asthma attack. She said "I love you" and "mama" and she has little conversations with her sister. My big girl potty trained, started preschool, and is suddenly drawing letters and spelling her name. I didn't even have time for the romance, the reality came too soon.
I was taken aback at first, by my sisters revelation of romance. She seemed to understand what most of us don't, pre-children. The fantasy is better than the reality, a lot of the time. Yes there are sweet moments of a baby sleeping in your lap, it's beautiful to see, but to the owner of that lap, there is little time to enjoy that moment. We try, we really do. To force ourselves to stay in this moment, memorize their faces, smell, the crease of their eyelids...I often took pictures of these moments to help me remember. Understanding how difficult it is to enjoy that sleeping sweetness when you haven't slept a night in months, have only been eating junk foods, feel the weight of all the house chores and daily tasks that need to be done, and all you want to do is end that moment, remove the sleeping child from your lap without waking her so you can have your thighs and arms and hands to yourself for just a few minutes...there is no romance here.
But here is the fun part again. Romance doesn't die with reality, I have discovered. It only hibernates. It returns with more vigor after the moment, later that night, the next day, month, for years, for life. Every night at about 7:30 my husband and I want nothing more than for our children to be asleep so we can enjoy our time to ourselves. We have plans to watch non-Pixar movies with good swear words, drink beer, eat foods we don't wish to share. To play on our computers without little hands slamming down on keys and somehow unlocking cell phones. We fantasize about that bedtime with stars in our eyes. We cant wait to enjoy our time.
And then we do....by retelling each other cute stories of what our amazing kids did or said that day, and each time we tell it, it gets funnier and sweeter and every part of me swells with pride and amazement and happiness. And to fit the true definition of romance, if it isn't happening to you, it is vomit inducing. But if it is, the feeling is unbelievable.