Friday, May 13, 2011

Growing up

It's been a while since I'd had a good cry. I used to cry every-other day, at least. I don't remember what I would cry about. Probably nothing very important. I'm just a very emotional person. So the fact that I haven't cried in months, probably meant my emotions had been held captive for too long.

I had just laid my daughter down for bed. She was wound up and trying hard to avoid bed time, so she cried for a few minutes before falling asleep. Even though it can take from just a few seconds, to five minutes, every moment feels like forever. You'd think I'd be used to it by now, but most of the time she goes down without a hitch, so nights like these where she doesn't are torture (for me).

I had come home from work that evening to pick her up and go back out to the store. It would have been much easier to just stop by the store on the way home, but I never pass up an opportunity to bring her with me. We went to a couple fabric stores, then came home for a photo shoot. I kept her up past her bed time playing, making her laugh, and chasing her around the living room.

Her laughter is the best sound in the world. Her cries are the worst.

I lied in bed and reflected on on fun evening. There were a few times I helped her stand up and she could balance on her own for a couple of seconds before falling into my arms. Selfishly I don't help her do this very often because I'm not ready for her to walk. Because walking means "toddler" and I don't want to loose my baby. Time has flown by so fast and just thinking about it brings me to tears. And this is when the water works started.

"I'm so torn," I told my husband through my tears. "Sometimes I want to keep working and make a lot of money so we can have nice things. But then other times I feel like I've missed our whole daughter's life because I've been working."

Just earlier that day I had told my husband about my friend's new camera, how awesome it is, and how someday I'd like one. Along with an iMac, and other goodies. Of course the longer we save the better, and the longer we both work full-time, the more we'll be able to save. But at the same time, this past year has flown by so extremely fast, and I feel like I've missed it.

"You haven't missed anything," he told me, trying to cheer me up. "At least two hours a day while you're gone she's sleeping. So that's 10 hours a week. Then we take a walk for a half an hour a day, and she eats for awhile, and we watch sports for two hours, so you're not missing much." He said.

"But we could be going out and doing fun things," I started sobbing. "And she's big now, and she used to be small, and maybe it wouldn't seem like she's grown so fast had I been home." My reasoning may sound silly, but it made sense to me.

"No," he told me. "I've been home with her every day and time has still gone by really fast to me. Plus she's cooler now that she's bigger."

"But I like having a baby I want her to stay a baby."

"Well she won't. She has to grow up. People grow up. Where is this coming from?"

"I like having a baby, we should just have another one every time they turn into toddlers, and keep having babies until I'm sick of them."

"So we'll have one more."

"No, like 10 more."

As usual, he got me to laugh and almost forget why I was crying, but writing this post still makes me emotional. I know as every stage ends there's a bit of sadness. But then a new one begins, and from what I hear it gets better.

Does time just go fast for me because I'm working and away from her 9 hours a day, or does it go by this fast for everyone?

I'm trying to think when the most influential time to be home with your children is. When they're older, in school, and need help with homework? I can visit for field trips, parties, and what not. But that school-age is when more moms seem to try to return to work. Plus, my career isn't exactly one you can leave and re-join as you please. And I love what I'm doing.

My life is so much more worthwhile now that my daughter is here. I'm so much happier, despite less sleep, less time to myself, and less energy. If I waited a few more years I could have been a full-time mom from the start. Now I'm missing at least nine precious hours at least five days a week. And once you start it's like a domino effect. If you want kids close in age you're thinking about another after a year or so, and I can attest that that is no time at all. Then, once you have another you're faced with the same challenges as the first times two. Then 18-20 years later they're adults and you have college and missions and weddings to worry about.

Moms with kids older than one--Tell me there's still much fun to be had, that toddlers are fun. That the terrible twos, threes and fours are worth it. That I don't need to have 10 more babies to fulfill my baby fix. That kids aren't like puppies and that they are still cute when the grow up. Please, tell me I haven't missed much yet, that there are still good times ahead.--That the fun is just beginning.

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