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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Livin' the Life

Are we the only ones? Is it this way for millions of people and I just didn't realize it before? Methinks not.

It is 5:30, maybe 6:00, maybe 6:30 if I'm really lucky. She wakes up and one of us goes to get her. For the next hour or two (depending on how early she rises), I feed her and we play with her for about an hour while we both get ready in the morning. Then we are out the door for work, a short 20 minute car ride with my husband, the only alone time we will get all day. I get to my office by about 8 or 8:15.

I work all day. Sadly, trying not to think too much about her or I start to get sad. So I focus on the ball in front of me, but always in the back of my mind, she is there. She is the reason I no longer take breaks to chit chat around the office, or take a long lunch. I am here to do 5 days worth of work in 4 days so that my Friday "work from home" will be all her's. So I jam through my day at breakneck pace.

And it is tiring.

When I look up, it's 5 o'clock. How does it come so fast everyday? Why am I always surprised by it? I don't even have time to marvel at the phenomenon. I have to go. I have to get home to her. I run past the looks of the partners in the office. It occurs to me that I am off the partnership track because of this mothering thing. I suppose I could have it all, but at what cost to her? Partnership isn't worth walking in the door at 8 every night, not worth only getting a half hour with her.

So it is an all out sprint to the train, and then home. Most days, that 20 minute train ride is the only time I have to myself all day. The only time I am not rushing or doing or taking care of something or someone.

I use it to shake off the stress of work. To calm down. By nature, my job consists of fighting with people all day. It's adversarial. I don't want her to pick up on any stress or conflict. She is a laid back, happy baby and I want to keep it that way. Perhaps my career choice doesn't mesh well with being a mother, I think to myself often. "laid back" isn't really an option for me at work.

It's my stop, and I run-walk the two blocks home. I take a breath as I climb up to the porch and reach for the door. On the otherside, she is waiting for me. She will give me a huge grin and reach for me to pick her up...smiling coyly, and nuzzling into my chest. She will want to nurse, not because she is hungry, but because she misses me. Reaching for the door, I know that once inside, I will not get any time alone to decompress. I feel like I want that time now, as I am on this side of the door. But once through the doorway, that need is forgotten.

It is like the heavens opened up and dropped her down just for me. These first few moments with her everyday are my reward. These moments are now where I find meaning in life. We are intimate and quiet and loving with each other. I nurse her and talk or sing softly to her. I feel the exhaustion set in as she quietly relaxes in my arms and eats.

My husband will come home, and she will abandon nursing...she is much too excited to see him, and I can see the heavens opening up again...this time for him. I know he feels the same way about his first moments with her, although he has never said it. He doesn't have to, I can see it in his face. And that look makes me feel so loved, I am sure she can sense it too.

The three of us will hang out together, playing and lounging in our bedroom while we both get undressed and shake off the workday completely. We will both put on pajama pants and turtlenecks...getting comfortable and cozy for the night...and nuzzle into each other. Nuzzle into her.

The next hour is busy work. Dinner, cleanup, feeding her, bathing her, changing her. One of us is holding her all the time. We are soaking her up. Finally, it is time for her to go down for the night. He takes us both up to her room. We soothe her together and do her nighttime routine together. Finally, it is time for her to nurse to sleep. I nurse her and rock her and put her down. Some nights are easy, some involve crying and repeated climbing of the stairs back and forth into her room until she falls asleep.

Now it is 9:30. We have not watched tv, we have not paid any bills. Nothing has been accomplished outside of taking car of her. We need to talk about whether he likes the television console I saw online at Potterybarn, but that discussion is going to be at least 15 minutes long, and I am too tired to stay up. So is he. but he needs to take out the trash, and will meet me upstairs.

When he comes up ten minutes later, I am half asleep already. I find him under the covers and we connect. I can't really sleep well unless he is against me, I can feel his warmth. He knows this and so climbs in right next to me. I roll over and show him the console in the catalogue I have by the bed. He says, "I don't know" and we don't really discuss it in any more detail. This decision, like so much other stuff, will be put off for another time. When? I don't know. It'll get figured out eventually. And we both can't stay awake any longer. Not even to find out the score of the Villanova game.

In a few hours around 2, I will wake to pump so she has enough food for the next day. Around 2:30 or 3, I will be back in bed, and praying she grants me till 6 a.m. before waking...

when it will start all over again.


Blogger Jennifer said...

And it will all be over before you know it! Enjoy :)

11:55 AM  
Blogger KidKate said...

Oh, that was a beautiful post. Your life sounds hectic and HARD. I got all choked up reading about it!

7:42 PM  

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