Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Up in the air..

I stumbled upon an article today {here} that seemed to have been written by me. Aside from the whole Puerto Rican bit, and the mentioning divorce, I could have written that myself.

Everything else was spot on.
If you know me, you know I want another child. If you've known me for a long time, you've known that fact about me for a long time and you've known that it has not faltered over the years. Ever since I was old enough to name and play with my baby dolls, I wanted at least 3 children. In my fantasy, they were a set of boy and girl twins and one other boy..maybe even another girl, too. But of course, your fantasies rarely come true and you often find that your reality is even better.

I've got two amazing, wonderful, handsome, intelligent, healthy boys. And I thank God for them. And I cherish them. And I realize how much of a blessing they are. I try with all my might not to take them for granted. I want them to know they are precious to me, they are irreplaceable to me, they complete me.

But, I still want another. I'm often caught off guard by how many people believe that my wanting another equates my not appreciating the ones I have. I do appreciate them. I appreciate everything about them--that is one reason I so long to have more.
If I would have had children and realized it wasn't all it was cracked up to be--maybe I saw that my lifelong dream was silly and it left me feeling regretful--I wouldn't have wanted to continue building a family. But it was quite the opposite. Although I realized raising children was much harder than I could have ever expected and much more demanding than I could have ever prepared for, I also realized it was much more rewarding and sweet than I could have ever dreamed.

My boys are the most important things in my life. I have other loves and I enjoy other things. I never want to say that my life has no meaning outside of my children, because that indicates that without children life can have no meaning. And that is not true. But what is true is that when these tiny humans invade your world, they become the most meaningful thing in it.
And I want more of that.

I love my children with my entire heart, and if I never had another, I would continue to believe I've been blessed beyond measure. But there is a part inside of me that longs for, aches for, another baby.
Each time my oldest enters into a new phase of life (he'll be starting Kindergarten this fall..say it isn't so!), I feel a bitter-sweetness that is indescribable. Here he is, growing before me, and try as I might I cannot slow time down. He's reached the age where the moments of his life that were spent toddling and learning basic human functions are outnumbered by the times that were spent running, climbing, and carrying on intelligent conversations. His baby days are long gone.
And then, you have the times when my youngest meets certain milestones. And in addition to a feeling of bitter-sweetness, I feel a sense of shear panic rise inside of me. "Is this it?" I ask myself.

Not too long ago, we moved our littlest man into bunk beds with his brother. The crib was taken down and stored in the garage, until I could bring myself to sell it (which btw, hasn't happened yet). Shortly thereafter, I was going through the boys' closet and moving summer clothes into their dresser when my mom stopped me and said "And what about this drawer full of crib sheets? You don't have any use for them anymore."
Tears. Tears welling up in my eyes as I thought about the fact that those old, worn-out, sometimes discolored crib sheets were no longer needed.
At this age with Xander, we already knew we were expecting another baby. I kept every article of clothing, every sheet, every blanket, every bottle.
Now, there's a very good chance that those things will not be used again in this household. And it tears me completely apart.

I've been trying to convince my husband to have another child since Archer was born. "Just one more..down the road.." I'd say. But he's held firm to his decision to be finished at two. And there seems to be no budging in sight.
This last summer, knowing we had a big move ahead of us, I finally gave in and sold the baby items we'd been storing in the garage. It was a little bit freeing to say goodbye to that swing--the one bought for us by dear friends, used for both of the boys. The one that they both spent acid-refluxy nights sleeping in. The one that cast stars on our bedroom wall at 3am. The one that eventually needed to be pushed to get it to start up, after years of use. It was freeing simply because it was a placeholder for another baby that may or may never come. And every time I looked at it, I wondered.
We let go of the bouncer, the high chair, and about 10 totes of baby clothes. I stuffed all my just can't part with stuff into one tote and that tote made the trip with us. It's now sitting in the garage, calling me to go look through it with tears in my eyes but I just can't.

The problem with freeing myself from those place holders is that I have two little reminders of my adoration for motherhood right here with me, every day. Like I said, every new milestone that is met, every cute little "I love Mommy" shirt that is grown out of, these things beg the question for me: is this it?

Contrary to what this blog may make you think, I don't really want another baby right now. I just want one someday. Maybe in a year or two, or even three. I just want the promise that we'll try again. I just want the comfort that these toddler days are not my last.
As my boys grow, they will do amazing things. And I vow to enjoy every single stage of their lives. I know that even when they are 14 and 16, my heart is going to ache a little bit that next year, I'll never have a 14 year old again. Even if I have four more kids, I know that those days will come.
I am just not ready for them yet.
I am not ready to give up or give in. I am not ready to throw in the towel. I am not ready to say "this is it."

My husband is by no means a bad guy. He wants the best for this family and he has his own vision of what that is. He is an amazing father. He loves our boys, he plays with them on their level, he dreams of their bright futures. And I respect him, as much as I want his mind to change. I realize that he has his reasons for being done, and I realize that as much as I want him to "come over to my side", he is wishing the same of me.
It breaks my heart that we're in this limbo. Of course, I want us to be on the same page. But I'm not ready to concede and neither is he. So we continue to go back and forth, we continue to talk, we continue to wait for the other.

No one knows when the wait will end. People say when you're done you "just know". Our problem is that he knows and I don't. And like the woman stated in the article above, it is a bad situation because there has to be a "yes" or "no" answer. Someone is the winner and someone is the loser. And who that is is yet to be determined.

The thought of having another child overwhelms him. It makes him anxious. It worries him. It causes him strife.
The thought of not having another evokes the same things within me.

I cannot stand the thought of me having had my last trip to labor and delivery 2.5 years ago. I cannot stand the thought of the newborn smell having drifted away from my nostrils, never to return again. I cannot stand the thought of not having the ability to nourish another life with my own body ever again. I want another baby, but I also want another child. I want the toddles again. I want the first day of school again. I want more field trips, more first dates, more weddings, more grandkids. I want it all.

When do I decide that these wants are irrelevant? When do I decide to let them go, to give them up, and to move on?
I don't know. All I know is that it isn't now. I'm not ready yet. It remains up in the air.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I miss you.

This morning I heard a radio segment about a girl who called in saying how she felt overwhelmed and upset. She had moved away from home, and when she moved back she felt like all her friends had moved on and she didn't have the connections with them that she longed for. The radio hosts were quite mean, and basically told her to grow up. "You should be so busy going to college and taking care of your own business that you don't even have time for those friendships, anyway.", they told her. "You're sadly mistaken if you think that the friends you have at 20 will be the same friends you have at 30, so it doesn't matter anyway."

I thought to myself, maybe I'm just odd. Maybe I'm the exception. I had a discussion in one of my social networking groups recently that brought this to my attention, as well. The question was "Is your husband your best friend?" Most people answered yes. Now, I love my husband a great deal, obviously. And we have a great time together. But my husband holds a different position than friend. Husbands and wives have a different relationship than friends have, in my opinion. And while I can do the things with him I do with my friends, I still need my friends in my life. They fulfill a part of me that others don't. Just as my family fulfills a part, my husband fulfills a part, my sons fulfill a part, etc.
I realized in talking to most of the people who said that yes, their husband was their best friend and that honestly, they talk to other friends but they don't feel they need them, that I was the odd-ball. I'm 26 years old and my closest friends are ones that I've had since I was very young. One of which, I've had since I was 5 years old. And most of the others came along during middle school. I feel like I do need them. Of course, I've met other friends in adulthood and some of them have become very dear to me, as well, especially my brothers and sisters in Christ who have shown me such true love and important lessons. And I do need these people. I need them because they remind me of who I really am.

I love being a mother. I love being a wife. But those titles come with expectations. There is much pressure to do and to achieve. The relationships rely on certain expectations being met. I can't say to my kids "I need to just do me for a minute." That's not possible, not acceptable. If I have a rough day, it's hard to tell my husband "I just really wanted to sit here and just veg out today.." because that means that the functioning of our household got put on hold--things weren't cleaned, dinner wasn't planned, more work was made for him.
I have a certain expectation to remain strong in my household. I have an important position and everyone relies on me in some way. I understand how much of a blessing that is, but it also comes with a price. I love to serve my kids and my husband, but I can often get caught up in that and forget about the things that are just "Robin things".

I rely on my friendships to remind me.
If I want to turn on Erykah Badu and dance around for hours, my friends get that. They'll do that. They won't ask questions or be waiting for something else to happen.
If I want to watch Ax Men for 2 hours..not because it's a good show..but because it's just so easy to laugh friends are fine with that. We do that. And they don't get upset that we talk the whole way through it. That's part of the fun.
If I want to drive around, and yell at people that are out in their yards..even if all I yell is the exact thing they are already doing (Yeah, you mow that grass! Walk that dog!), and it brings me an illogical amount of joy lol, my friends do that. They yell things like "Geneva Convention!" and "You're fake bald!" and we laugh at the looks we get until our sides hurt.
No one expects anything from me but to just simply be me. I don't have to look a certain way, I don't have to be making plans or fixing things or explaining myself.
I'm just Robin. And Robin is all that's needed in that moment. It's refreshing.

I often think about how I miss the days before my life became such a blur. I'm not at all saying I take these things for granted--my husband, his military career, our children..they are all blessings to me and I couldn't imagine my life without them. But that doesn't mean I don't miss the way things once were..when I actually saw my friends more than once a year. Or when I made it to my family functions and celebrated everyone's birthdays. When I had the time to do the things that brought me pleasure--like singing, and writing, and scrapbooking, and watching late night talkshows.
I try to make time for those things in my life now, but it's next to impossible. I want to write, but I don't have the time. Between the boys and school work and house work, it's just not there. Pumping out a quick blog like this is about all I can count on. I don't have the time or the focus to organize my thoughts for much of anything else. I want to sing, and I make time for it when I'm cleaning around the house..but there are always distractions. There is always a chaotic backdrop to my voice. There is no silent intimacy in which I can communicate my deepest fears, deepest which I can connect my heart strings with God's. I want to laugh with my family and friends, to goof-off, to let my guard down and just "be". But they are all hundreds of miles their own lives..being everything for everyone around them, just as I am doing here.

Maybe I do need to grow up. Maybe this attachment of myself to other people is unhealthy or unnatural. I expect them to hold onto a piece of me that I often leave behind, so that when we are together, they can give that piece back to me, little by little. And perhaps, I'm asking too much.
But, that's just the way I am. I thought maybe I'd get used to the way things are now. I thought maybe I'd "grow up" and "move on" and I'd find that I didn't need those pieces to be held onto or replaced anymore because I'd discover how to nourish them and protect them alone. But that hasn't happened yet and I don't foresee it happening any time soon.
Here in this life I'm living--full of love, full of happiness, full of blessings and rewards, full of laughs with my husband, kisses from my children, pride in my educational accomplishments, experiences that I never thought I'd get the chance to experience...
There is still a heavy emptiness that hangs around me. There is still an image of my closest friends, and a piece of my true self with them, somewhere off in the distance. I reach out and I try to grab a hold, and even if only my fingertips rest there, I will not let go.

I miss you, friends. I miss the well-rounded feeling that you provide me. I miss the belly-laughs, I miss the shoulders to cry on, I miss the complete acceptance that I feel around you. I miss myself..the carefree person that you allow me to be.