Three years ago, Mark and I were living in our little garden apartment in DC. I was working full-time, getting ready for the arrival of a tiny human - a tiny human that I knew in my heart was a boy, but had yet to be confirmed. We didn't know anything about babies. We thought our birth class and the books we read would prepare us, but what can prepare you for that truly unique experience of having a child created by two different people?
Yesterday, I was talking with some friends who both have babies aged 10-12 months and I told them how that was my favorite stage of babies.
They're getting funny and independent, but they still need you around and still like a good cuddle.
Both of my friends gave me this look like, ok whatever you say.
Later, I came to the funny realization that last time, with Henry, I was working full-time and our nanny took care of Henry all day, Monday through Friday. She changed the majority of dirty diapers. She fed and cleaned up the messy baby face and hands and arms. I was the one hooked up to the pump a few times a day, getting the milk for Hen - one of the contributions that helped me feel like I was doing the best job I could do take care of my baby, even though I didn't spend most days with him. Some days were hard, but most struck a balance in me that I liked. I liked the part time working, part time mothering Julie. She was a little scatterbrained, but she got things done and did a pretty good job with it all.
Fast forward to three years later where I never thought I'd be. I'm a full-time mom living overseas, getting ready to have our second child and spending my days playing trains and cars with my nearly 3 year old toddler, researching preschools, double strollers, lego sets, and waiting every day until dinner time to see my hardworking husband. The leaves are turning orange, yellow, red, and brown, and falling from the trees as my belly swells and we get closer to meeting this baby - just like last time around. We still have the leaves we collected from our walk around Lincoln Park in DC three years ago when we were just playing the waiting game with Henry. And now, I take those walks around the wide sidewalks and parks with Henry helping me find the best leaves to bring home. In a couple of days or couple of weeks, we'll welcome another baby into our family, and guess who will be changing all the diapers and wiping all the messy faces and soothing all the cries? I can't believe the irony that my favorite stage of baby was the stage I missed out on the most. And while I never imagined I'd be a stay at home mother with two little babes, I really can't wait for this whole thing. I know it will be hard. I know I will have days where I cry and wish we were closer to family. I know we will have days where Henry watches a lot of movies while I try and soothe/sleep/feed/love this new little one, and I will have to manage the guilt of not doing enough or being enough for anyone. But we'll be together. And that will be enough for me. xx