Saturday, January 1, 2011

Reflections on Absence

I've always liked the old adage that "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."  It was true with me and Kyle when I hopped a plane to the Krygyz Republic just after we started dating.  I feared that the fervor of young love would fade but evidently, it did not.  He proposed three months after I got back.  I said, "Yes yes yes yes."

So, in celebration of our 7th anniversary, we went away without our four children... for four days and three nights.  Our oldest is 4 1/2.  It's the first time since his arrival that we have been alone for more than 24 hours.  While it's nice to have a day here and there, nothing really refreshes the mind and the body quite like not having to do laundry or change a diaper.  Heck, I didn't even cook or do dishes... my amazing husband did that too.

When we first started planning this time away, I thought to myself, "Finally, I'll get to breathe."  But as the time drew nearer, I realized that it might be the bittersweet end of an era. 

Five years and three months ago, I found out that I was pregnant with Seth.  And today, I only nursed Joel once.  That means that this is the first time in 5.25 years that I have not been pregnant or breastfeeding or both.  And yes, I'm sure I'm not pregnant.  Just trust me. 

I had a fresh realization about how much I really love my role as Mommy to Seth, Korynne, Jenna, and Joel.  I really really love it.  I felt genuinely lost without them or doing something on their behalf.  I know some women lament that they don't remember who they were before children.  But I do.  I remember: I was selfish.  I didn't give or receive hugs all day.  I had too much time on my hands.  I didn't think about the long term ramifications of our government's decisions.  I didn't get skittish around water.  I didn't go on high alert in parking lots.   And I didn't need coffee within 30 seconds of waking up.

Today, I told Seth that he would be going back to school on Monday.  Since it's only Saturday, he got a little prematurely excited.  I got a little sad.  I'm going to miss seeing him all day every day.

Tonight, we gave the kids a bath.  Korynne likes to be wrapped in her towel and carried like a baby.  I'm not sure why.  But I do it gladly after every bath because someday she'll be too big to carry and I won't be helping her rinse her hair.

This morning, Jenna acquired 8 new words.  I can't remember what all they are, but she's catching up with her siblings' vocabulary FAST.  She's not a baby anymore.

Right now, Joel is trying to pull up on everything, eating peas with the best of them, and getting too big for his infant carrier.  Where did the time go?

Needless to say, I'm not looking for a career change anytime soon even though my coffee consumption (and thickness) has increased exponentially with each child.  The way I figure, they're only in my care for less than 20 years.  If I live to be 80, that's only 1/4 of my life.  I can't think of a better way to spend my life.

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