I’ve been looking at a lot pictures of myself when Connor was 6-months old. If I wasn’t already, shortly after he hit that age I was jogging every day and feeling good and surprisingly well-rested. Around that time my sisters, Mom, and I went on the trip of a lifetime to Rome and Florence and life was light, promising, and bright. I no longer felt like a rookie mom, Connor was in the loving and capable hands of Z and my father-in-law, and I had weaned Connor off of breastfeeding just before leaving. I’m all for breastfeeding, but I was happy to retire the nipple pads, breast pump, and be traveling without anyone or anything attached to my boobs.
Eleven months into Ike’s entry into the world I feel exhausted, aged, lumpy, but no less optimistic. I haven’t run in months but try to suck my gut in when I’m not slouching in front of a computer or over a notebook. I look forward to weekly trips down the road to the houses of different family members, but with two kids in tow and a lifetime’s worth of school in front of me any trips overseas would be solely credited to Santa or a miraculous lottery win. The sleep I get is often punctuated with kicks to the back, face smooshes, and is short-lived thanks to a short kid, that 6-month old who is now a full-fledged 3-year old. God save us.
Still, I often wonder what life will be like when Ike is Connor’s age, when there will be two pairs of little feet wrestling in our bed, kicking our backs in tandem. I think about what it will be like to have two boys running around together, talking to each other about dinosaurs, eating the parts of a sandwich that the other won’t touch. I try to quell Connor’s overly rough housing with Ike with promises that in just a year or so his little brother will be up and running around with him, better able to handle the head knocks, face squishes (Connor has a face-touching fetish), and pokes that he doles out. He doesn’t realize that I’m also soothing myself. I don’t imagine the exhaustion going away in my visions of the future, but that’s never a concern because they excite me. The love is there, the joy is there, and a never-ending pot of coffee is there.
Life today was a little rougher. Connor’s face squishes were done exceptionally hard with suspiciously sticky hands and his “Spiderman jumps” involved my unknowing stomach a few too many times. I was running around in the afternoon, trying to squeeze in a quick hair cut but worried that I wouldn’t make it to Jean’s house by 5:00. Ike was happy to see me but clingy in his witching hour, crawling and whining after me around every corner. I was filled with guilt, frustration, and happiness within an hour and a half of getting home. But now today is coming to a close. I will be forever grateful for new days, clean slates, and a few child-free hours of sleep. I will also be forever grateful for those hours with Connor in our bed snuggling, and yes, even face squishing, before the sun comes up and we all roll out of bed one by one. Another day soon I’ll be grateful for both boys in our bed in the morning. I’m trying to let go of the day’s guilt although it inevitably follows me into the morning. Sometimes we have off days. Sometimes we all have off days at the same time. Sometimes we all just need to surrender and try again tomorrow. Hello, tomorrow.