Everlong

It happened again.

Last week we took a family outing to drive through a Christmas light display. Since we were in the area, we took a trip down memory lane and drove through the village of Avon. After looping around a couple of side streets, we slowed down to look at the Avon Inn. As if she could grasp the concept, we explained to our two-year old that the big building with pretty lights is where Mommy and Daddy got married, and then we told her that time before her existed. As we laughed at ourselves and slowly pulled away, that’s when it happened.

Our wedding song started playing on the radio.

I noticed it first, this time. We smiled at the fluke, feeling eerie in the coincidence. Our smiles were immediately followed by heavy sighs. The not quite silent acknowledgement that this relentless clash of emotions is a substantial weight to bear. Things that once made us so happy, make us sad now. It’s the consequence of a tarnished memory. Our wedding song, for example, makes us a little sad now. Life in general, is a little sad now.

And that’s where we exist today. Within that subdued pause between the smile and the sigh. Where everything is left unsaid, because there are no words. On one hand we have this amazing life, happy moments abound, so much to be thankful for. On the other hand, we have loss. Loss of a dream, loss of a friend, and the loss of a life that we once considered normal.

Happy moments still exist, of course they do. They’re just as present as they always were. But I’m not as present as I always was, I can’t be. The truth is I’m tired of hearing about the good things in my life, as if they somehow make up for the bad. “You have a baby so that should help with losing a baby”. “You are lucky to have so many great memories”. And the kicker “it could be worse”. Obviously life can always get worse. It already has, a couple of times. But knowing that doesn’t make this phase better. Happiness cannot be exchanged like currency. That’s not the way it works.

So I’ve arrived at a crossroads. Naturally, it has felt a little disingenuous to write about happy moments while standing knee deep in shit, but I do miss it. Writing. Sharing small, silly, and seemingly insignificant instances of my life. Noticing if only for myself, the ordinary moments that combine to create an extraordinary life.

Hearing our wedding song on the radio did remind me of good times. Better times. Not of our wedding, but of the last time this chance occurrence happened to us. On the way to our 2nd anniversary dinner, around the same time I started the blog. When I eagerly proclaimed that “this phase will not last forever, and that tomorrow might be a really bad day.” The irony is not lost on me.

Until next time, I’ll leave you with the lyrics that keep bringing me back to where it all began.


And I wonder when I sing along with you

If everything could ever feel this real forever
If anything could ever be this good again
The only thing I’ll ever ask of you
You’ve got to promise not to stop when I say when

She sang


 

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One Last Time

You woke up at 6:00 this morning, about 30 minutes earlier than normal. You were angry, scared maybe, definitely not happy. Maybe your teeth were bothering you, maybe you just wanted mommy, maybe it was nothing at all. I went into your room, hugged you as you stood in your crib, picked you up, and wiped your tears. You nuzzled in to my shoulder and immediately fell back asleep. Not wanting to wake you, I laid in the nearby chair and that’s where I stayed for the next 30 minutes. Under the ever-increasing weight of you, with your head resting heavily on my collar bone, and your fidgety feet tickling my knees.

Like clockwork at 6:30 you pop up and quietly stare through the darkness until you recognize my silhouette. You smile and say “oh hi!” As if you thought I was actually your mattress, and you think this is some happy accident. You’ve done this for three mornings in a row. And I’ve secretly loved every second of it. Should I be making a routine of this? No. Could I get you to settle down in your crib for that last 30 minutes if I really tried? Probably. Would I start every day of the rest of my life like this if I could? In a heartbeat.

It feels like stolen time. Being needed by this baby, who is just on the cusp of outgrowing her baby-ness.

You will always need me of course, in some form or another, but it won’t be like this. As a new mom I’m acutely aware that there is a last time for everything. Fortunately or unfortunately, it is a fact of life. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let the should haves and could haves rob me of these moments. Moments like these are mine for the taking. I’ve learned enough by now to know that you do not get them back once they are gone.

But I also know how quickly habits form, and I do want to do right by you, so this was the last time my dear. Tomorrow when you wake up screaming at 6AM, needing more sleep but not knowing how to get it I’ll go into your room. I’ll help you lay back down without picking you up. I’ll pat your back, and gently remind you how to sooth yourself back to sleep. I’ll let you know that everything is ok and I’ll quietly leave your room to go back to mine.

Or maybe I’ll pick you up and cuddle with my baby.

One last time.