it’s gotten to the point where i’m not quite sure if holden is imitating me or i’m imitating holden. the entire day, it’s all mmmmm-hmmmms, yaaaaaaas, and ummmmmmms, around here in the exact same intonation and voice. i’m pretty sure between the two of us we use those three expressions more than a million times a day. it’s like we’ve gotten addicted and the number of times we use each one seems to be increasing daily.
what i think initially started as holden imitating me turned into me imitating him back and now our responses to everything are identical.
it’s funny the things you realize when you have a child – like the things you say and the way that you say them. hearing my voice come out of a little boy is sometimes hilarious, usually stopping me the first time it happens as i laugh wondering if that’s what i sound like to other people.
i chase tiny feet moving as quickly as they can possibly go across wide open fields of grass, i push one tiny body on the swing until he feels like he is flying, i whiz down the slide with a little boy in my lap, i hide behind walls and pop out unexpectedly to a child that dissolves into fits of giggles.
i putter around the house, attempting to vacuum cheerios and crushed crackers that now seem to be embedded in the sheepskin rug, folding laundry with the hopes that i’ll eventually find the time to put it all away, tossing basketballs, baseballs, tennis balls, bouncy balls, golf balls, whiffle balls (oh how this boy loves balls) into the toy bin knowing that they will remain in that spot only until holden awakes and rediscovers them.
i eat dinner at 5 and rarely leave the house after 8 pm in the evening. i spend my every evenings bathing and reading and rocking. there are books and toys constantly in my bed and a little boy that somehow manages to take up the majority of a california king mattress. i often wake up to a small foot in my face, and i rarely sleep past 7:30 in the morning.
this is the life i have dreamed of.
from an outsiders life, it may not look especially exciting. what do you do all day? my friends without kids probably wonder especially when i don’t text them back for days at a time.
but this is it for me. this is the life i have been waiting all of my life to live.
sometimes i wish i had a camera crew following my every move. not to share with the world, but for my eyes only. so that years later i can sink into all of these moments, return to them, revisiting the sounds and the smells, experiencing the feeling and mood, reliving the moment in it’s entirety instead of scrapping together the bits and pieces my memory has held onto.
it’s so silly, but i already feel those early memories of holden slipping away. those moments when i took a few extra seconds to will my mind to etch them deep into my memory, store them in a special place where they would never be forgotten and yet, upon reaching for them i’m coming up empty-handed.
holden is such a little wild child, a constant ball of energy that has my attention and focus 99% of every day and i find that the continuous whirlwind of activity makes it hard to even remember what we did that morning or even the hour before. time moves fast when you have a child, you brain and memory unable to keep up, not able to capture every second, every detail no matter how hard you wish.
my mom didn’t see holden for a week (which is a long time for them to be apart) and after reuniting with him last night, she said “he looks different. he’s grown. he’s all grown up.” he grew up in a week and i didn’t even notice.
so i’ve decided the only logical thing to do is to invest in a camera crew (remember that guy in along came polly who hired his own camera crew) who will follow holden and i around on a daily basis so that after he goes to bed each night, i can sit on the couch and see what we really did that day.
before holden, i worked part-time from home at a job. despite the fact that i had always envisioned myself as a stay at home mom, we didn’t think we would be able to survive comfortably on just one income and so we planned for me to continue working from home once holden arrived, fitting my work in between his naps (ha!). once holden arrived, i could barely fathom taking any time away from him to go back to a job that i didn’t enjoy in the least and i decided not to. we made sacrifices and still struggle financially from time to time, but for us our top priority was for me to be home with him.
and unfortunately, this seems to be a growing anomaly to the norm. in the past, it was easily possible for a family to survive off of one salary; however in today’s world, despite even the best financial planning, it is sometimes impossible for a couple to survive on a single income. the number of children under five who spend time in non-parental care has risen significantly in recent years and although most mothers who drop their kids off every morning will tell you that it’s not an easy decision, for many there is no other option.
being the first of my friends to get pregnant, i didn’t know anyone else in the area with children so once dustin’s paternity leave was over i started attending a new parent group for babies 0-3 months. we met twice a week and discussed all of the issues, both big and small, that come with having a newborn including sleep, feeding, adjusting to parenthood, adjusting as a couple, and a common source of discussion was mothers heading back to work.
although some of the mothers were looking forward to going back to their jobs, they were still heartbroken over the matter, the majority of women in the group just not quite ready to leave their little ones, a visible anxiousness and growing apprehension appearing in their faces as the their time grew shorter and shorter. many wanted to go back to their jobs eventually, just not after a short three weeks. as the months quickly passed, more and more mothers dropped out of the group and at the end of the three months, we were left with a small handful of women who were able to stay at home with their little ones.
some mothers happily stay at home, some mothers happily head back to work, some mothers begrudgingly head back to work, but at the very least shouldn’t we have the ability to have more of a choice in the matter without feeling forced into the situation.
whether it’s longer paid maternity leaves, jobs that offer salaries that allow families to live off of one income, or companies holding the position for women that wish to stay at home longer, i wish that as mothers we had more of a choice in the matter of heading back to work or not.
i was watching tonight’s episode of up all night which was all about sending out christmas newsletters. feeling like they didn’t have much to write about, raven kept attempting to exaggerate their events from the year which in turn made them both feel like losers.
and it got me thinking about what i would write if i sent out a christmas newsletter. what would i write about our year as a family? in 2010 we got married and then traveled around europe, in 2011 we had holden and moved out of the city, and this year we had … ??
as i sat racking the deepest corners of my mind, i couldn’t think of anything that would be newsletter worthy. in what has proved to be the best and fastest moving year of my entire life, i feel unable to produce any evidence of it.
because despite not having any big events occur in our lives, i feel as though we have done so much and been so busy.
my every day is filled with big moments with holden, learning to crawl, first steps, new words, new imitations, and all of the little things he learns with each passing day, all blurring together in what was a whirlwind of a year.
in 2012 we didn’t start prepping for a second baby, we didn’t take any big trips, we didn’t start a new business, we didn’t move,
and part of me feels a little sad about it. i kind of wish that we had taken holden on his first overseas adventure or we’d picked up and moved to the ocean because sometimes the pressures to show others just how wonderful your life is can be anxiety provoking.
but then i have to remind myself that we are completely happy with our non-baby-prepping, non-vacationing, non-moving, lives and that sometimes it’s the little moments that make life big.