Sep 12, 2008

On the other side now..or somewhere in between...

I had a small epiphane today in Target, of all places. I was passing the baby aisles, and for the first time in what seems like ages, I kept on going! Yup, no baby wipes to buy, no diapers in bulk, no bibs, baby spoons, teensie rattles, rash name it, don't need it! Whew! What a strange feeling! Four kids and one tubal ligation later, my baby years are officially behind me. I should have been thrilled for this moment, should have literally stopped mid tracks in Target and done a cartwheel or two. But to be honest, I felt a twinge of sadness as I steered away from the diapers. I paused, racking my brain to think of someone I could buy diapers for. Or anything baby. Those teeny overalls are simply irresistible! And those chenille baby blankets? I want one in my size, please! Alas, no one came to mind. All of my friends, you see, are past their baby years too. What a strange feeling! Years of going to showers, oohing and aahing over pink baby booties and flowered dresses and tiny velcro hair bows...poof..over! Sleepless nights covered in baby spit up and crusty breast milk...gone! Again, you'd think I'd be jumping for joy, and truly, I have no desire to don those nasty nursing pads or DD nursing bras anymore, thank you. But right there in Target, for just a second, I actually missed it. All of it. The weary, bleary days of pushing the double stroller through those very aisles, absentmindedly grabbing for any generic pack of diapers that seemed to remotely fit my child. Frantically juggling a crying baby and screaming toddler at the check out line as I plopped my coupons down on the counter and fished for my Visa card in a sweat. Staggering out to the parking lot, breathing heavily, near panic attack, only to sit there for a good half an hour while the ice cream melted in the trunk as I nursed my howling, hungry baby. Turning up the radio to drown out the noise as I sped on home, praying that someone, anyone would fall asleep, and wishing at the same time that someone could be me!! Yes, I miss those days...maybe just a bit. Not enough to return, but enough to look back with fondness, laughter, and tears. The kindly woman at the check out line who gently tapped my shoulder and said "It goes so quickly, dear" was so right. With three kids in school, I now have time to actually saunter over to the Starbucks counter, ponder my options for more than two seconds, and enjoy a hot cup of coffee at my leisure before I begin my shopping. There is no wailing baby in the car seat strapped to the cart, no leaking boobs in the shoe aisle, no need to buy diapers, wipes...did I already say that?? And so I enter a new phase of my life. Not quite an "old" mom, but not so new anymore. Seasoned, I guess you could say, considering my oldest just started junior high. Not seasoned enough, though, that I can resist calling my mother in tears when my youngest wets his pants at Disneyland on the train ride. Not seasoned enough that I can safely say the temper tantrum days are behind me. No, I'm just hanging out somewhere in between. Reminiscing, enjoying, looking forward. Someday, these days too will be behind me. I'm thankful I'm now sane enough to enjoy them.


Missy said...

hey girl......i'm right there with you :)

miss u!

Anonymous said...

You write so well Karen! This post made me want to cry...even though I'm not quite out of the diaper/wipes stage just yet, it's true...these years do go by sooo fast!
I think the important part is to try to find enough sanity to enjoy them before they're gone!
Thanks for sharing your're such a good mommy!

Love ya!