Today I am taking my little girl out for her 5th birthday. Man, oh, man. Can’t believe it’s been 5 years. Bringing her home is still so vivid in my mind. What’s even more a stain in my memory is getting out of bed that first morning in the hospital when my bladder forgot its job. As soon as my feet hit the floor, so did about a bucket of urine. Gross, huh. I wasn’t embarrassed. No. I was mad. Mad that not one of my girlfriends, in all of their birthing stories, had warned me about this. No one had mentioned the complete lack of control I would experience after having delivered the, um, conventional way. (I hesitate using the V word, as I have seen it makes even some women uncomfortable. I don’t have a problem with it. To me it’s just the name of a body part.)
On the other hand, I can believe it’s been 5 years. I have watched first hand as most of it happened. Warning: I may get on my soapbox in a moment. Staying home, for the most part, has afforded me the opportunity to not only see all of those clichéd firsts, but also to just enjoy being a mom, which I’ll admit took some learning…the enjoying it part. Babies can be boring. There, I said it. Definitely less exciting than co-worker drama. Plus, I’m a gal who thrives on conversation. Afraid my brain would go into hibernation, I filled our early days by sitting in my favorite chair…the one I’m sitting in now, which came from The Comfortable Chair Store, the one I hope to be sitting in when I’m 50…and doing my favorite activity: reading. From 10 Little Monkeys to What to Expect the First Year to Twilight. I would just sit and read to her. Perhaps my choice of books was a bit selfish at times, but the rest of parenting is selfless. Giving up friends, money, a lifestyle, sleep. Oh, the long lost sleep.
Giving up may be the wrong phrasing. Trading in is more appropriate. Traded in cable TV for slow-paced mornings of a sit-down breakfast with the kids and relaxing evenings with home-cooked meals, usually. Exchanged restaurant lunches for snuggle and story time before naps. Said goodbye to a great neighborhood and amazing backyard, but I have been able to (i.e. have no other choice but to) stop what I’m doing inside and play outside with them. Date night is sometimes with one of the kids instead of the hubs nowadays. Swapped the beautiful guest room for a useable playroom. In the end, or at least after 5 years, it has all been worth it. “Really, it has,” I convincingly tell myself.
Rushing out the door with the kiddos in the morning, getting them home with just enough time for the dinner-bath-bed routine…is there time to truly know your kids? No offense intended for the women who manage to maintain a full-time job on top of a family, but neither am I cut out for it nor can I even fathom how they do it!
My days are far from easy but are the opposite. Catastrophe has struck often before we even make it down for breakfast. On those days I absolutely want to hand them off to someone else to deal with, knowing their demeanor will likely change the moment they are without my presence. What’s keeping me from doing just that may be the control freak part of me that lies just below the surface with the need to ensure everything is done her way, or it may be the inherent caregiver part of me that has been repressed but knows the kids need her. Not her teaching. Not her cooking. Not even her discipline. But just her. Ugh, it is physically and mentally exhausting! Selfless, I tell you…at which I am no good.
For her birthday, Avery basically dictated her wish list to me: a unicorn pillow pet, chicken nuggets, walkie talkies, a few of those tiny princess dolls with rubber clothes to replace the ones her brothers broke, a little sister (which she later specified as a 4-year-old sister), red hair, a Flynn Rider doll (which may or may not exist). She didn’t just tell me once and trust that I would deliver. She recited her list daily, beginning on the first day of January. And, she told not only me but anyone she came into contact with, many times loudly naming the most important items on the list as if that would do the trick: “I’m getting a pillow pet and little sister for my birthday,” she would proclaim. Even her prayers went from thanking God for her brothers, family and friends to telling Him her birthday wishes as if He were Santa (although she never once mentioned wanting anything for Christmas).
Evidence of having brothers. Exhibit A: Snow White and Aurora. Dismantled.
With the help of grandparents, cousins and a few friends, most of her list was fulfilled. That baby sister is under discussion right now. It’s no secret. We want more kids. Indeed, we are crazy. We are dreaming of, asking for, pleading with God over another girl. And honestly I’d take two more. Girls that is. I’m pretty certain our grocery allowance cannot sustain another growing boy. Plus, at least 7 nights per week it sounds like the second floor is going to fall in on us at any moment.
Anywho, we are not planning on, and actually we are planning against, these little sisters coming from my womb. Please, please, God, no. Adoption is the way to go. If I get my way, a few things I won’t miss: gaining weight, driving to Northside Hospital every week, risking delivery from a vehicle, blowing out my pelvic floor, losing weight, breastfeeding, washing and sterilizing pump pieces all the livelong day, hauling around the combined weight of the infant carrier/carseat with infant in tow. I’ll stop there. Yes, we do want more kids. Kids, not babies. Let’s see what God gives us.
Back to Avery’s birthday. Boy, I can really get sidetracked. Maybe I have ADD. The plan for the day: lunch date at “chips and cheese,” a.k.a. any Mexican restaurant, shop for new undies (for Avery, Sicko, not me!), get nails painted, pick up one of her BFFs for a sleepover. And, that will have to suffice until we can grant her the rest of her list.
Happy Birthday, Sweet Avery.