I had a journal as a child that I received from Korea- it had pastel pages and smelled heavenly. For some reason, I started each entry with a description of my day- e.g., It was a fun day. So I’ll continue with that tradition here.
It’s been a fun few months. It’s been a long time since I wrote a blog for no particular reason other than that life has been ‘boring’ on my end. Although, I just realized the last blog I wrote was in September!??? After Cameron’s 1st birthday? We went to Jeff’s parents in Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving, Jeff’s brother in Montana for Christmas, a weeklong road trip to Mammoth for Jeff’s birthday, and here we are in February!
Work, school, eat, sleep, repeat. The days go by quickly. I’ve been saying this for 4 years now because as of a few weeks, I am now a Mom of a 4-year-old boy/man. As much as I celebrated saying goodbye to his Terrible Twos and Threenager years, I mourned the days of his newborn/infant days and even his cutie tantrums. I know his brother’s tantrums are around the corner so I’ll have those moments to cherish… But I miss their younger days. This time has brought on a whole bunch of my usual cheesy self that I’ve been too ‘busy’ to deal with.
Where did this little man come from? When I look back at his newborn pictures, my first thought is, Yeesh, I thought he was the cutest baby in the whole world and sharing pictures of him and meanwhile, he was a funny-looking baby compared to his handsome older self. His head was big (thanks to the Korean side of the genepool), he had little hair… I’m also reminded of what a nervous nelly first-time mom I was and how thankful I was that my husband/parents/friends/nanny were so supportive and didn’t tell me how ridiculous I was, that it wouldn’t matter in a few years and that he was okay. There was a period of time I went to Target everyday returning and buying new diapers and ointments trying to heal Jacob’s diaper rash. This diaper rash elicits some PTSD in me- it was a time I was flailing and felt like I was failing as a mom. Going to music class, play dates, the right amount of milk, the right type of bottle, etc. didn’t matter- what mattered was keeping him fed and loved.
And as I celebrated Jacob’s birthday, I was reminded by my Mama Village that it was also a bigger celebration of the reason I became a mom, kept this young man alive/fed for 4 years and how I managed to survive and grow. There is a unique perspective as a mom that I never could’ve dreamed of. As always, my mom was right. Whenever I’d aggravate her, she would tell me ‘Just wait till you’re a mom.’ And in my know-it-all teenage/20/early 30s (my whole life, I guess!) self, dismissed her and thought, whatever!
Before I had Jacob, I had a lot of close friends who became moms. But interacting with the family, seeing them, listening to their stress about sick kids/childcare/school didn’t prepare me for the actual experience. The constant worry and guilt, wishing I was with them while at work and yet savoring my ‘adult’ time at work. Is that what work-life balance is? I digress…
As Jacob gets older, I’m reminded also that my parents and I are getting older. I forget how old my parents are- when I see them, they are simply my parents- the same faces I’ve seen for the last 40 years of my life. But their age in numbers is soon-to-be 77 and 83. As I think of my grandmother daily, I am also acutely aware that this visit could be our last. I see the joy that the boys bring them and as much as we jansori (Korean word for nagging) to each other, I wish they could have the same experience with them as I did with my grandmother. My grandmother lived with us and raised us until I was 6 (then my baby cousins were born and she moved in with the other families). I owe her for everything and she is my favorite person (sorry to my husband, kids and parents). It’d be lovely for them to live closer to us and I could check on their health, they could see the boys more often and I could spend more time taking care of them like they took care of me. But I understand it’d be hard for them to leave their home in Chicago. Sigh.
I also mourn the loss of Cameron’s baby days as much as I welcome his bubbly laugh and fearless personality. And that gets me with an urgent need to clarify the difference between wanting Baby #3 versus missing the Baby phase of the boys. The logic and Pros/Cons list points to no Baby #3- I’m 40, my back/core/body is not recovered from the pregnancy, work life, child care, school, life, etc. But as my husband says, the heart wants what it wants. But what does this heart really want?
This past December 29, 2019, I was sad for the baby that could’ve been #3. At that time, as much as I was in shock and sadness, I knew it wasn’t the best/right time (not that there really is ever?) for Baby #3. And I didn’t really think of wanting #3 until recently. I started to feel sadness as I wondered if I’d regret not having #3, would I regret not having a girl, would I feel incomplete with 2 boys and our family of 4? Perhaps it was prayer and a little slap of ‘snap out of it, Frances! Look at what you have!’ moment that made me realize to focus on what I do have- 2 amazing healthy, growing boys, a loving husband, an awesome house, both sets of parents alive and healthy, awesome job/career… And then my mood was uplifted as I was reminded to focus on the positives!
I am going to focus on spending at least a day home with the boys to do stuff with them. Next year, Jacob will be back in school MWF and Cameron will likely start school as well. I’d like to be with them while they still enjoy spending time with their mom.
What’s the saying? The days are long but years are short? I don’t know… I’m reminded to cherish every moment and focus on the positives. I hope everyone is staying healthy amidst this flu/Coronavirus mania.