Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Agony and the Ecstasy (except without the ecstasy)

I sent my littlest off to school last week (waah!) and now my boobs hurt. Let me explain.

Tommy (who has requested to be called "Thomas" at school--What?!) is four. He is my precious. My baby. I baby him. I don't care what people think or say or how awful he turns out, I can absolutely not help it. Darron asked me if I had a favorite kid the other day and I truthfully told him no. He acted all disbelieving and asked coyly, "Really? Not Tommy?" And I can see how he would think that, seeing as how I coddle him and always have my fingers entangled in his golden curls whenever he is within arm's reach and can't stop smelling or smooching him. All signs point to him being my favorite. But it's not that. It's that he's my baby.

When my other kids reach milestones, I feel pangs of nostalgia and sadness. Sometimes faint, sometimes overwhelming, but always tempered with a bit of pride and excitement at seeing them mature and grow. Not so with Tommy. It's all pain. Real-my heart feels like it's being pulled from my chest-pain. He is getting farther and farther away from me, from that little infant I carried and rocked and nursed and cuddled, and in a few short years he will leave me forever. For some other woman. Oh, the issues. I tell him all the time that he can't ever leave me, and then I pretend to cry. Not like a real fake cry, where I want him to think that I actually am, but a big clown frown boo-hoo. He hates it. He doesn' t like to be teased and this drives him nuts. Feeling sort of guilty the other day and rather emotionally healthy, I came up to him and told him all serious that I although I liked to pretend that he couldn't ever grow up and leave me because I would cry forever, I really actually was glad he was growing and proud of how big he was and that I was happy to see him go to school. In other words I LIED right to him. It seemed to make him happy so I felt good about it. But it was a lie. I'm not glad; I'm not proud; I'm not happy. Every bit of me hurts.

He is the last child I will ever breastfeed (sob). You know that feeling you would get (breast-feeders out there) when you thought of your child, or heard them cry, or it had just been awhile since you last nursed and you were ready...that kind of cinching, almost stinging sensation as your milk came in? It's been years for me, but I still get a little residual psychsomatic let-down pain when I think about my babies. I would liken it to a person who loses a limb, yet occasionally gets ghost pain where the leg used to be. And then that pinching feeling travels from my boobs to my heart, and I can hardly bear it, can hardly breathe.

You may be saying, Heather! Why don't you just have another baby? Well, friends, the thing is, I don't want another child, particularly; I am happy with the ones I have. I feel I owe it to them to stay sane and I think four is this mom's limit. And hello! having another would not solve the inherent problem with babies. They grow up and leave you, every time.

Here he is breaking my heart, I mean, going to his first day of preschool and abandoning the woman who gave her blood, metabolism, and short term memory to bring him and his luscious silken curls into this world. He walked into his classroom with a smile on his face as tears slipped down mine and I quickly put on my sunglasses. When I came to pick him up two hours later, I resisted the urge to sweep him into my arms and smother him with kisses...until I reached the parking lot, where I very nonchalantly picked him up, gave him a quick kiss, like totally not overwhelming or needy at all, and then surreptitiously nuzzled his hair. We got to the car and he asked me to put him down now and I realized I'd been standing there for maybe thirty seconds just smelling him and kind of rocking back and forth. Going "mmmmmm".

Who do they think they are, these children that drop from heaven into our arms? Without any warning they sideswipe us with this powerful, terrible love that addles our brains and completely commandeers our hearts. They're tyrants, these ones. Our lives are no longer our own. Our sleep is never again easy. They come, they conquer, then immediately begin leaving us.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Love Poem

My love, she is fair,

with her wild tangly hair,

and rows of white pearls when she smiles.

Her alabaster brow enchants me (and how!)

and her backside, it goes on for miles.