June 21, 2013

Feeling Nostalgic...and Old, I Guess

On Saturday, Shannon, my oldest child, will be 37 years old.

How did this happen, when I'm still in my cough 40s?

I was telling the Mister how I don't feel old enough to have a daughter who's inching close to 40 herself.

"Oh, you're plenty old enough. You're confusing age with maturity."

Whatever, you old fuddy duddy.

He apparently thinks that his curmudgeonly demeanor is superior to my sense of spontaneity and childlike wonder. I didn't try to disabuse him of this notion. I think he's kind of cute (and more prone to do what I want) when he's delusional.

I started thinking about what I miss when I was a young first-time mother - and what parts of the experience I'm glad to have put behind me.

I miss hanging damp clothes on the line in the backyard while Shannon played
I don't miss damp clothes from leaky diapers and puking baby

I miss walks to feed the ducks, and the happy chatter that often took place
I don't miss the semi-regular tantrum that would occur when all the bread was gone

I miss snuggling together on the couch to read or watch TV
I don't miss reading books "again and again and again", as Shannon was fond of saying

I miss watching Mister Rogers' gentleness, and singing along to the songs (I still remember most of the lyrics of several songs)
I don't miss seeing Bob Dog on the show, he was just weird

I miss Shannon's bathtime, which was followed by more reading and drowsy snuggling
I don't miss the fit she would pitch if even one drop of water got in the vicinity of her face when I rinsed her hair

I miss the smell of Johnson's baby shampoo in her curls
I don't miss the smells of poopy diapers, puke, or baby vitamins

I miss watching Shannon reach milestones and master new skills
I don't miss the maternal stress I felt, wondering if I was doing enough to keep her safe and happy

I miss holding her in my arms while we sat in the rocking chair in the dark
I don't miss the many nights we cried together, sleep not even a remote possibility

I miss seeing the world through Shannon's eyes, and re-awakening the wonder in mine
I don't miss "Why Mommy, why?" approximately 769 times a day

I miss the toys - Fisher-Price had some of the best junk
I don't miss the unending job of picking up said toys (and Barbie shoes are from the Devil)

I miss holding baby Shannon while she slept - watching her grin in her sleep
I don't miss the many sleepless nights, and laying with her in her twin bed every night for a couple of years, just so I could get some "me time"

I miss the sense that I was doing something.that.mattered
But I don't miss the overwhelming sense of responsibility, the anxiety that I was doing it all wrong, and the fear that I was a failure as a mom

Obviously, I wasn't a complete failure, right? Even though I often told her she was my "practice child" - the one who had to suffer through all of my newbie mistakes, she survived. She went to college and had jobs and is married and has two wonderful children. And on Saturday, she can celebrate her birthday and worry about her own kids...they're in her capable hands.

Happy Birthday, Shannon! I love you!

5 comments:

  1. Kim--How clever. I love how you compared each memory. Each specific one brought back loads of memories for me.

    They say that writers live life twice. However, there are some snippets of our lives (poopy diapers, wearing "cottage cheese" on your shoulder the whole time your kids are drinking from a bottle) that shouldn't be savored once they're gone.

    It's wonderful you have a sister so close to your age. ;)

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  2. Oh, my! Yes, we are still in our 40's and the kids just keep getting closer and closer in age! I loved this! Thank you for reminding me of the wonderful things we got to experience for the first time (both fun and not-so-fun)as newbie moms! You did good! Give yourself a hug! Enjoy the birthday celebration this weekend!

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  3. Kim--I meant Shannon. You are WAY too young to have a daughter that old... ;)

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  4. This is such a wonderful post which triggered many of the same memories and feelings for ME.

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  5. I loved this post. I wish I was in my 40's again. That was a happy time. Grown kids, no daily temper tantrums. aaahhh memories

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