Monday, April 6, 2009

Me Plus One

Wow, I think I'm starting to understand why people with kids tend to run late...travelling with a baby is hard! Our trip to the Ozarks was about 6 hours, but Topher only made it about 2 hours before realizing that he was buckled down into his seat. I sat beside him, handing him the same toys one by one in a round so that he would stay distracted as long as possible. I don't think our parents realize how easy they had it, just holding us on their laps in the front seat or whatever (although I'm glad babies are a lot safer now in their 5-point harnesses yada yada yada.) Seriously, though, there were so many times I wanted to just scoop him up and release him from his constricted state. He would arch his little back and twist from side to side and then look at me and cry. No fun at all. But, considering his longest trip before this was only 3 hours, the little man deserves some credit. We all managed to make it in one piece, which I think says a lot.
I think I'm starting to realize how fundamentally different my life is now that Topher is here. There were so many things I would have loved to do this past weekend at the lake that I just didn't even think to do because I was concentrating on Topher. If it was still Just Me, I would have walked down to the water and looked at the rocks and fish. If it was Just Me, I would have climbed every step going up the bluffs at the state park. If it was Just Me, I would have gone outlet shopping, and stopped for an ice cream cone. And I would have slept in. But it's not Just Me. It's Me Plus One, and my Plus One didn't want to linger at the park, or go shopping, or dip his feet in the lake. Or sleep in, come to think of it.
It's true what TJ's easy to be jealous of our friends who still have all the freedom that comes with having no children. But jealous in a very detached way, because I would never choose to go back and wait longer to have Topher, even if I was promised that it would be the exact same boy no matter how long I prolonged having him. The truth is I love that I'm a young(ish) mother, and that I honestly don't know if I would have the energy for any of this in X amount of years. My mom had 5 kids by the time she was 29 (unbelievable, I know), but I can't compare myself to her because she has more natural energy than any human I have ever met (I met a terrier that came close once.)
Me Plus One is a lot like Just Me. She's maybe a little more constantly tired, and one portion of her brain has been permanently reassigned to zone in like a hawk to Plus One's every need. How could I be the same person and yet know that I will never be the same simultaneously? I still wake up some days feeling like I'm way too young to be a mommy. But then scooping Topher's heavy body up and covering him with kisses feels like the most natural thing in the world. Maybe you never feel old enough to be a parent. Or maybe a baby reminds you just how old you really are. At times I feel like a child, trying to play the role of an adult. Then some days my arms and back get so sore I feel about eighty. Back and forth, back and forth. Just like the way I rock my Plus One to sleep.

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