I walk with some friends every day at Sunken Meadow beach. It’s a nice morning ritual we all embrace where we get some fresh air, exercise, and solve the world’s problems. All in under an hour. Today, I found myself alone, for various reasons, so I set off with my music and my thoughts.
I passed a pregnant woman on my first lap. She walked deliberately, holding small weights in her hands, earphones lost in her hair. She looked to be heading into the final leg of her baby-carrying journey, judging by the size of her bump. As I eased by her, I conceded a sideways glance. She appeared content and relaxed. Maybe it’s because it was early and I was still shaking off sleep, or maybe it was the sentimental music I chose for my warm up (Jackson Browne) or perhaps it was the gently serenity that invariably encompasses me whenever I’m near a large body of water, but I found myself wistfully envious.
I don’t want another baby (anymore) but I can’t help my nostalgic yearning for those days of newness and firsts she will soon experience, where every grunt and cry and hiccup is music, and when even a sink bath is a joyful experience. The simplicity of days filled with lullabies, naps, diapers and bottles, call to me, where the only chores on my To Do list were 1) Love the child all day and night and 2) Sleep when allowed.
I miss staring at a newborn, his soft fat legs, tiny digits and perfect nose, inhaling the fresh odor of untouched skin and fuzzy hair, wondering if we’ll do a good job. Will he even like me? What kind of person will he be?
I think of Kate and William and new baby George and how they’re on the cusp of their family life, though admittedly, her experience of motherhood will differ slightly from mine. The only crowd awaiting the birth of our son consisted of four grandparents, two siblings, a smattering of good friends and one camera. I did have a crier announcing his birth, like Kate, only it was my Uncle Fred, in his skivvies and tank top and we’re fairly certain he was drunk. So, I’m not sure that counts.
Still in the throes of parenthood, knee deep in pre-puberty, which I heard is where the drinking really comes into play (for me – not them), I’m still not sure if we’re doing a good job, we’re not done yet, but I do believe they like me (most of the time) and I’m pleased with the kind of people they are turning out to be.
Back in the car heading home, I shook off my sentimentality and tried to focus on the day ahead. As the sun rose overhead, before the craziness of household, children and work demands took over, I knew I’d have time for a quiet cup of coffee. After all, my babies were still asleep.