second (and third) thoughts

21 Nov

Sometimes, I think that maybe I don’t really want to have a baby.

 

Let me explain.  I think babies are kind of boring.  Yeah they’re cute and cuddly and they smell amazing (most of the time anyway)–but they don’t DO anything exciting.  Eat, poop, cry, sleep.  Borrrrrring.  Again, don’t get me wrong–they’re adorable.  I’ve spent a lot of my days with babies (and children of all ages–being the oldest of 10 kids, a babysitter and now a teacher…I’d say the majority of my life has been spent with people under the age of 20).  There’s nothing comparable to holding a sleeping baby, stroking that downy hair, having him grab your finger and hold on so tightly that you can’t comprehend where the strength is coming from, holding his little feet in your hands in amazement that something so small will one day be so big, knowing that you are in complete control of this little ball of life.  But even with all of that, sometimes I have these moments where I am like, “what the f are you doing injecting drugs nightly to try to have a boring baby, you idiot?!?!”

 

But then I think about watching my siblings growing up–I think about how cool it has been to see them learning things (and after a lifetime of watching kids learning stuff, I can honestly say that there is actually a look kids get when they “get it” and it’s one of the coolest things to see), saying hilarious things, doing so much fun stuff with them.  I think about our sibling sleepovers, trips to zoos and museums, holidays, homemade presents, games they’ve created…

 

I see our friends’ kids and play with them and love it, even the babies.  Riding bikes to the library with my neighbor and her kids, playing in the yard with other friends’ kids, family parties with friends.  One of our friends was at Oktoberfest with a pretty much newborn baby.  I held her for a long time, swaddled her up when the blankets came undone.  It wasn’t bad at all.

 

I worked for years in middle schools–dealing with brutal mood swings and kids who wanted to test the limits–and loved them just the same (or maybe in some cases more as I watched them trying to figure out who they were and where they fit into the world)…loved having deep conversations, loved the break-throughs with my kids, loved creating classroom “family” with them.

 

And most recently, I go to work in an elementary school.  This year, I teach 2nd graders–all morning long. They are hilarious.  They are anything but boring.  I’ve been in assemblies where families from all the different grade levels come in and watch songs, dances, honor roll assemblies.  Tonight was our translator conference night–the cafeteria was full of parents, brothers and sisters, kids playing. Language didn’t pose a problem or create boundaries–kids from all different countries were playing together, laughing, coloring, building with blocks, playing tag (until we had to stop them before someone got hurt–meanies).

 

And like happens so often at this type of school function, I had to force myself not to cry.  Because deep down that is exactly what I want.  I want all of that–the good, the bad, the ugly and the amazing of parenting.  I want to someday bring my kids to school with me on ELL conference night and let them meet these kids, make new friends, play with my students.  I want to take them to the zoo and the museum and the park. I want to watch them learn, help facilitate that learning.  I want to deal with them testing the limits, struggling, trying to figure out life.  I want the parent conferences, the dance recitals, the talent shows, the sports events.  I want the bedtime stories and kisses good night.  The baby stage might not be too exciting…but that lasts for such a short amount of time before kids start doing REALLY cool stuff.

 

I think the whole “are you sure you really want a baby” thought process is just all about protecting myself emotionally.  It’s easier to pretend that I don’t really care either way.  To brace for the worst news every time, rather than hope for good news.  And I know people are going to want to tell me to be positive, to stay optimistic.  But it’s been  almost exclusively bad news every step of the way so far, so in a way it’s easier to just plan on that.  Then if someday, some way, good news comes, I can be pleasantly surprised by it.

 

But the truth is, deep down this is what I want.  It’s what I’ve always wanted, for my whole life–to be a mom and a wife.  And pretending I don’t care either way and always expecting the worst hasn’t made getting bad news easier.  It doesn’t take away any of the heartache, the tears, the sleepless nights.  So I don’t know why I can’t just stop being a pessimist and start being optimistic, but there’s a wall up right now that says don’t get your hopes up and don’t worry if it’s bad news again because you’re going to be alright no matter what.  And at least I know that the last part of that is true…

 

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One Response to “second (and third) thoughts”

  1. Jen November 24, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    This is so honest and beautiful and I love it. Your kids at school are so lucky to have such an amazing teacher and the future little Eagans are going to have the best parents ever!

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