August 13, 2013

I cried in a dressing room today



And then I cried while I was driving to my daughter's tennis practice.  And then I cried for almost the entire hour I sat in the car during tennis practice, with a sleeping baby and a three year old spider monkey.  I was never so thankful to have remembered to grab my sunglasses on the way out of the house.

You see, it all started yesterday.  It was my daughter's 10th birthday.  I wasn't being completely sappy and nostalgic about her growing up, but I wanted that moment in time documented.  Her and I would never have that day back.  So, I asked the second in command munchkin to take a picture of her sister and me.  I knew before even looking at the photo that I wouldn't be happy with what I saw, but like I said before I needed the day documented.

Oh boy.  I guess I didn't prepare myself all that well.  I went ahead and cropped it down and sent it over the airwaves to my husband sitting in the desert.  I may be disgusted with myself, but I knew any piece of familiarity and of home would be gold to him.

I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to stay up beat and positive for the kids sake.  No reason my insecurities should affect them, and in the end my daughter ended her birthday with the biggest grin I've seen on her face in ages.  I ended her birthday with a giant knot in my stomach.

Now, I realize I just had a baby.  Can I tell you a secret?  I cried when I found out I was pregnant.  I cried for many reasons, but hind sight reflecting to this moment right now...one of the main reasons I cried was because I knew I'd have this battle to fight all over again.  I've lost myself.

Today I was the lady in the dressing room, desperately trying on jeans in a much larger size than normal praying that they would magically make things better.  It was just that my clothes didn't fit correctly, not that I was lumpier than a pan of monkey bread.  Cue the screaming baby.  Half dressed, I pulled her out of her carseat and sat down on the bench in front of a full length mirror to nurse her.  Then the tears started to roll.  A few other insignificant things occurred in the next twenty minutes that turned me into a weepy mess. My poor husband and best friend.  I texted them both, so upset, over an hour period of time completely draining my phone battery.

The thing is I can see a light at the end of this deployment tunnel.  It's close, so close.  But it's still so far away.  As much as this is deployment related, I feel like it's related to every person who has ever had a baby.  I've lost myself.  I've lost the ability to care for myself.

While I may have a crapload more children than most people and while I may be doing all of the parenting alone at the moment, I remember feeling this way after I had my oldest daughter when my husband was home with me more often than not.  There is something about being pregnant that you realize you are sharing your body.  That it's not just about you anymore.  But once the beautiful, perfect little baby is out, you expect to start regaining the outline of your former self.  It just doesn't happen fast enough.

I never pee alone.  Exercise?  I wish I had five minutes to wash my hair.  What did you have for dinner last night?  I ate a bowl of cold baked beans in bed at eleven o'clock.  Breakfast?  I ate a Cliff bar and dropped crumbs on the baby who I happened to be simultaneously nursing.  I'm good like that.  Super duper multi-tasker.

All seems perfect in my world.  Kids are clean, well fed, and thriving.  They have smiles on their faces and possess more material crap than any child should.

I know that when you become a mom you magically start sporting an invisibility cloak, making you disappear to everyone in the world except MAYBE a few other moms who may or may not being seeing you with a severely critical eye.  We just need to try and remember that we aren't really invisible.    Just when I'm being my own worst critic, the people I love the most pull my head out of the sand and remind me that it will be okay.  It's all a phase.  This moment will not define me.  And that big, gummy smile profiled by those round soft cheeks...it's all worth it.