At the tender age of 22 I thought the answer to my most fervent wish was 6570 days. It would be 6570 days until I could take a shower whenever I wanted. 6570 days to be able to use the bathroom uninterrupted. 6570 days until I could be day drunk and sleep in as long as I wanted afterwards. (lofty goals, right?)
I counted my life not in minutes, not as they flew by, and believe me, my how fast they have flown. But in this dream, that 18 years beyond being 22 I would be free to be myself again, and oh, what a wonderful life it would be.
I was so naive.
Now, I have a new number. 381. I cry every time I recall it. And every day it goes down. It does, no matter how hard I try to hold on. If I could, I would create my own time-turner and wind that thing so damn hard to get back even half a day for every day that passes. because in 381 days my eldest child will be 18.
And what was once such a high aspiration date for me, the one where I was certain I would “find myself again” and get to “re-live my 20s the right way” is now a day I dread. I was so very, very stupid. I never lost myself because of my children. I lost myself because I never gave myself a chance to live beside them. I took up the job of being a stay-at-home mom like I was a flippin martyr, and validated my feelings for the longest time, telling myself I was special because I was so selfless.
I’m so pissed at myself now that I did that to them, and to me. All this time I could have enjoyed being me and a mom. Completely guilt free.
Because in the end, I was always someone.
They never took that away. I wasted so many years thinking I was owed something more in life. And I wasted soo many years waiting. The funny thing is, even when that hypothetical clock stops I will not have achieved that goal. Because I went on to have more kids. So that clock still has a really long time before it runs out. And I refuse to even look up how many days because that’s not how I want to spend my life anymore.
I wonder how many days were spent daydreaming, or being sad that could have possibly been spent in laughter and acceptance? Now, don’t get me wrong. My life with my children has been full of wonderful amazing years. Too many epically perfect moments spent with them that I cannot even begin to count. I close my eyes and can feel their little hands tapping my breast as I fed them. How their heads fit so perfectly into the crook of my arm as they fell asleep against me after a hard day in the real world. How my heart broke alongside them as they experienced their first heartbreak, skinned knee, or social rejection. How I sailed on their pure joy as they discovered a rainbow for the first time, or showed me their latest art creation, or how my heart filled to bursting as I passed the bathroom and paused to listen to whatever song they were singing in the shower so freely. Every secret they’ve trusted me with. Every tear I’ve wiped away. Every hug I memorize so when I’m feeling low I can close my eyes again and feel their warmth and strength lift me up and surround me once more.
That’s why I sometimes mourn, but mainly celebrate the next step in my eldest’s journey. I am so excited for her, and what her path in life will be.
It’s funny the things that seemed so important in my 20s to what made me, me are so trivial now. I am a product of the life I produced and surrounded myself with. I don’t remember ever saying, “when I grow up I want to be a wife and mother.” those were not goals I set for myself. But somehow, that’s what I became, despite my lack of looking for either. But it’s seriously taken me 39 years to realize I am still myself. That I can be a wife, and a mother, and still be me.
I suppose I’m a slow learner. I wish I would have just known this shit instinctually so I would have never given myself such a stupid time frame to look forward to.
So if you happen to be a young mom with no idea of how the world is going to turn out and all you can think of is the what after, I beg you to read this and stop. Relax. Enjoy your life for what it’s become. Rejoice. It will be hard. Those moments when all of your other kid-less friends are out having fun and you’re stuck at home with a miniature human spewing from both ends will be rough, sure. But don’t envy your friends. Smile that they are out having a good time doing their own thing. Cause while they are doing them, you are doing you, and trust me, you are still you. It might be different than you imagined, but you can still love life and enjoy yourself. Just, in another way. Blink and it will be over. And then you’ll be like me, sitting, writing a blog on why you wish you knew then what you know now. ❤