Friday, September 27, 2013

What Just Happened?

I remember back when I was on the horse scene. We used to all talk about the cushy life that a racehorse lives. Seriously. Have you met a racehorse? Spoiled bunch of punks. They eat better than I do. They have servants, people who come in and brush their hair, clean up after them, clip their toenails, bring them snacks. They work really hard for about one to two years, usually leading up to one big huge event and then, after that event, they retire. They get to keep the servants. Like I said...punks.

But something happened today, something that makes me think I may have been a little too judgmental about the racehorses. Today, I sold my baby clothes...all of them. I've sold baby clothes before but it was different, it wasn't the last of my baby clothes. I kept my favorites, ya  know, for the next baby. I never really thought about what would happen when there was no next baby. When I was done. When life, as I knew it, packed up in a big Rubbermaid container and high-tailed it into the back of some stranger's crossover and drove away. But I've thought about it now. And now I want to apologize to the racehorses. Because I wonder if this is how they felt when their last race was over.

Did they go back to their stall and think, "what do I do now?" I mean, they knew it would come eventually. You can't race forever. There has to be a last race and that race has to come to an end inevitably. But still, did they really know that?

I didn't. I mean, I knew but I didn't know, ya know?

No one can have babies for forever. I knew that. I may not have set a certain number that I wanted to have or not have, but I knew that, at some point in my life, I would have to stop getting pregnant and having children. What I didn't know what how I would feel about that. That, I was completely unprepared for.

I used to laugh a little at the moms who used to say that "lost themselves" when they had children. They forgot about their spouses, their interests, their careers and ambitions. They were so silly. They obviously didn't have a good grip on who they were. They clearly just weren't good at keeping it all in check. So silly.

Today, when I came home and deleted my craigslist post for that last batch of baby clothes, it hit me. I have no idea who I am. Okay, that's not totally true. I know who I am right this moment. I know who I've been for the last ten years. What I don't know is who to be going forward. I don't know how to prepare myself for never buying another pregnancy test, never going to another ultrasound, never packing that hospital bag, never listening to my husband's voice counting during a contraction, never have that first smell of newborn baby skin, never experience that first kiss between those sweet eyes. I don't know how to not be having babies. Because for my entire adult life, I have been in the business of having babies. That's been everything. My planning for the future was centered on when we'd have the next baby. My day-to-day living was focused on how to raise my children while simultaneously nursing or lugging around thirty extra pounds of belly. I know how to do that. It's what I've been doing every day. I've trained. This was my race.

And now the race is over. And it's good. I get that it's good. I know that I've run my best. I know that the time has come for me to focus on other things, like raising this pack of crazies and teaching them to be productive human beings. There are good things ahead. And I'm excited about them. But still, I feel a little like a racehorse who has been stuck in the stall. No more races. No more roses. And where in the heck are my servants?

So yeah, today was an emotional day. The baby clothes are gone. I did what any reasonable woman would do in my situation...I ate four chocolate chip cookies and went to Sweet Frog. When the crib goes, I'm going to the Bahamas.

22 comments:

Amanda K. said...

i think what you should do is eat another cookie and take a nap.

Manda said...

I think this was the hardest part about Bryant leaving so abruptly...that I wouldn't have any more children. THAT was what I truly had to mourn. Love you Jenny. You're such a great person!

Janae @ Bring-Joy said...

It's funny because I'm sort of going through that right now. Even though I'm pregnant, & it's likely this isn't my last pregnancy.

But. I was so used to having 2,3, 4 kids at home all of the time, constantly needing me & now my older 3 are very independent & in school for a good chunk of the day. They're still young of course, but they don't need me like they used to. It's a little weird for me to just have 1 at home--I have less to juggle & more time to follow my own pursuits.

Add to this that Joseph finally has a career, a good one with sick days & paid leave & good health care & a steady paycheck. Which has brought a stability to our lives that we've NEVER had. So I'm just trying to adjust to this new stability--older, more independent kids, more free time to pursue my interests. It's kinda amazing, really.

Now is the time you get to really reap the fruits of your labor (literally). I think the real fun part begins now. My sister has older kids (teenagers & some college age kids) & she's always doing something with them--YW activities, camping, ball games. How fun is that? It's hard to enjoy all of those things when you're 8 months pregnant, just had a baby, even nursing, ya know? Times & seasons, & I think they're all great.

Anyway, race horse, dear, you're right, you can't keep having babies forever, but that's okay. You have 6 BEAUTIFUL & perfect kids. And now's your time to really enjoy that :)

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Steph Thomas said...

My biggest what do I do now has been when Allison started school. I WAS suppose to have a baby to attend and then I would have been worthwhile still. Once Allison started K and we didn't have a baby I felt VERY worthless. I wish I knew Heavenly Father's plan, but then again, we all do. I love your writing.

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