Friday, October 2, 2009


I quit working about five weeks before Clark was born. During that time I couldn't carry Frances because I was so hugely pregnant and uncomfortable, which meant that everywhere we went we walked at her 16-month-old pace. I had a great time with her then. Going to the park, the grocery, the museum, just climbing up and down the front steps. I didn't want it to end. In fact, when Clark was born I mourned the loss of my alone time with Frances, something I blogged a little about here. That blog post doesn't really describe the sorrow I felt. Loss, sadness, something gone from me forever. My relationship with Frances changed, irrecoverable.

But! Something interesting is transpiring. Clark is now about the age Frances was when he was born. (This is hard for me to believe... I CAN NOT imagine having a newborn right now omg.) And now with Frances in school in the mornings, Clark and I have some time to ourselves. Today I trimmed one of the trees out front and he helped me drag the limbs to the curb. He was adorable--so excited to be helping, pulling a leafy branch behind him and then heaving it onto the pile. He'd stand there and look at his success and grin, then turn and toddle to get another. Today it occurred to me for the first time that I'm getting time with him in this 18 month old stage, at just the age when I had to give up time with her. It's redeeming. I'm remembering why I so loved being with her--how much fun this age is. He's still a baby, still so cute in that baby way, but he's also able to point to the doll's ears and then his own, to say "blue" and point out everything blue in the room, to tell me through gestures that he wants pretzels and not yogurt. He has opinions, but he also finds everything so exciting that I can take his mind off trying to follow the cat across the street by suggesting he help me pull the limbs to the curb. It's not distraction with which I succeed (oh no--there's no distracting), but with suggestion of something else enticing. And there's so much in the world to see and discover!

Most of last summer, when Clark was tiny and Frances was not yet two, is for me a blur. I have a picture of them on the front steps of our new house together, but I don't remember what it was like. I don't remember what SHE was like. I was so entangled in taking care of a newborn, so sleep deprived and overwhelmed and drained. That, combined with the loneliness and sheer effort of the move, and I feel like I lost nearly a year of her life, missed it all together. I'm glad to have his.


Paige said...

That is the sweetest post. It made me cry.

I can't quite remember now what Ozzy was like before he could talk, although I can imagine, as Marley is able to communicate so much without talking. But I wish I could remember better. I wish I hadn't been so overwhelmed with my new identity as a SAHM and the perceived need to keep the house spotless and to expose Ozzy to the world - I feel like maybe I didn't really enjoy the baby phase as much when he went through it. I was just ready for him to hit the next milestone, start walking, start talking, start being some ONE rather than some baby.

I feel sad that because Ozzy is so demanding and verbal and insistent, I don't get to enjoy Marley at the age she is now - 10 months, able to communicate a bit and so adorable and discovering everything - a BALL! a PIECE of PAPER! a CHEERIO RIGHT HERE ON THE FLOOR!! - I love this age and I feel like it's passing me in a blur, and next year when she's talking, I'll feel about her like you do about Frances. I do absolutely treasure the time Marley and I have when Ozzy is in preschool in the mornings, although since she's still napping in the morning, a big chunk of that time she's asleep.

It's nice to be reminded of these things. The biggest cliche about childhood is "It passes so fast", yet it's also truest and the most heartbreaking.

Paige said...

Also, that is the sweetest picture ever!! You look fabulous (as always).

rachel, danny, henry, claudia, and walter said...

Yes - there is give and take - I guess that is just the nature of having more than one kid! How lucky for Clark that he has some one on one time with you!

Anonymous said...

You look great, I hope you make it to the reunion!