My husband, Kyle and I were up past 1:00 am last Saturday night. That definitely falls into the really late category for a couple of thirty something’s with two little girls under the age of 6. Usually our evenings end not long after we tuck our girls into bed. The nightly routine includes Kyle falling asleep on the couch right after Jimmy Fallon’s monologue and me retreating to my computer to work on my website.
It’s a fairly routine system in our household.
It wasn’t always that way, of course. If you’re a parent, you’ve been here too. The early years with potty training and late night feedings and screaming babies are a blur. And when you bring two baby girls into the world less than two years apart, you can double the amount of time before you’ll see a normal schedule again.
But back to 1:00 am.
We stayed up late to watch a movie because we wanted to. We knew we would be tired in the morning, but we didn’t mind. We knew this kind of tired would be easily solved with a Sunday afternoon nap. It’s this kind of tired we missed so very much during those really early baby years.
Because the baby years kind of tired, the one where you can’t keep your eyes open because your sweet baby girl needs your attention at 3:00 am, is tough to handle. You do it, because you love your babies and you wanted them so badly. You couldn’t wait to see their little face and tickle those snuggly baby toes and hear that precious baby laugh.
But you’re pretty excited when they can clean their own toes and use the toilet and feed themselves, too. That’s where we are. Finally, after six years, Kyle and I can come up for air. Our girls are old enough to care for themselves and play together and give us moments of peace on a Sunday afternoon for a nap.
It’s a good place to be.
But lately, I’ve been hearing the sound of a clock. At first, the ticks were faint, but as the years zoom by at a speed I’m failing to recognize, the clicking turns into a loud clunk.
The clunk is now clanking on my biological clock. And I’m trying to give myself an honest answer; do we want any more kids?
I always thought I wanted a large family. I’m the youngest of four girls. In my teenage years when my friends and I would get together for sleepovers, I was the one that said I’d have at least three kids, probably four. But I also claimed I’d be living in New York City with those children, working on my dream job, living with my dream husband and spending every other weekend with my extended family.
Most of that story is true. But New York City ended up being Kearney, Nebraska. And four kids ended up being two. And I wonder; do I really want more kids or am I afraid to let go of a dream I thought I once knew?
Did I soak in the baby years? Did I bottle up those silent moments in the wee hours of the morning with those innocent beings? Am I afraid to say I’m done because I want to hold on to a time in my life that I know is fleeting?
I’m not sure.
You all told me it would go fast and it has. Those really tired moments, the ones where I couldn’t keep my eyes open because my tiny little girls needed to be rocked, or held or fed or hugged – are gone. Just like that, they’re gone. And I’m afraid when I wake from my afternoon nap, the next chapter in this life will have passed, too.
And I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready for that routine.