Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Birthday Blues


Every year around this time the same thing happens. December rolls around and brings with it so much excitement in our lives. P, J and I love Christmas and Hanukkah. I look forward to watching my girl open all of her gifts. I agonize over what to get her. I use the entire break from work to plan her birthday party in January, and that is when it hits me. Every. Single. Year. Just like the weight of an elephant sitting on my chest. My daughter is another year older.

It shouldn't make me sad. It is irrational in every way, yet every year it is the same process of grief. Watching back old videos of my squishy baby as she learned to sit up, crawl, and the walk. Looking at the pictures on Facebook from the day she way born, and the pictures I took each month to mark her growth. What I used to celebrate--I now mourn. Maybe I am just that sentimental. Maybe it is just me, but I have a feeling that I am not the only one.

It stems from many different issues within myself. The sadness and guilt that I feel for all of the time I have missed with her over the last year because I was working each day. Add the guilt I feel for the exhaustion that I greet her with each afternoon when she is just so excited to see me. I die a little bit inside if I let myself think about it. I know that she has grown into this brilliant, beautiful, and independent girl because of her school, but part of me will always feel guilty for sending her. I would make that choice a million times over. It was the right one for her and for our family, but I know that I miss a lot.

Then there is the other BIG issue in my life. That big question that I get asked at least twice a week. Will this be the last 3rd birthday I have to plan, or will there be another child? We go back and forth and by WE--I really mean J. While I have moments--mostly when P is being a typically Todzilla--where I think 1 is enough, but I always snap back to reality. I cannot imagine not doing it all over again. And if I really let myself think about it, it's devastating. If for some reason I couldn't have another, then I would be more than thankful for the one I have, but the idea of choosing to cheat myself out of this wonderful experience--that is a whole other animal.

I am fairly certain that most of my birthday blues stems from this last issue more than the first. As P gets older the finality of our family becomes more probable to me. The further J is away from the diapers and the midnight feedings--the less he is willing to entertain the conversation. The result is me sitting in the guest room sniffing old baby clothes with tears streaming down my cheeks.

I'm not saying any of this to bash my husband--I totally understand and can validate all of his feelings. I get it, and I even agree on some of his points. But this feeling is not a rational feeling. It is a hormonal, and maybe even primal urge. Chalk it up to evolution, nature--whatever. I cannot control myself.

Last weekend, Piper's friend Annabelle turned 3 and we went to her party. Annabelle recently got a new baby sister. I finally got to hold the baby at the end of the party, and it definitely made it worse. She smelled so amazing. She had that baby smell--you know what I mean? It's that sweet smell that is contained to their heads. I just kept sniffing her. Creepy-I know. The next day, Piper asked where her Ailey and Hampton (her other friend's baby brother) were? At first I just thought she meant where the actual babies were, but after talking with her I realized she was asking me where her baby sibling was. I told her that she didn't have a baby brother or sister, and then asked her if she wanted one. She said she did (sometimes she says she doesn't want one). I told J I had to go to the bathroom, but I really went and cried.

P is more than what I dreamed she would be, and I love her so completely that the next 15 year with her living under our roof will never be enough for me. She will have to have a room for me in her apartment at college--because I am moving in. When her birthday comes I will smile and celebrate with the whole family and all of her friends, but as I put her to bed that night I am sure that I will shed a few tears. I don't ever want this time in my life to end.

Happy Hump Day!
Caroline

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