Thursday, February 27, 2014

In The Season Of Raising Little Ones, Would He Still Have Asked Me To?

Some times I have to stop and think if my husband had any idea what he was really getting himself into when he asked me to marry him. 

Scratch that. Many times, I have to stop and ask myself if my husband really knew what he was getting himself into when he asked me to marry him. And I have to think that the answer is, most often, that he had no idea and for that I should be grateful because goodness knows, as much as I'd like to think he still would have asked, some days I'm just not sure of it.

Having babies and raising them has changed me, immensely and I don't just mean in the "my heart is so much bigger now and I fully comprehend the meaning of life" way. I mean in the "I'm pretty much kind of a shell of my former self, almost unrecognizable some days" kind of way.  

I understand that pregnancy and the raising of little ones while they are still little is a season of life, one that I know I am blessed and lucky to experience. After all, that's what every blog, book and peer on social media tells me every where I turn. Trust me, I am grateful. I am utterly grateful to the point of worry that one day all of this wonderful-ness will be taken from me and my world, my whole world, will be shattered into smithereens.  

But when I look down at my lap, shielded by my enormous belly, one that bears stains of diaper cream, washable marker and whatever the boys ate for lunch that day, I cringe. I can't help but ask myself, "Where is the woman my husband fell in love with eleven years ago?" 

I know deep down she is beneath this mess, hiding in there somewhere. That carefree college co-ed with the bright smile, dewy skin and envious waistline.

The one who graduated at the top of her class and went on to pursue one of the most rewarding professions in the world, nursing. The one who held the hands of the dying, breathed life into their bodies, witnessed miracles and made a difference. The one who was so Type-A, her organization was sickening, her lists even had lists.  

Today that woman is exhausted. Her hair is piled a top her head, not a stitch of make up to be seen on her face, the only color highlighting her tired eyes is the purplish hue in the bags that hang beneath them. She's wearing her husband's flannel pajama pants not only because they're the only thing that fits and is comfortable but because they are also one of the few items of clean laundry to be found in the house.

She no longer spends her days saving lives but rather raising them. Pouring nearly every bit of her own being into these tiny little souls that will one day, with any hope, grow up to be kind, compassionate and contributing members of society. A task whose end result is difficult to measure in story books read, peanut butter sandwiches made and  heinies diapered. 

She greets her husband most evenings not at the door but with an audible sigh, sometimes refusing to even leave her place at the table or the couch because she's just too tired to move, making him come to her for a welcome kiss home. 

The only lists she makes now are grocery lists. Occasionally she writes a list of tropical destinations she dreams of jetting off too but they, too, are quickly replaced by reality: food items the pantry lacks, things around the house that need fixing, upcoming obstetrician visits and well child exam appointments. 

Some days I look at myself in the mirror and I hardly recognize the face staring back at me. 

What happened to that woman?

On a good day, you can see a glimmer of that fire that was once in her eyes. Much like she does, it just looks a bit... different. She lives her days, or tries to, with the same passion and dedication that she once did, however it's instilled in other things now.  Certainly not herself or her patients, for she has long since donned her proverbial nurse's cap, not in a professional setting anyways. Nor is it instilled really in her appearance, that by 32 weeks pregnant, her effort and attire might say nothing more than, "I've given up."  

But it can be seen in the way she mothers her little boys, the way she loves her family. In the way that she  sacrifices for them, the way that she puts their needs well before her own. That no matter how difficult it is to stretch out on the floor and play trains, she does it. That although it's taxing, she carries them on her hip when they ask, lays with them before bed each night, shifting the weight of her enormous swollen belly to allow them to curl their tiny bodies into hers. 

That she wakes with them in the middle of the night, night after night, and sits with them, willing her tired eyes to stay open as she strokes their hair, whispering sweet and pleasant things, shaking them of the nightmares that startled them awake. 

And with whatever passion is left at the end of the day, she gives it over to her husband. It may not always be in the form of the attention he so desperately desires, but it's there in a kiss after the boys are in bed. A hot meal on the table. A whispered "thank you" for everything he does for her and the boys, something she doesn't say nearly enough.

She would like to think, that after knowing all of this, that the man she fell in love with years ago, when she was better rested, more patient, better organized, thinner, more relaxed, some days prettier and more motivated than others... that he still would have gotten down on one knee and asked her that question.

Full well knowing that the woman she was that day may be lost in translation years later. That although she would be the same girl but in a different season of life, she would perhaps need a little help, a little encouragement in rediscovering herself and dusting off those parts of herself that disappear in the mess that is raising little ones. 

Deep down she knows that woman is still very much a part of her and much like the different seasons in life, she knows, one day, she won't have to look nearly has hard to find her. 

She knows, deep down, that yes, had he known the woman she would become down the road, that absolutely, without a doubt, he still would have asked her to marry him.     

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  1. I do believe, my friend, that this is one of your best posts ever. And I can so relate to this. I found myself just nodding in agreement over and over.


  2. This, AP, is absolute perfection. You're such an inspiration and a beautiful woman inside and out! *goosebumps at the end. Love it!!

  3. I can relate to everything you mentioned in this post - beautiful.

  4. I posted on IG too. My hsuband and I had a similar conversation about this sitting on the couch as we counted contractions (that have yet to actually birth this baby). He sees the same girl, the same passion just directed in a different direction. I am sure his love for you has grown stronger with each witnessed hug, boo-boo kiss and night waking just as yours has grown for him with each wrestling session, welcome home hugs and air throws. Parenting is not for the faint of heart but it definately bonds those that are truly deeply in love. I wouldnt change my decision in the man I chose to father my children for anything and I assure you, your husband feels the same way! He probably would have asked you sooner had he known what a wonderful life partner and mother you would become :)

  5. Beautifully written - I have tears streaming down my face and I can so relate. . .and I know too, at the end of the day, the woman my husband fell in love with is there and he loves me now like he loved me then.

  6. I agree that this is probably one of your best posts. We grow and marriages change throughout the years and we experience so many different seasons. Oftentimes I find myself asking the same question. You are such a fantastic mother AND wife and I'm sure your husband sees that and loves you more with each passing day.

  7. This post gave me the chills, AP. I love how you described your life, then and now. I can picture it. I'm sure that your husband would have DEFINITELY gotten down on one knee even if he knew what he was getting himself into. If anything, I'm sure the AP you are now is one he loves even more. You did after all, mother his children. xo

  8. I wonder this myself sometimes. Being as large and in charge as I am now, I'm a shell of my former self as well. Sometimes I get a little burst of energy and that old spunk is back, but usually by the time my husband comes home I'm done for the day. He told me one night that he was looking forward to "getting the old me back". And it made me sad. I knew what he meant, and he certainly wasn't complaining, but we definitely haven't been the old "us" lately. There have been no random dinners with one too many margaritas that have led to silly conversations and crazy nights. It's pretty much wake up, work, home, eat, couch, bed, lather, rinse, repeat. And then I wonder how much of the "old me" that I will really get back. We can't just pick up and take off anymore. I just hope that we can grow with each other in these new versions of "us", as his life is definitely going to change more soon. I hope that many years down the road and maybe another kid or two, he would still have asked me.

  9. This is really beautiful, AP. I can so relate and I often wonder the same thing. I can't count the number of times when I've looked at myself in the mirror and tried to squint to see the girl that I was when my husband and I fell in love 11 years ago. I hope, like your husband, that my husband would just a quickly get on one knee and choose this crazy adventure with me knowing everything that life had in store for us. It's so good to be grateful and I'm sure just as you're grateful for him, he's so so grateful for you.

  10. This post is beautiful, AP. And I so relate. I can't tell you how many times I've stood in front of the mirror and tried to squint to find the girl that my husband fell in love with eleven years ago. I'd like to think that knowing what he knows now, that he'd still get down on one knee and choose to tackle life's adventures with me. I'm sure that your husband feels the same. And your gratitude for him clearly shows and I'm sure he's equally grateful that he chose you.

  11. Beautiful. I have felt the same way on more than one occasion. He's changed too, but I think in the long run we love each other more since becoming parents we now see different facets that we didn't know we had. Brought tears to my eyes :-)

  12. Well this just made me cry. 29 weeks pregnant with our first and you just verbalized all my fears and made me feel better about them

  13. This is exactly how I feel!! I struggle with remembering who I was before all of the time!

  14. Love this post to the ends of the earth. I'm still in that pre-children stage, and you give me so much hope for how to continue to grow as a woman, a wife - and eventually a mother.

  15. I'm with everyone else. Hands down, one of your best posts ever.

  16. Loved this! Your writing is awesome!

  17. oh AP, this is just the sweetest. i am sure he loves you now more than ever and in a whole new light never thought possible :)
    isaiah and i were just talking last night about how he wants to go on a date, the 2 of us but I'm so tied to C and never want to leave him. it was hard! but it really made me think about the girl i use to be too. mommy life.

  18. This post is just fantastic. Absolutely beautiful, and I think something that crosses every woman's mind who is in that season of life. (Heck, I'm not even in that season and I think about it!)


  19. I am literally crying reading this right now. Your words have never touched me more. I am mother to just one little boy, and have already been wondering some of the same things you wrote about today. Sometimes it seems that motherhood sucks out more than you even have to give! But is so, so worth it. So beautifully, unbelievably worth it. Thank you for writing this today, AP. And for reminding all of us mothers out there that we aren't alone when we wonder where our young, childless selves went when they exited the building for motherhood to come on in.

  20. Beautiful! We are trying to start a family, and this was such an inspirational read. <3

  21. This was definitely my most favorite post of yours- I absolutely it! You painted such a true representation of how a lot of us in this season of life feel, and it's inspirational in the sense that sometimes we just need to know we aren't the only ones feeling a certain way. Thank you for this!

  22. I just want to reach through the computer and hug you. Not because it's hard, this AMAZING time (though it is), not because I totally feel what you're saying in every word (which i do), but because I think these things so much. And there are so many days that I just It doesn't mean I would ever ever ever trade what I have...but I just miss me. ya know. the unplanning not type A me.


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