(See what I did there?)
My babies turned one two Saturdays ago, and there's been so much upheaval around here that I'm only now getting a spare minute to talk it out. I managed to carve out the time before our big renovation exodus to pick some key photos from the past year and was basically reduced to tears the entire time I spent scrolling through their sparse photo albums on my computer.
I'm feeling pretty guilty for how quickly the year has gone by and how little I have to show for it. I can't believe they are a YEAR old. I can't believe they went from being the scrawniest, most inept breathers and eaters, to the robust (though still on the small side) characters they are now. I can't believe how much they've changed and how it happened without me noticing, even though I spend almost every waking moment with them. I'm feeling guilty about how I wasn't present enough with them, and how I wasn't that doting, super-attachment parenting mom, and how the reality of our living situation basically means that they learned from very young to be self reliant and got accustomed to a lot of autonomy. I'm feeling guilty that a whole year is GONE. Gone. Done. Their entire first precious year, reduced to some photos and hazy memories.
On a certain level, I can rationalize that it's always going to feel like this with your kids. Especially when you're as baby-hungry as I am. But I feel like I didn't soak it up enough. I feel like I didn't relish every moment with these guys. I have hundred and hundreds of photos of the Big Yam from my mat year leave with him. These guys? A fraction of that. I wanted to document, to chart, to capture every moment and instead I get a stuttering jump-cut representation of this year. And guys, really? It was a hard, hard, hard year. I know, I'm the original tough guy. I don't complain (a lot). I take what I'm given and I plow through. That's my way. My low days this year were very, very low. Maybe it's for the best that I only have the greatest hits reel?
I know some moms who are WITH their kids. Like, WITH THEM. 24/7 love. Moms where every cry is answered with a comforting hand on a brow, a shush, cuddles until eyelashes rest on chubby cheeks, where all their actions are narrated for the developmental benefit of the growing minds in their charges, moms who drink in their babes every second of the day. I'm not that mom. Sometimes I wish I was that mom - there's a niggling part of me that suspects that those moms have better reserves of patience and unending wellsprings of love for their children, and don't sit there juggling sourcing floor tile on the computer, negotiating with the patio door people on the phone, and organizing oil changes for the car in a paper day timer, while their babies do laps around the main floor, only looking up when their babies pull down cake stands on themselves or the babies are already halfway up the stairs.
This post has taken me about three days to write and I'm exhausted and I can't pull a coherent thought together. In summation: I'm sad they're so big, I love them to the ends of the earth, I want to put the breaks on time, I resent capitalism and modernity for making me less able to savour my time with them.
This year has challenged me in ways I couldn't have imagined. As far as day-in, day-out goes, I still think my time in a professional kitchen was more consistently difficult, but this year has pushed and stretched me. I've still got a lot of growing to do and I'm hoping that I can be given the grace to become the parent I want to be.
I love them so f**king much.