Crossposted from my main blog
I counted down the months today. April, May, June, July. Only four... my stomach twisting into a tight knot of regret. I wish I hadn't counted.
"How long now Mama," she's asked for the last year. I replied with a made up number, not wanting to think of it.
Until she caught on and I was forced to face the reality.
11 years prior, I'd started wistfully counting, tacking on more years with each child I birthed. The years until school, until my house was quiet and I could actually think. The children running wild through the house; screaming, playing, painting my walls KoolAid red, I longed for even one moment of silence.
But somewhere along the way I stepped back, as each one went off in turn, the years sliding away like a Popsicle on a hot, summer day. And wished for them back. The late nights staring into wide eyes, the bumps and bruises of one, the tantrums of independence at two, the endless hugs and kisses. Me their entire world.
The guilt overpowering some days, that maybe I'd parented better with my last two. The first two, only three days shy of a year apart, a time of survival. Feeling my way around like a newborn kitten until the third was born and I felt more secure. By number four I'd relaxed into parenting and was blessed with two years alone with her as the others tromped off to school.
And here I am now, four months away, wishing I could roll back time.
"Aren't you excited?" Well meaning people ask me, more and more frequently.
And I find that I'm not. She's supposed to be my little one, my baby. And somehow she's grown tall and her features are that of a girl.
She thinks thoughts I don't know. Soon enough she'll look at me with exasperation like my older daughter and I'll be left waiting for those fleeting moments of being let in on her world.
She's ready to fly away, all of five, as her brothers and sister have done before her. I see her watching the other children at the school, reaching out to them. I assess the teachers who will care for my baby and pray they aren't mean. I'm clinging to these last days.
I'll adjust,I'm sure, as I've done before. Writing and thinking, in a silence, that on some days will remind me more of them, than the loudest noise ever will. I probably will enjoy it and find a new place, a new definition of me without a shadow in my image, following along behind. But I'll stop and listen and grab each moment, remembering this counting and how the years pass...so quickly.