Sunday, January 01, 2006

Storing and Soaring

You should see our living room. It's out of control. There are new shelves and bookcases and baby gates and a Pack n' Play leaning against the walls. Boxes of rice cereal and cans of formula and snack cups, scented diaper bags, a space heater, a squishy potty seat and giant rubbery letters and numbers for sticking to the bathtub walls in bags and piles everywhere else. The bedroom has several bags and piles of medications, baby and adult, filling a corner. The office has a pile of babyproofing products and an entire bin of bottles, nipples, liners and other sipping paraphenalia, left over from a New Year's Eve demonstration.

David and I spent a couple hours organizing the garage this afternoon. I actually love organizing things, but David can't quite see the point. He wanted to know why I needed all the tools and parts in separate containers when he knows where everything is by seeing it spread out on the work bench. Hmmm. He's hard to argue with, but the clutter was making me crazy. Also I keep hearing the echo of our friend Lisa's words in my head: "Get rid of everything. Babies and their stuff take up the most astounding amount of space." It's very odd that there is now an entire shelf in our garage filled with boxes of diapers, wipes and formula cans. I still can't always chase away the thought that we are pretending to have a baby when we don't.

On the other hand, I'm entering another freaked-out phase again. Tonight I was contemplating stopping our mail for the trip, musing with slight chagrin that I would miss a couple of Entertainment Weeklys while we are away, but how lovely it would be to return home and lie on the couch for several hours, drinking General Foods International French Vanilla and catching up on the celebrity goss. And then a little voice in my head went "Wait. There won't be any of that. You'll be chasing after a toddler and changing her diapers with a wicked jet lag hangover. You'll be able to catch up on your mags in, oh, maybe 2015?"

EEEK! That is a long time to go without lazing around reading magazines. And then of course I have to wonder how bizaarely contrary can I be, wishing and hoping for a baby for years, only to worry when that baby arrives that she will cut into the most base and frivolous expressions of my free time? And yet I do worry, so go figure. It's not that I worry that I won't love being a mom. It's more that I wonder if I'll think wistfully of my former lazy, independent, selfish life on more than a--let's say--monthly basis. What if I miss it every day? Does that mean I should have left well enough alone rather than luring an innocent child all the way from Chongqing to feel my resentment? Could I truly resent someone with that face? Who knows how these things work? I know, I know: many of you do. But I've sailed off the high dive here, and in that second looking down it's hard to have faith that the water's just fine.


Anonymous said...

You will resent your loss of free time.
And then Jarrah will smile, or make some cute sound or do something goofy, and whatever resentment you feel will move to the back burner.
And yes it will come back. And disappear again. And etc.
And welcome to being a parent.
Best, Gail

Anonymous said...

Exactly! Gail is right. And in a few short years she will be off to school and you will have a moment for that magazine, at which time you will probably think wistfully of her first years of toddlerhood. I keep reminding myself of this fact when I miss my old life. Parents of older children ALWAYS say to me how quickly the baby years fly by and how they miss them, so I am just trying to savor every moment. And yet I try not to feel too guilty if I occasionally yearn for baseness and frivolity nonetheless.

Miss J

Amy said...

Even though I am only 4 months in, I agree exactly with Gail. It is certainly an adventurous roller coaster...a ride with ups and downs, but a ride I wouldn't trade for anything!


Anonymous said...

Ah, to read again! A magazine, some funny thing by David Sedaris, the new Barbara Kingsolver novel... has BK even come out with a novel recently?! But, you know what, like everyone else has said, when it comes down to it, there is plenty of time for me to read books by my favorite novelist, but now is the only time to cash in on Jackson's full-mouth giggles and Ava's tongue-hanging-out smiles. Gosh, I miss free time, and there are days when I'd give anything to have some back... but those giggles and smiles are priceless. I am excited to hear about what little Jarrah-ism there is that ends up jerking you out of wishful thinking regarding free time and pulls you back into the wonderful (albeit exhausting) world of 24/7 children! And I have no doubt that it will be artfully blogged here (sometimes after midnight when you get a glimpse of what free time used to be!).
ps. want to come organize my house??? :)