What Life Looks Like Right Now – and What I Miss About Before

Tonight I was watching a YouTube vlog by a couple who live in Vancouver. Nothing much was happening. They were eating tacos. Walking home at dusk. Talking about work. It made me think of life before H came along. Jesse and I were married eleven years before she made her appearance. Engaged for four before that. How many evenings looked just like that—dinner out, home, working in yoga pants. (Me, obviously.) (I’ve tried to tell Jesse how much better his life would be if he’d wear yoga pants.) (He doesn’t buy it.) (His loss.)

Watching the video, I had a picture of us in Orlando. Hot, humid dusk, walking out of a brightly lit restaurant with air conditioning blasting. I can hear the traffic and I can smell the city, the damp, just-rained smell on the pavement. The orange buzzing street light that just came on. I don’t know where we were going or what we were doing. And in a way, that’s the point. We just were.

 Life right now is sweet. Our days have a little rhythm to them. This was today: H woke up around 7:30. She and I read books while snuggled up on the couch before we woke Jesse at 8:00. I made oatmeal and coffee. Jesse went to work. Harper and I went outside with the jogging stroller for a run, which was really just a walk with some intermittent jogging. The air was hot early today, and so humid that when we came back inside I was drenched, despite mostly walking.

I cleaned up and then went to a dentist appointment while Jesse came home to play with H. Then lunch. A nap. Grocery shopping. H and I played in the kitchen, making tortillas and chipotle cashew cream and prepping jackfruit for tacos. We read more books. We chased each other around the house. We played make believe. She nursed. A lot. As always. We watered the plants. Marveled at a line of ants. FaceTimed the grandparents. And then H got to watch an episode of her very favorite show in all the world, Daniel Tiger, while I finished up dinner. Jesse came home. We ate. He left for band practice, and H and I got ready for bed.

And that’s it. Life right now is simple. It’s beautiful. It’s also really hard.

In my recap, I’ve obviously left out the tantrums. The bedtime struggles. The meltdowns. The falling down, the bumped knees. Sometimes I feel bored, restless, frustrated. Sometimes I lose my temper. A lot of times I lose my temper.

Years from now, I’ll think back to this time of my life and I’ll see the lovely simplicity. I’ll forget the other parts, or I’ll minimize them as I focus on the beautiful aspects of home life with my daughter.

Even though today was fairly easy, while I watched the vlog about the couple in Vancouver, I was hit with a wave of longing for those evenings with Jesse, when we’d eat late, tired from the day, curl up on the couch to watch a movie, or work on our computers with our backs to one another, turning around now and then to share something we saw or heard that day.

I miss being able to choose a restaurant based on what we wanted to eat, rather than how kid-friendly it was. When we could finish our sentences. When we would go days at a time without anyone screaming at us about anything.

(Ah, toddlerhood.)

The freedom of not always knowing what the evening would look like. Walking outside in the hot summer air, holding hands, talking or not.

What I miss, really, is the lightness of making decisions based only on what I wanted. I miss the delicious selfishness of pre-kid existence. (If you don’t have kids, I’m not calling you selfish. Disclaimer.) Every decision these days is made with my daughter in mind. And because I’m still nursing, that carries over to what I eat and drink. Since I got pregnant with her, I’ve not made a single decision that didn’t have her at the heart of it.

What I really miss is being young.

Jesse and I got married the year I graduated college. We were so so impossibly young. Too young, probably, to make such a big decision. But regardless, we did, and so our story has memories stretching back to when life really was simpler. We paid taxes for the first time together. We felt so grown up. We weren’t grown up at all.

I don’t think I ever felt truly like an adult before I had a child.

And so when I miss the time before becoming a mom, what I really miss isn’t just freedom or the lack of screeching. (Yeah, we’re in a screeching phase.) It’s being young.

As I type this, I glance over to check H on the monitor. She’s asleep, though the neighbors upstairs are doing what I imagine to be their nightly Jazzercise routine. And I know, right now in the peace of this moment, when Jesse is out and H is sleeping, I know that these days are going to be gone soon. That before too long, the screeching phase will pass, that the three of us will be able to eat at quiet restaurants, that bedtime won’t be a battle, that she’ll be able to brush her own teeth, that some of our independence will return. But with that, I also know there will be the loss of these simple days, these quiet days of baking bread together and reading stacks and stacks of library books, of pretending to be fish swimming in the ocean, of watching the ants crawl and crawl and crawl. It’s bittersweet. So bittersweet. As is everything.

Erin BondComment