I caught Cian’s barf in my bare hands Friday. I think I’ve turned a corner, motherhood-wise.
He was sitting beside me on the couch as I worked on my (other) website. Laptop in my lap, sleepy baby on my shoulder. My brother called, and as we talked, Cian fell asleep against me (his first nap in months, but that’s another story), hot and sweaty with a broken fever after a very long night of (computer-less) cuddle time. My brother and I hung up. And then Cian woke up. And then Cian leaned back against a “pih-row”, started crying, sat back up, and threw up his lunch. Which I caught (go, mama!) in my hands WHILE managing to keep my laptop from crashing to the floor.
It’s the small things.
I had a friend, a very close friend–one I would’ve told you three years ago was one of my best–move away a couple of years ago and drop contact, for reasons I still haven’t been able to pin down. We’re still Facebook friends, but that’s the extent of our interaction. Last week, she posted a way-too-cute announcement that she’s expecting her fourth child. And I’ll be honest with you: while my second reaction to her news was this weird sort of happy bittersweet feeling (“Wow. There’s so much I’ve missed.”), my second feeling was…jealousy. You know jealousy, don’t you? It’s that mean little knife that twists around your belly, makes tears spring to the backs of your eyes. It makes you feel small, and sad. You don’t understand it–it often surprises you–and yet. It still springs up when you least expect it. I was jealous of my former friend for expecting her fourth child.
Now, let’s back up for a moment here: I am happy with my life. Even when I am stressed (all the time), and overwhelmed (each day), and feeling like I’m not doing anything well enough, I can still say that I am fully conscious of all the good. I can do a decent enough job of stripping away the “why don’t we?”s and the “I wish we”s and try to focus on here. I wish I saw my friends more, and still haven’t quite gotten used to this strange new house (and won’t be until Dave and I retire to that little seaside cottage I’ve already designed in my head), and there will never be enough money to paint that and plant this and buy that, but seriously, if I ever complain about any of that, just find my marbles and pour them back into my head, because clearly I’d have lost them.
I did want another child, though. Do I sound like an asshole? I got three, and I’m sitting here saying I’m sad about not having another. I do sound like an asshole. But we can’t have another baby. Or rather I can’t, and there’s nothing I can do about it, and even though financially and emotionally and attenionally (not a word, just made it a word), we are fully–and finally–a family with three, I’d have loved (at least the idea of?) another. I can’t imagine going through it all over again. But…I wish that door hadn’t been closed for me. I wish I’d still had the option.
Silly human, always wanting more than what she has.
Cian had gone to bed sniffling the night before the couch vomit episode, full of snot and sick. About an hour later, I was sitting in the living room on the computer (yes, again. I have a book coming out. This involves a lot of…book-y things, none of which have to do with actual writing. Or I was just on Facebook. It’s six of one), and I heard the cough-cough-YACK that is the telltale sign of a puker–if you have a dog, you know the sound. YAAAAAACK. It’s horrible. Cian and his youngest big sister are what I call Mucus Yackers. They don’t have to have the flu, or a stomach bug–anything as simple as a minor cold can upset their stomachs to the point where they are upchucking all over the house: bedsheets, the breakfast table, the couch. You name it. They swallow a mouthful, and up comes a stomachful. I’ve come to expect it. Cough-couch-YACK and I was already up the stairs while David grabbed clean sheets for the crib.
(“Oh, yuck,” Cian said that night, once he was wrapped in a towel after his second bath of the evening. “What HAP-peened?”
Which leads me back to the next afternoon, with Cian throwing up, and me catching it. See, here’s the thing: not only did I catch it, in my hands–without gagging, mind you. This was big–but I didn’t drop an ounce. And MOREOVER, I managed to–while holding the gloppy putrid mess of upchuck in my outstretched hands–managed to catch and wipe that last strand hanging from Cian’s mouth (there’s always that last dangler) before it could drip onto his shirt. THE MUCUS YACKER REMAINED UNSCATHED. My laptop remained aloft. I did not gag up my grande-flat-white-with-whole-milk-bought-with-a-Starbucks-gift-card-five-hours-earlier. It was a good moment, as stomach acid upheavals go.
There’s always going to be somebody not throwing up today, you guys. There’s always going to be someone who buys a house with actual trees in the backyard (say what?). There’s always going to be someone going on that vacation, running that race, and yes, getting pregnant with that new baby. Always. And our only jobs as the good little humans we try to be is to keep our eyes on our own tree-less backyards, work really, really hard at what we’re supposed to be doing, and just be happy enough that on the days we do have to catch the barf, we’re able to do it in time.
There’s no reason to be jealous of anything or anyone. I got the barf that day. I’m right where I’m supposed to be.
So are you.