My plane is delayed, so I’m at Dunedin airport by myself. I’ve just had a lovely three day holiday in the Catlins with an old friend, lots of walking and chatting, a couple of swims in a cold south sea. It’s been pretty magic. But I’m also looking forward to going back to my normal life – I miss my boys. And I’m looking forward to doing this sort of holiday with them, they’re almost big enough for it.
D turned four last week, and B turns two in a month. They’re playing together really well at the moment. They need me much less. I’m finding myself feeling quite ambivalent about this.
There are lots of positives – my husband and I had a night away together recently, which was so needed! It makes me feel like there’s more scope for interesting career opportunities, or to spend more time on other pursuits. Which is great.
At the airport, seeing other little ones, instead of feeling wonderfully free in contrast, I miss mine. Not just as they are now, I miss them all the way back. I miss D as a tiny baby when we first took him up to Auckland. I miss B as a newly toddling baby when we came back from my cousin’s wedding last April. I feel those memories start to blur, it goes too fast to hold on tight to all those versions of babyhood, and I don’t feel ready for it to be over forever.
We might or might not decide to have a third. I can feel it going either way. We’d always thought we’d have three, even when I was just about to give birth to B I thought we’d have a third. Then as soon as he was born I realised we could stop at two. It’d make life easier. I have loved treating his baby days as though he might be my last, but now – I’m really wondering about having another. Not immediately, I don’t what to be pregnant again soon. But maybe next year? Maybe once D is at school?
I’d like to be able to go back in time and visit my boys. Visit myself as a new mother, let myself know it all turns out ok. I can’t tell yet whether I’m feeling the bittersweetness of the end of a phase, or whether this is the start of really wanting another baby. I’ll recognise it if I feel it, wait and see if this builds or wanes. If it turns into desire that defies logic, the love-in-waiting, the sense of rightness despite knowing the extra challenges, the sense that one more will be a gift to the children we already have.
Or, instead (maybe) – deciding to wait for other outlets for that spare caregiving energy, even if you don’t know when those opportunities will come up.