Time to Slam into a Brick Wall – Again

Time

Have you ever looked at your crying, runny nosed, unrelenting, needing ‘who knows what’ baby and felt like time was standing still? Like you were stuck in an unending merry-go-round of feeding, changing, cleaning, carrying, repeat? I felt that way many times 18 years ago. Some days I thought I’d never get through it. I was miserable and my new son was an uncommunicative alien who was unreasonable and sucking the life out of me. 

I’d been on the fast track with my career in a very powerful, rapidly expanding National communications company as purchasing manager. The money, benefits and four weeks vacation time was great. I was proud of my job, my abilities and my company. I’d worked my ass off after graduating to go from a very small assistant position to this amazing dream job dealing with upper level execs and million dollar contracts. It felt great and I didn’t feel the need to rest after 60 hour work weeks. 

Let’s go back a bit more:

As a teen living on her own at 17, I decided on the following five goals for my life:

  1. college,
  2. career,
  3. marriage,
  4. house,
  5. baby.

In that order.

What I didn’t realize, could never have anticipated, was that the fifth goal would be the most life altering. And frustrating. And fulfilling. Having a baby to look after at home felt to me like stepping off of a moving sidewalk and slamming into a brick wall. I had no idea how it would affect me. I’d dealt with the conniving, underhanded and sneaky world of corporate politics and suppliers. I’d navigated – successfully – the dating scene finding my best friend and partner swimming in the ‘fish’ laden sea. I’d bought a house and owned more of it then the bank did. None of that prepared me for Thing 1.   

baby

Being a person who had to be good at communicating to achieve success at work, I was not prepared for the adorable, fussy, fascinating and totally illogical creature Thing 1 was.

I realize now, 18 years later, that there were SO MANY good days. It was just impossible to appreciate them while I was in the thick of it. I had several favourite times of the day. Naked time for kicking was great fun for both of us. Those chubby little limbs kicking, eliciting a surprised look on his face then bonking his fist into his nose in excitement. Bath time in the little tub on the bathroom counter – how he loved the warm washcloth on his face and head. His mouth would form a little ‘o’ when we dripped water on his face, fists would wave around. 

Then there was the sleeping issue – we managed to train him to only fall asleep in our arms. Oops. Ferber-ized at 9 months. Not a good time. He was a holdout and dragged that experience out longer than was healthy for my marriage, (visualize hubs holding me back from going in to ‘save’ the tortured, screaming baby.) Thanks kid. 

I remember Thing 1’s first time in the bouncy seat in the doorway. As soon as he realized the reaction he was able to achieve by kicking at the pile of pillows under his feet he was off and bouncing like a crazy fiend. Much of life has been like that for Thing 1 – cause and effect.   Thing1 time

Mostly good thoughts now. 18 years ago though I thought I was going insane. I had trouble adjusting with this new boss. He was irritable, demanding, hard to anticipate and as soon as I’d figured him out – he’d go and change everything. He wouldn’t let me go to the bathroom on my own or ever take a shower in private. He gave me no guidance at all on what he expected me to do to succeed at this job. My daily goals ceased being SMART and became just about getting through the day until hubs got home from work. Well, at least the drive was good. And the pay – one little smile made everything worthwhile. Sort of. OK today I think it was a great payment system. Actually, smiles are still pretty awesome rewards to get.  

This week, Thing 1 celebrated his 18th birthday. He’s begun his 19th year. He’s mastered the art of getting to sleep on his own, even though his bedtime is way too late in my opinion. He bathes himself now – quite successfully from the smell of him, (and the amount of water he uses.) He doesn’t use that bouncy seat anymore – at 6’4” it wouldn’t be prudent, but his does drive all by himself. And of course, no more naked time – that’s ok since the chubby baby leg creases disappeared long ago. 

We celebrated the birthday with a group of his closest friends this past weekend. Baseball, BBQ, swimming and more baseball. They gathered for his birthday but it was also one of the last times this group will meet up to celebrate their youth, freedom and the incredible, shiny bright potential filled futures stretching before them as they head off to their respective universities and colleges. 

There will be weeping, but I’ll try to hide it in front of his friends. It’s a bittersweet time wanting desperately to hang on to this alien life I created and still haven’t completely figured out, but knowing in my heart that this is what needs to happen next as he plots his way towards his own goals. 

tracks time

Time doesn’t feel like it’s standing still anymore. Today, it feels like too soon tomorrow will bring ‘moving in’ day and we’ll leave him there at his school, far away from the safety of “us”. I long for those golden days of being the centre of my baby’s universe. Of his helpless dependence on me to make him smile. As unprepared as I felt to bring him into this world 18 years ago, I feel like I am equally as unprepared to set him free now.   


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Comments (12)

  1. Rosita
    July 30, 2015 - 10:13 pm Reply

    Beautifully written, Carin! I can relate to your raw honesty at the life stage I’m at right now.

  2. July 31, 2015 - 10:27 pm Reply

    I’ve got one that’s just turned 18 also, with another at 16. I wish time would slow down just a little.

    Thanks so much for sharing your post at the Pretty Pintastic party!

    • PooBah
      August 1, 2015 - 10:54 am Reply

      Me too! Thing 1 is 18 and Thing 2 is 16. Gaaahh!! It’s too fast!
      The Party was Pinteresting! Thanks for doing it. 🙂

  3. August 7, 2015 - 1:41 am Reply

    #midlifeluv I agree. No one tells you how much you will love the baby. Nothing can prepare you for it. My youngest is 18 now. Nice to meet you.
    Janice

  4. August 7, 2015 - 7:53 am Reply

    I just watched my second and last baby bird leave the nest. He started college this summer and my daughter is actually in NYC doing an internship for 2 months, then back to school in October only to graduate in December and head back to NYC for good. They individually sucked the life out of me at very different times…my son as a baby (seriously he didn’t eat, sleep or poop for the first 3 years) and my daughter waited until 13 and then it was like an alien had landed in our house. But this is parenthood and it definitely isn’t for the faint at heart. Let your baby go…you did good no doubt raising him and have no fear, he’ll be back to empty your refrigerator again in the blink of an eye 🙂 Thanks for sharing via #MidLifeLuv!

  5. August 7, 2015 - 1:19 pm Reply

    All three of mine have “left the nest.” I can barely even remember them as babies… but when I read “bouncy seat” in this piece, the memories all flooded back! sniff, sniff!

    • PooBah
      August 7, 2015 - 1:36 pm Reply

      😉 I guess those feelings will always be with us. Can’t imagine the ‘grand-baby’ days being any less feelings intense. Although I don’t mind waiting for that lol.

  6. October 23, 2015 - 2:00 pm Reply

    This is my greatest fear! I’m deep in the “I’m going insane” days, and far from the “leaving the nest days” with a 2.5 year old and almost 7 year old. There are many days when I long for them to be just a bit more independent and a bit less clingy, when I long to have my bed back to myself again, but I know that all too soon I’ll miss it desperately. Is there no happy in between??

    (PS, so awesome to meet you finally at Blissdom)

    • PooBah
      October 23, 2015 - 3:52 pm Reply

      I haven’t found the in-between yet. I guess in another 10 years or so I’ll be able to start all over again with grand babies! Hopefully. 🙂 Something to look forward to.
      Great to meet you too! Looking forward to working with you at http://creativesides.ca/ !

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