Thursday, November 12, 2009

Being done

I know so many people who love babies, and think they are the prime time in parenthood. And you know, I don't agree one bit. They are precious and miraculous and I could just eat my sweet little babies' cheeks. I love watching them sleep. And I am often blown away with amazement that my ENTIRE daughter's personhood fits in my arms. That she'll be a grown woman someday, caring for her own children perhaps, and right now, she's this messy-haired, angel-faced little munchkin with limited vocabulary and falls over every few minutes...but all of her potential is hidden with this shell of a tiny, tiny little human being.

But what is MOST miraculous to me about parenthood is big kids. Seeing who they are! That's when the fun really starts. That's when all the early stuff starts making sense. The pay-off, if you will, although there aren't often many short-term pay-offs in parenting. ;)

I thought I'd be in mourning a bit when we knew our family was complete. Before I met Simone, I couldn't imagine feeling that feeling. Being done. And even during her pregnancy, I didn't have that sense. She wasn't going to be my last, I was sure of it. People kept saying, "Oh you're getting your girl? Are you done, then?" But the number of our family was so irrelevant to the sex of our little persons.

And then, I met her. Looked at her tiny little newborn face. And could not imagine bringing another person into our family. She was the one for whom I was waiting. I had no idea that could happen. All those "floating heads" I'd felt in my mind, of my children not yet born, just dissipated.

The feeling was so sudden and so resolute that I was sure it would wear off. And now, she is 15 months old. I've passed many of the junctions where I'd had the baby craze with the earlier children, but it's not come up even in passing. And knowing myself, I'd be surprised if it ever did again. The soul-fueling of my growing children is exactly where I want to be.

I thought I'd look at new babies and think, "Oh, I want one of those again!" And now I look at brand new moms and think: "You have no idea how great it's going to be. How fun it's going to be. The best is yet to come!"

I don't want to rush through my children's baby stage, but I do appreciate the evolution of our family. This sense of completion where we are.

It feels really, really good.


Rambling Rachel said...

I'm with you on this. Of course, I've never fawned over other people's babies. They never have and don't expect that they ever will make me want one.

As Anna hits 19 months, I'm so grateful that the infant stage is done and we're going to full explore toddlerhood.

I hope we're done but will welcome another. But I hope we're done. :)

H F W said...

SB, I've been thinking about this very idea of being done since I delivered Ethan and then the idea was again brought to the forefront of my mind when I read my blogger friend Corrine's post about pangs.
I wondered if I, too, would always have pangs for another taste of the newborn sweetness no matter if I had 2 or 20. And then I read this post of yours, and I think I know better what I'm feeling. I think there's maybe another person I'm just waiting to meet and that's why I feel I just can't yet be done. I think you really hit the nail on the head when you said it doesn't have to do with gender or numbers. Thanks! You are such a beautiful writer.

Sarahbeth said...

I know exactly what you mean! Before that finalized feeling of "done," it can almost seem scary. Will I always need more, more, more babies...or just walk around in grief. I had no idea that this peace would just wash over me that said: "Okay, she's here! Everyone is accounted for. No more babies." I never could have stopped before her, though, because that ache for the child-yet-to-be was soooo strong. Now, I love looking around my bed full of babes in the morning, and know that my ENTIRE family is here. That's a cozy feeling to me. And I think that number differs with every family, but I suspect you'll know when it's time. :)