Recently my college friends and I had a discussion about the moment we knew we were done having kids. For one it came to her as a random Epiphany as she was driving down the street; for another it was when her husband came home holding a bag of frozen peas on his nuts and said, “Hey guess what.”
I was 99% sure our magic number was three the entire time I was pregnant with Hadley but that pesky 1% kept me from doing anything permanent when I got my c-section. This was despite Nick’s 24/7 hard sell for me to get my tubes tied because, in his words, “J.T.the Trusty O.B. is already going to be deep in them guts.”
The 1% finally came to me when Hadley was about a month old and I hung her newborn picture in our hallway next to the other two girls’. I stepped back, looked at the three pictures hanging there and something inside me said, “This is your family.”
Then it said, “Please God just let them get through high school without getting pregnant.”
Then it said, “Hey, you know what sounds good? Taco Bell.”
Today was Ellie and Lila’s first days of pre-school. Yes, I know. Two kids in pre-school. I bet you didn’t even think that was mathematically possible.
This morning, for the first time in three years, I saw a speck of light at the end of the tunnel. The long, dark, pajama all day wearing poop wiping barfing where is that smell coming from tunnel. For two hours, two days a week it’s going to be just Hadley and me. As the other Moms lingered on the playground tearfully snapping photos, I jumped the fence and ran to my car which was still running double parked in the street so as not to waste a precious second.
All morning all I’ve been able to think about is next year when all three will be in pre-school (did that just blow your mind?) and I will have TWO hours TWO days a week ALL TO MYSELF. I’ve been giddy all day. Like, skipping around with that I Just Started Dating Someone Awesome and I Think I’m Going to Try to Baby Trap Him smile that I can’t wipe off my face. I just keep thinking about all of the things I’ll be able to do with my glorious free time.
And you know what I’m going to do? Not a god. damned. thing. I’m going to sit on my ass and eat cheese dip on the patio and stare at the trees for two hours.
I know what you’re thinking. Because I hear it a million times a day from people standing in the grocery store line. “Ooooh, I know it’s hard, but it goes so fast. Try to enjoy it and not wish it away because one day they’ll be gone and you’ll want this time back.”
And I’m desperately trying to act interested and maintain eye contact as someone AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH TOUCHED MY SIDE OF THE GROCERY CART!!! Mom. MOM. MOM!! MOM!! MOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM SHE’S ON MY SIDE MAKE HER GET OFF MY SIDE!!!
And yes, there may come a day when I will miss these times. I will actually be able to finish a meal without getting up 20 times, pee without an audience, go to dinner without packing for a camping trip, go to the gym, plant a vegetable garden without someone screaming to high heaven through a baby monitor when I’ll wish for this time back.
Wait. Never mind. The opposite of all that. I don’t think that time will ever come. In fact, I know it won’t.
Only 364 more days. And I’m going to wish every single one of them away until I have my four hours a week to eat unlimited amounts of cheese dip on the patio. And maybe get a pedicure.