Last night I had woken up from my own vivid dream. It was a great dream and I think I have to thank my pregnancy for how detailed it was. So there I was, lying in bed thinking about this dream. Then, all the sudden, I heard by youngest child -age 1.5- start screaming. It’s been a long time since he has woken during the night so I knew something was wrong. I walked in, it was pitch dark and when I reached for him I could tell he was not stuck (you know, sometimes little feet or whatnot gets stuck in the crib slats). I knew immediately upon picking him up that he had had a bad dream; a nightmare. As soon as I picked him up he put his little head on my shoulder, wrapped his little legs around my big hips, and put his arms around mine. He was sobbing and his little heart was beating so fast. I didn’t see him, I only felt him. He has a roommate so even though he too was awake at this point I did not want to keep them up so I kept the lights off. So I just stood there, rocking him, patting his back and telling him it was OK, that Momma was here. It took several minutes for him to calm down. I waited…and just did the same thing and I kept thinking how, no matter how many more children I may have, how I will miss this; I will miss when all they needed was me!
After he calmed down I put him down and went and made him a bottle. Shoot me, I know, but I learned after my first child that whatever I have to do to get my child to sleep good and on his own I will do and that for me, for the last seven kids, is a warm bottle of milk – whether at bedtime or during the night or both. I have no regrets about it for I have good nappers and sleepers and I credit that to a bottle or, in some cases, a pacifier up until and even – OH MY- after the age of three! Don’t worry; all their teeth are A-OK so I think they will turn out just fine. LOL. It was amazing to see that when I brought him the bottle he was happy as could be. It as if he never had a bad dream. Then I gave him the bottle and not only did he go back to sleep but he slept longer than normal!
Often times we Moms get so caught up in doing things that we forget to enjoy the things that matter most; moments like these…cuddles, actually playing with our children and etc. I am the worst offender here and I have to say that it took me many kids and much time lost to realize I needed to stop and smell the roses. I still need to work on it but I am getting better. The only thing that helped me personally was cutting out that which got in the way of my family. It could be people, places, things or it could be something as simple as putting too much effort into the home or cooking. I have cut back, saved energy and refocused that on the kids or, right now on this pregnancy. Taking it easy for me is very hard but I have learned that I have to do it; I do not have a choice.
So many times I have lost it completely. I have had breakdowns like you can’t imagine. Today was one of those mornings. Do not ask me how or what set me off but it was an Oscar worthy meltdown! After my kids left with my husband I totally regretted it, as I always do. Who cares if they get to school late? Who cares if I miss mass? School is always open and there will always be another mass but that moment with my children; that I can’t take back. Those words, my actions…the look at my hubby and kids’ faces will be forever in my head. And yet, we are human and I am sure another meltdown will occur.
Many people, especially strangers who don’t know how many kids I have, always say, “You’ll get by. We Moms always do” or “Enjoy it now, the time flies by and you will miss this!” I always think to myself, “Yeah well not as soon as you think!” I think that because I am usually always pregnant and I think that because God is really always in control of however many children we have even if we naturally try to prevent them! But in essence, they are right. Time does go by so fast! It goes by even faster when you are not present. Joseph, child number 8, our youngest, is probably the first child I have really enjoyed thoroughly because of the changes I made in my life right before he was born and also because of the fact that I did not get pregnant until he was 14 months which is the longest I have ever gone. In looking at him I always think about how much of the rest of the kids’ earlier years are a blur. I feel so bad about it but I was always working, pregnant, nursing or caught up in my house and normal duties. Do not get me wrong; I have memories but not as many as I would like especially for working part time for most of their earlier years.
But I do know that when people make those comments I know that despite all of the work and all of the craziness and the moments of sheer insanity, I know that when it all boils down to it I will miss this. I will miss so much! I am the type of person who is kind of masochistic. I thrive off of having too much to do and not enough time to do it. This is one reason why it is hard for me to be in a fulltime job in an office especially when that job has lows. Downtime was so depressing to me. So working from home as a consultant allows me to take the down time at my job and do things I need to do and want to do in my home or with my children. Now, will I miss the diapers? The wet beds? The smells? The being up all night nursing? The vomit? Hell-t0-the-no! But I can bet that I will be the one starring at the washer and dryer in tears because I only had one load to do all week! Or I will miss chasing the kids like a pretend pyscho when they do something wrong and have them burst out laughing when they realize I am joking and playing with them. I will even miss the, “Mom, Mom, Mom!!!” I know I will.
Because, let’s face it, once you become a Mom regardless of how many children, you are forever changed. You will always be their Mom. You will always have a connection. They will always need you in some capacity even if they don’t realize it. But they will grow and they will depend on other people to soothe them…they will likely fall in love with careers that keep them busy…they will have their own families and so, there will come a time when I will have the empty nest syndrome and wish that it was still a time when I was all they needed…