On Sunday morning, I got a massage. It had been a Christmas gift from my husband F. My massage therapist Sarah lives only a few blocks from my house, so I could walk over. Sarah has such a sense of calm about her that a massage pretty much includes an hourlong guided meditation too, and afterwards, I felt so rested it was like I’d had a full night’s sleep. Walking home, I remember thinking that yes, I’m YB’s mom now, but I’m still myself. Sunday evening, F and I had a great time with YB, dancing to Mountain Stage on the radio and playing the exciting new game Laundry Basket Head. We laughed and laughed. At bedtime, YB went down to sleep sweetly without any fighting. It was the kind of evening I always imagined when I was younger and thought about having kids someday.
Then YB woke up hungry at midnight, and again at 4 AM. We seem to be going through a growth spurt/ravenous beast phase. At the 4 AM waking, it took me 45 minutes to get her down again. I didn’t fall back to sleep myself until after 5:00; YB woke up crying at 5:40, then the alarm went off at 5:55. Meanwhile, I’m dealing with YB’s latest gift from daycare – a cold this time – and my nose is running off my face. By the time I made it down to breakfast, I was grumpy as anything. No more massages for me, I thought. I’m not still myself, there’s no use pretending. All I am now is the thing that takes care of YB. I knew what I was getting into when we decided to have a baby; I knew that people with kids are perpetually exhausted and snot-covered. This is what I chose, so I’d better just give in and accept it. And then I remembered that I had to teach yoga that night and I wanted to cry.
Some mornings are bad exhausting mornings; some evenings are full of giggles and dancing. What I need to remember is that I signed up for both, and as hard as the exhausting times may feel, the wonderful times do balance it out: they’re the reason I wanted a child, the thing that I dreamed of. Even when I feel most worn out and used up, I’m still myself deep down, and that will always be there. I felt grumpy and frustrated and tired and sick all day Monday, but Monday night’s yoga class made me feel like myself again. It all comes back around.