When I began this column in July of 2008, I wrote about going away for the weekend. It was the first time in ages, maybe even since the girls were born, that I had actually left for days to be with friends. I came to the realization that I needed to fuse together who I was before motherhood and the woman I was becoming after the rush of toddlerhood. I knew I was putting myself back together differently than I was before — I had realistic expectations — there was no turning back into who I used to be.
I wanted to make sure I retained the essence of myself that I felt I had lost in the early years of baby raising. I felt so much more desperate then — desperate for time, space to myself, desperate to put the pieces of myself back.
At the time I first wrote the column, my girls were barely 3 and 5 and I was still potty training Katie. Sophie was just ending preschool, Katie, was just about to start. At the start of this column I had yet to shed my post-partum baby weight. This summer, I proudly rocked a bikini for the first time in years. And the truth is — it does not feel like yesterday. It does feel like two years have gone by. Think of all the mundane heaps of laundry, dishes and trips to the grocery store in two years.
Add onto that all of the triumphs and disappointments with children, a marriage, friends, family and everything in-between. A great deal happens in two years.
The good thing is — many things remain the same. Cliff and I are still the main planets that Sophie and Katie revolve around. We haven't moved or changed jobs — these are constants that I am grateful for.
I love being able to reflect on who I was struggling to be, while I was still in the throes of full-time stay-at-home parenting. It is great perspective to realize that the struggles that seemed so monumental at the time — like potty training or negotiating a Mommy and Me group are a distant memory. Maybe those early baby years were like being in high school — intense and brief where it is difficult to grasp the idea that one day soon they will be over. I don't glorify high school or taking care of babies. I wouldn't want to go back to either time in my life.
At 8 and 6, Sophie and Katie are real live people. They are smart and funny and amazingly they have the same personalities as when they were 3 and 5. Some days when I slow down I am awestruck that I have elementary school children with after-school activities, homework, and their own path of negotiating friends. It all feels so very grown-up. I go to PTA meetings , which is something my 20-something self never imagined doing. Two years later, getting away for a night out or a weekend with friends is much easier. I am back to working outside of the house for the first time in seven years, and happily I realize that I write more now than I did when I was that 20-something who couldn't imagine herself as a mother of two. Let's see what the next two years bring.