I felt compelled recently to go back to the very beginning of my blog and read it without judgement. I promised myself I would treat the old me with kindness and patience. I made a deal with myself that as soon as I started to feel my eyes roll, I would stop reading and pick it up in the same place on a different day, patience and kindness renewed. This is no small task for little ol' me, let me tell you. I usually re-read my posts many times immediately after I hit the "publish" button because I know that it won't be long before I can't stand what I've written. I don't know why this happens but it does and all I can say is that I'm working on it, I promise.
So I started from "A beginning...." and took my time. I was happy to see that I wasn't completely mortified and actually found some stuff I'm proud of in there. The most interesting thing I came to realize was that I have changed a lot over these last couple of years, but also haven't changed a bit. In those early days when Owen was tiny and not sleeping much, I was doing a lot of masking but I was also trying to be as honest as I possibly could. I was searching for distraction while trying to live in the moment. I was complaining and venting while putting a positive spin on difficult situations. This is still "my way" but I like to think that I'm taking up a little more space in my world now...trying to apologize less and trust my confidence. Learning to stop feeling embarrassed by my accomplishments...respect my limitations and forgive my weaknesses.
I'm telling you all of this because I don't know if you've noticed me changing. You may or may not miss my stories about the kids or my heart felt pleas for support. I've been going along assuming you either understand or haven't noticed but I wanted to mention it anyway. I wanted you to know that I miss the days when Zoe would say something funny or do something to drive me crazy and I would give myself time to mull whatever it was over enough to articulate it in a post. Owen has come into his own hilarious personality and I feel a bit of remorse and guilt for missing opportunities to honor his little personality with musings and interpretations from his tired, loving mother. At the same time though, I feel grateful that I seem to be getting better about living those moments with both kids privately. I can't assume that either one of them will grow into adults who appreciate how much I talked publicly about them and I get the feeling that in taking so many pictures and crafting posts around private moments I'm somehow losing little bits of the preciousness in this time with my kids.
The truth is that I share all of this stuff for many reasons, but one of the main reasons is that I hope it will help me remember this time more clearly. I know that there will come a day when I can't remember what their voices sounded like exactly. I will forget what it feels like to sit inches away from Owen's face while he tells me a story, his bright innocent eyes earnestly focused in on my bleary ones. I know I will forget how hilarious it is to hear Zoe trying out new "grown up" phrases and concepts before she really knows what they mean. I know I will forget these little things that make him who he is at 2.5 years old and her who she is at 5.5 years old and it makes me feel all panicky.
However, I've been given some insight into this personal struggle on my early morning runs these last few weeks. I'm training for a marathon in October and have been getting up with the sun for most of my runs and even earlier for my long runs. I tend to run in different combinations of loops around the city because a) it's easy to find bathroom stops that way and b) I like to witness life happening around me as I trudge along...it's what keeps me energized and many times has given me extra pep in my step just when I was about to give up and walk. I feel inspired by seeing people live their lives.. passing by a barista unlocking the coffee shop door reminds me that I am one of many people living their lives every day, doing their best. None of us are particularly extraordinary every single day. Sometimes I need to remind myself of that so I can stop putting so much pressure on myself to be "at my best" all the time.
Twice in these last couple of weeks, I've run by new mothers doing the early morning pace with their tiny babies. One of these mothers was pacing the street in front of her house in her slippers and the other on a deserted pedestrian shopping mall with a cup of coffee in her hand. Both had total bedheads, were dressed in their pj's and had that far off, "I've been up all night with this baby" look in their eyes. As I ran past both of them, I tried my best to give them a reassuring look and some encouraging supportive words but I hesitated because I realized I couldn't help but to do those things with a hint of nostalgia...the exact tone someone in their position tends to loath. When you're in the middle of that stage, the last thing you want to hear is: "Enjoy them while they are that tiny!". I know, I was there. I realized in those moments that I had forgotten about those early morning "We are the only 2 people on this earth" walks with my babies. It wasn't that long ago but somehow I'd forgotten about it. I realized I don't have to stress so much about getting all of this stuff down myself because sometimes memories are sparked by witnessing other people living life. It happens to me when I listen to music and smell specific smells and now it happens when I see other parents doing the same things I used to do with my kids. It's a relief to know that sometimes you can trust memories to come back when you least expect them. In the end, that's when reliving them is the most fun anyway.