Now that folks can sort of recognize that I’m pregnant (instead of just assuming I’m eating too much ice cream) the most popular question I receive is, “Are you tired?” My answer to this question is short, and never changes:
Yes, I am tired. But I would be tired even if I weren’t pregnant.
You see, we have a toddler. A lively, spirited, rambunctious, loving, amazing toddler. Our days are filled with running, jumping, climbing and exploring, arts and crafts that leave painted footprints across the dining room floor, and baking sessions that involve more eating of sprinkles than decorating with them. We are busy. We are tired. And we love it.
After the sticky and dirty of the day has been washed away, and I’m lying in bed (surely falling asleep three pages into a book I’ve started at least a dozen times) with just the still, quiet night outside my window, I remember the past hours. And even though my bones and muscles may be sore, with my mental faculties all but ceasing to function, I am happy and peaceful, for it is the best kind of tired there is.
Of course the days are not always easy; learning and growing involves pains (as does teething, climbing, and not getting your way…) But even in those very difficult days, where getting through the next hour seems impossible, I am happy. This is what love does: it manifests an overwhelming happiness and joy in your soul that absolutely nothing can diminish.
When you become a first-time parent, folks want to talk about your “me” time, and where it’s gone…do you miss it? Lying on the couch all day on Saturday, reading and eating cookies? Or watching reruns of Roseanne? Going to Target at the drop of a hat? Carrying a purse or bag that doesn’t need to hold ALL THE THINGS? Planning a day that doesn’t need to incorporate naptime? I don’t know; I don’t think I miss it, because my “me” time is still mine, but it’s different now – it’s “us” time. Sure, I get some quiet time while Miles naps, and I usually read or nap myself, but it’s far from my favorite part of the day (although trust me, there are days where it’s close).
When I’m growing older, turning gray (okay, grayer…) and moving more like a turtle than a fox, I will not look back and reminisce on naps or reading or shopping. I will not look back fondly on the original, pre-children “me” time. Because when I am in my 60s, 70s, 80s, and hopefully 90s, the memories I will treasure most are the tired ones. The days where we could never climb enough trees, swing on enough swings, smear enough paint or read enough books. The days that left me, at 8pm, asleep on my feet. The days that were a whirlwind of scribbles and crumbs and laughter. Because those memories are the most important and valuable and cherished and loved.
One day, my children will be older. They will choose their own snacks, dress themselves, spend time with friends on the weekends, and become involved in extracurricular activities. They will grow more independent as they begin to experience life on their own. And there will be many, many years of quiet afternoons for me one day – a day that will most certainly arrive sooner than I am prepared for.
But they could never, ever hold a candle to the afternoons of today. Even when I’m tired (SO TIRED). We will never look back and say, “more naps”; we will always look back and say, “more laughter, more mud, more snuggles, more adventure, more love.”