Do you remember the very first time I heard your voice or shook your hand or blushed when you looked at me?
I was 22. We were at a Cold War Kids concert in Tulsa.
Do you remember the very first time I burst an eardrum by simply experiencing live entertainment?
I was 29. We were at a Cold War Kids concert in Tulsa.
It was just last month. I’d been so excited to relive our first encounter together. The romance of it all mirrored our favorite Hallmark Christmas movies. The cute, awkward ones with singing at the end. But, I had a little something extra no Hallmark movie has… the painful realization that I’m getting old.
I know, I know. I’m not even 30, and you’re older than me. But ever since I went from “Heather” to “Mom,” I’ve changed.
I used to be cool. Not-a-care-in-the-world kind of cool. Now, I’m Mom. I’m tired, achy, and honestly stretched too thin.
Just consider the facts:
I used to be fun.
Back then, I had hair the color of fire and a wit to match. I was confident, independent, sure of myself. You were awkward and made terrible jokes at which I I forced myself to laugh.
Last month, I wore a sweater with one too many spit-up stains and hair that begged for a wash. I hugged my sweater close to my body and followed you to the bathroom so I wouldn’t be left alone. You still made bad jokes, but by now they’ve grown on me.
I used to be eager.
Last time, we stood at the front of the crowd. We were only two rows from the stage, and we could feel the bass in our chests. When the music started, I looked at you—a virtual stranger—and gave an enthusiastic thumbs up.
This time, we stood near the back of the crowd. Close to the bar… because, no kids. When the music started, I looked at you—my husband—and mouthed, “How did we ever do this? It’s so LOUD.”
I leaned closer to your ear, “IT’S SO LOUD.”
Then, my eardrum burst because I’m old as the hills and completely out of touch with the world around me.
I used to be energetic.
Last time, I stole glances at you out of the corner of my eye. We talked about our favorite movies, and you recommended a few. After the concert, I ate chicken nuggets and stayed up until the early hours of the morning, watching those movies and hoping my phone would light up with your number.
This time, I barely made it to the car before falling asleep. I complained about being thirsty and wondered aloud if the babies would sleep through the night. I made bottles and crawled into bed, hoping neither my phone nor my children would make a noise.
I used to be care-free
Last time, I distinctly remember thinking:
I wonder if he’ll ask me out.
What am I gonna do Friday night?
I’m so glad school is over.
This time, my thoughts raced:
I wonder if he’ll let me sleep on the way home.
The kids should be getting ready for bed. I hope they’re behaving.
How many doctor’s appointments and visitations and meetings do we have this week?
Did I leave my curling iron on?
I can’t remember if I answered that really important email.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this:
Parenthood changed me. But, you’ve remained the same. Rock solid, steady. You’ve been an anchor while I’ve ebbed and flowed.
And what if that’s bad?
I know we’ll get to a point where we can go on adventures with our children and it won’t be so hard. But right now, my thoughts are constantly shifting from “are they safe” to “I need to make a doctors appointment” to “I can’t forget to send diapers to day care again.”
It’s just a lot.
It means I can’t be spontaneous anymore, and my mental capacity is so overbooked I barely remember to ask you about your day.
But please know, it’s still me in here.
The red hair is gone. And now, my Friday nights are booked well in advance. I am temporarily deaf on one side and really really really tired… but I’m still me.
And, I hope you don’t mind the changes.