The Last Of The Firsts

Dear Me,

You have the perfect family, a great husband and two wonderful children. A beautiful little girl and a rambunctious little boy complete your home. You are a lucky girl with blessings that surround you. Don’t be sad by how quickly it is passing.

 

This past week I have thought a lot about how quickly Cassidy and Jacob have grown. In the blink of an eye they went from helpless infants to back talking, attitude spewing, mess making, kicking and screaming, tantrum throwing, bickering, tattle tailing little kids.  I just don’t know how it all happened so fast.

As I am sure most moms would say, I can remember the day that each of them was born. It is like yesterday in my mind. The very thought brings tears to my eyes because those moments were two of the best moments in my entire life. With Cassidy, I sobbed as she was placed in my arms. I was so overcome with emotions that I couldn’t do anything but sob. With Jacob, I was a little less emotional, as in I wasn’t sobbing, but I did cry happy tears the second I looked at him in my arms.

Both such perfect babies. Both perfect moments in time. I would replay them forever if I could. I am starting to realize that replaying those moments is all that I will be able to do. I am starting to miss those moments when my kids were just tiny babies who needed me for everything.

With Cassidy, everything was a “first”. She was my first baby. I learned so much as I went and I am still learning, but everything that she experiences will be my first as a parent also. Having decided on a family of four, Jacob is my last baby. All of his “firsts” will be my lasts and it has been tough coming to terms with that this past week.

We decided to have two kids and we were blessed with a boy and a girl. I’d say we are pretty lucky. For two years now I have said that I am done having kids, and I am…. but I can’t help this internal feeling that says what if?

I watch as Jacob grows and I am suddenly saddened that when I take him to preschool for the first time, it will actually be the last time that I take my baby to preschool, for the first time. When I held him as a little peanut at only minutes old, it was actually the last time that I would hold a newborn baby of my own. His first haircut, was the last first haircut for me.

All of the milestones that were so exciting for us to hit with Cassidy, are just so sad to hit with Jacob. I thought that I would never feel like this. I certainly can’t open up the baby factory and keep having kids. At some point there will always be a last child so these feelings must be inevitable. Maybe that is the feeling that the Duggers are trying to avoid.

I clearly am having a mental breakdown! I have a perfect family of four. We can fit in a car, a family of five means we will never fit in a car again. Four people fit perfectly in a booth when you go out to eat, five means they will always have to pull a chair to the end. Tooth paste holders only have four holes for a reason.  Four is perfect. So what is my problem?

Why am I getting so blue about Jacob growing up? There are days lately that I find myself just staring at him as he watches tv. I can’t take my eyes off him and I just think back to when I could hold him in my arms and snuggle. Now he would rather not be bothered. In fact he has mastered the line “leave me alone.” I am pretty sure he gave Me a time out today for putting him on my lap and kissing his cheeks.

Yup that’s my life. My last baby has already decided that he is done being a baby and I am not ready to let go yet.

I have given away every piece of baby stuff that I had. I was happy to be rid of all of it. I can’t wait for the day that everything doesn’t have to be so child proof. I was excited when Jacob could finally eat what the rest of us do so I only had one meal to make. I was proud to take him out of a crib and put him in a big boy bed. I was pumped to sign him up for preschool in the fall and was counting down till I was free from kids for a couple of hours during school.

I guess that while time was flying by, I wasn’t noticing how much I’d miss. I couldn’t wait to be rid of the highchair and finally have Jacob in the booster seat. Now I am wishing that he was small enough to be in the highchair again. I gave it away so quickly and never looked back until now.

I guess when Cassidy was making these transitions, I always knew that there would be another baby to follow. It was exciting to watch her grow but in the back of my mind I knew that I would be doing this again. Now, with Jacob it looms over me that I will not be doing this again. I am not going to have another chance at holding my baby to my chest until he falls asleep. That’s it. I’m done.

I can even think back to the nights that he would wake up every four hours to eat. I was so frustrated, getting out of bed and nursing him by a dim night light while Brian slept through it all. I couldn’t wait until those feedings ended and I could get some sleep too. Crazy as it is, I wish I had those moments back.

I wish I had the chance to replay all of those moments that I brushed passed so quickly. I couldn’t wait until Jacob walked and now I just picture that little guy that could barely crawl. Time has flown and I have let it, always excited about what would come next.

I have forgotten how important today is. Sure I may not have any more children, and I won’t experience the joys of nursing my baby in the middle of the night again, but I can certainly enjoy the moments that I do have right now.

As I was writing this letter, I thought about the pictures that I took of the kids in their first year. You know a picture at one month, two months.. all the way up to a year. Then suddenly it just kind of dwindles. It’s not as big a deal anymore and then one day you wake up and realize that time flew by and I missed it.

Life gets in the way, stuff gets in the way and suddenly instead of a baby girl that was just born, I have an almost six year old and three year old. If I keep blinking they will be in middle school, and high school, and soon enough my babies won’t even resemble babies anymore.

I guess I need to take each day, one at a time, and enjoy every detail. In ten years, I may look back and wish for a replay of the things that may drive me crazy tomorrow. Life isn’t on a DVR so until that technology is figured out or I have my own reality show I am just going to have to keep reminding myself to live in the moment and forget about counting lasts. Every moment is the beginning of another great memory, firsts or lasts.

Love, Cherise

 

 

Call Me Fix It Felix

Dear World,

Have you seen the movie Wreck it Ralph yet? It is a very cute movie that our whole family enjoyed several times. If you haven’t seen it, the story is about a  video game character that wrecks things and a character that fixes them. It is in their programming to do so and if they were to change their ways, the game would be broken forever.

I was speaking with a woman a few days back and I couldn’t help but relate myself to one of the characters from this movie. I am like Fix it Felix. Honestly, I can’t believe that I am writing about this, but it is actually what was on my mind so what the heck.

Anyway, Fix it Felix. must go around and repair all of the damage that Ralph does. He is compelled to…. no, he is programmed to. He can’t do anything else because it is his job to fix and so that is what he does.

So I started thinking about the things that I am programmed to do. Of course I can relate to Felix, because all I do is fix things. I fix toys, boo boos, dishwashers (that’s a new one by the way), messes, toilets, husbands, kids, parents, siblings. You name it, and at one time or another I have had my hands deep in the trenches of fixing it. A problem arises and for some reason I feel compelled to fix it.

Trust me, I fail more than I succeed, but none the less I do try to fix anything and everything.

Just tonight, Brian had already left for work, and I found myself fixing an air conditioning vent in our bedroom. It is an old fashioned vent and the handle on it keeps closing so that the air can’t come in. Our room is unbearable when the temp is over 75 so this was a necessary fix. Sure, I could have waited and had Brian do it, but… I am Fix it Felix! Just kidding, but honestly seeing a problem and then solving it is like an adrenaline rush for me.

I love the opportunity to fix something. I hate when things are broken but I sure do feel great when I am able to fix them. It isn’t just things that I fix, or try to fix either. I find myself compelled to fix situations, people, feelings, anything. I will go all day long thinking of ways to fix areas of my life that I am not satisfied with. I obsess over the broken and I can’t wait to come up with a way to fix it.

I am programmed to fix.

When Brian and I argue, which isn’t terribly often but it does happen, he usually is the one that walks off to cool off. This is a smart tactic. It gives the opportunity to settle down and think clearly. Come back when you are in a better frame of mind. For me, when he walks away,  my mind immediately goes into what do I do next mode. How can I fix this thing that we are arguing about. What can I say to make everyone go back to happy. I follow him with the intentions of fixing and usually fail miserably.

I struggle with letting things just be broken for a minute. As soon as I notice the broken I start to tinker. It’s in my programming. I get out my tools, whether they be words or actual tools and I get to work. No time to waste!

As I spoke with this woman about my fixing obsession, I realized that I was already thinking about how to fix it. Wow! I am nuts! I guess it could be worse, I could be the wrecker.

So where do I begin to fix my fixing problem? This is a tough one. I think it starts with the source. I think that the reason that I feel so compelled to fix, is about control for me. I want a hand on pretty much everything. I have the worst time letting go of control. I have the hardest time with when I go to work. I am not there but I want things to be my way. It takes a lot of deep breaths on my part to not get upset over the way things are when I am not around.

Tonight I was home to put the kids to bed which only happens a night or two a week. As we brushed teeth, I noticed that Cassidy’s toothpaste was goopy and gross. It was obvious that she has been putting the paste on for herself the past few nights. This is not a practice when I am here for bedtime.  As I put my hand in the goop on the side of the tube my heart started to race.

PAUSE

I could do what I would normally do. I would yell and demand that she never touch the toothpaste until I deem that she is ready to do it without making a mess.

UNPAUSE

Tonight, instead of doing what I was programmed to do, I did something different. I told Cassidy that if she is going to do toothpaste herself when I am not here, then she needs to clean up the tube when she is done. I took a deep breath and realized that when I am not here things happen differently than when I am. There is nothing that I can do about that.

So I guess I need to figure out how to give up control. Whew… just the thought makes me tense. I think that I also need to realize that sometimes it is not my job to fix things.

I go to work and see things that I don’t think are efficient and even though they don’t effect me, I am compelled to say something. I just can’t let it go and go about my own business. I offer suggestions when no one even asks. I want to fix and make things better when maybe no one else saw a problem at all.

Tomorrow, I am going to wake up and fix nothing! Well that is a lie. I won’t be able to help myself on that just yet. What I can do is try to remind myself that fixing may be in my programming, but I can reprogram too. I am going to reprogram myself to give up just a little bit of control (baby steps) and I am going to remember that it is not my job to fix everything. Sometimes I have to realize that I am not in charge and that life is just fine the way that it is.

I am waking up happy with the broken and unbroken and I am going to attempt to only fix the actual things that need it like dishwashers and toilets. Better yet, I am going to get Brian to fix those things. Wish me luck!

Love, Cherise