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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The shoe is on the other foot

I spent this weekend in Florida helping my sister prepare for the imminent arrival of her first child, and fighting to keep my infected lip from falling off my face. My lip was disgusting the entire weekend, but that's a topic for a different post...

Julie is my only sister and this is her first child. For the last 12 years, I've been the one making babies and doing "kid" things, and all those years Julie traveled to be with us and share enthusiastically in our milestones.

In talking with her lately I'd gotten the impression that she could use a little help pulling all the little details together and I offered to come down. I left my hubby with the kids (or the kids with my hubby -- I like how that's kind of ambiguous -- who was really in charge this weekend?!) and spent a surreal three days helping prepare for every minute aspect of the birth of this child. I've never prepared in such detail for a child who wasn't my own.

In my head I still see myself as a potential new mom. Yes, I have four kids. No, I really don't want another child... but that's not the point. In my heart it could still be me, even if I know in my head it's not true. This makes me a little sad. And no meanies, it's not because the spotlight has been taken off of me and the party is for someone else. I might be a tad self-centered sometimes, but I'm not that bad... it's because seeing my baby sister embark upon this chapter of her life serves to underscore something I have known for awhile, but have struggled not to acknowledge: this chapter of my life is closed. And some of the best years of my life were part of this magical chapter. And I sometimes wonder if life keeps getting better? Or if I already sipped from the cup of perfection.

I know change is good, but more and more I wish time could stand still.

So while I celebrate the beginning of this magical chapter for my sister...

I secretly mourn the closing of my own chapter.

Just a little.

57 comments:

The Rambler said...

Beautifully written!

My baby sister and I are 10 years apart so I know this is how it will be. I haven't closed the book yet to this chapter (yet) but I feel like this is how it will feel.

And I laughed my butt off when saying you left the kids with the hubby or maybe the other way around :)

Nocturnal Queen said...

The chapter is closed for me as well. My husband is getting "the snip" next week. :-(

TKW said...

I am crying a little, and I don't think it's because I'm awake at 3am because hubby is snoring *again* and I have Mindworm.

My neighbor has a one week old baby, so I am right there with you. I am done. And granted, holding a baby without the PPD and PPBOF (post-partum-butt-on-fire) gives you a slanted truth, but there's still sadness.

Cairo Typ0 said...

Lovely post. No haters here. I know too well how you feel. *hugs*

blueviolet said...

It is a very bittersweet time, isn't it? I think there are a few phases we pass through that call up these feelings.

D said...

Feeling for you as I can already tell that I will be sad when I know I won't have anymore children. There is something very magical indeed about bring another life into the world.

Tammy Howard said...

Oh, I hear you loud and clear.

Bittersweet indeed.

Nana said...

I know how you feel. I was there a few yrs ago. Well more than a few. Life does keep getting better. I can say that for sure. I didn't know if it would but it does!

The funny part is I never thought I would get over that mourning feeling, Honey it is gone!!!!!

Lindy said...

This was a really nice post. There is certainly a bond between sisters and then when you both have kids, I think it gets deeper - at least it did for me and my sister.

Did you keep quiet on the *crap* that happens once you have kids? :)

Making the Bacon said...

You just put into words everything I am feeling, knowing we are done... (and, as a woman who has braved infected lips before, I feel your pain there as well!)

Semi-Slacker Mom said...

Well said. Every woman that has recently given up baby-making knows just how you feel. Just think, aunts get to love them & squeeze them & enjoy the good stuff & give them back for the not so good stuff.

ck said...

That's really beautiful, kbexclamationpoint. If I had a little sister I'm sure I'd go through the exact same thing.

~Thought's By Dena~ said...

I get that same feeling everytime I see a baby...I think oh if I could just have one more.....just one more.....but somehow that one more would just keep going and going! My little sis had a baby 2 yrs ago and I know exactly what you feel

Juls said...

Although it's been over 10 years since I had a hysterectomy--I still mourn my "baby-making" years too... :)

Bringing new life into this crazee world is such a wonderful part of this journey..

zelzee said...

I understand exactly how you feel. But, take it from someone that has been there, got the mug AND a t-shirt............I can promise you it only gets better.

Each chapter of your life will be new and exciting. Of course you will look back and feel that tug of sadness that those days are gone, but...........
so many more beautiful adventures await you!!!
Really.........trust me........

JC said...

I think although we are crazy busy while our kids are little, now that mine are older teenagers, I enjoyed the younger years better.

My kids are wild now and in and out the door doing their life.

I remember when they were my babies and that's the memory I loved and will remember the most.

Danielle said...

Beautiful post. I have 1 child and a part of me yearns for another. I know it is not going to happen and I feel a little/no a lot sad about that. Your sister is lucky to have you and your family.

Grant said...

Just remember that you're going to die eventually, so don't let the little things in life bug you (like morbid blog comments).

Hillbilly Duhn said...

I closed that chapter three years ago. Sometimes I do feel saddend being around babies, but it's not the baby part I miss. It's like you said, that part of my life is finished, but the good part is, we do have the rest of our lives to take part in other's lives and share our wisdom, knowledge, etc...
And smile when someone else succeeds! :)

beth said...

whiel i would probably have to be committed if i ever found i was pregnant again (i would truly lose all of my marbles!), it does make me sad that i will never have that new baby experience again. the days in the hospital and the first few at home, are my absolut best days of my life. it is like the whole world stops and you are able to get off and just focus on you and the baby. those days rank higher than my wedding day, everything! good luck to your sister!

for a different kind of girl said...

Oh, how I remember feeling the same way you share here when my sister would called me the first time and said she was expecting a baby...and a few years later when she called again! I have a feeling that I am having to edge into this particular chapter of life, too, and I am, honestly, not doing it very well!

WhisperingWriter said...

I can understand this. My SIL is having another baby in August and a part of me is all, "Maybe I'll have just one more..." But I know my sanity couldn't handle it.

The Good Cook said...

I know exactly how you feel. Even though my youngest is almost 16! For me, the best part (besides a baby) was being pregnant. I loved being pregnant. But life goes on and new chapters open when old ones close. Enjoy the next part.. it just keeps getting better!

Grand Pooba said...

But just think of all the exciting chapters you have yet to start!

Jen said...

I know just how you feel. With the babies turning 2 this weekend, I am offically out of baby land. It makes me sad and I also watch my friends having new babies and know that I will never be there again makes me sad too but also happy.
Oh and congrats to you, you are going to be an auntie.

LadyFi said...

Beautiful post!

My son starts school in August - so no more pre-school nursery stuff for us... sad and exciting all rolled into one.

Pop and Ice said...

It was so sweet of you to dedicate some one-on-one time with your sister before the baby arrives!

You don't go into detail on the lip, but let me advise this for any sort of mouth problem: Lysine capsules. Clears up anything within 1-2 days. Miracle in a bottle.

Tsquared417 said...

This is why I blog in the morning...I don't like being number 28!! Anyway, I get sad too. Very sad. Even though I'm done. Really done. It's weird and sad when that chapter's over...but I try and focus on how fun the current chapter is right now!! ;)

Kristina P. said...

I don't think you're alone in this. I've been hearing several moms who are "done" say this!

Sandy said...

Your sister's lucky to have you. And I would think that this is as close to 'doing it yourself' as it gets with the possible exception of a daughter. Change happens whether we want it or not.

Zeemaid said...

I think you are lucky to be with your sister at this time and I think you're lucky that your children are old enough for you to go and be with her. So while this chapter may be closed for you, at least your life is open enough now to go and enjoy your new nephew or niece.

I think there will always be some part of us moms who will get a little secret longing when we see a pregnant woman or hold a tiny baby, or just even see the sweet new outfits they've come out with.

Motherhood really is bittersweet.

Nicole said...

Really makes me wonder how my siblings will feel when I have a kid.

My brother has two, my oldest sister has three, and my other sister has one. And I'm not so sure that there's going to be any more kids coming from them.

Susie said...

I think that's natural to mourn the passing a little bit. Now, you get to be the cool aunt:-)

david mcmahon said...

Yes, it's great to share wonderful chapters with a sibling. God bless all of you.

Michel said...

I've always been the Aunt - and I speak from authority when I tell you it is the BEST TITLE EVER - all of the fun, none of the BS.

You'll love it!

Helene said...

Oh Kathy, I totally get where you're coming from! I feel the same way often, esp as friends announce their pregnancies. There is some sadness about knowing I'll never go through it again. Sometimes when the days are rough, I'm thankful for that. But then there are some days, that I wish they were all small enough to fit snuggly in my arms while they stare up at me while I'm feeding them.

Congrats to your sister on her first baby....you are so sweet to go and help her prepare!!

Meg said...

No photos of the pussy, crusty lip? No? Okay. Moving on.

Having witnessed first-hand pre-teen behavior last night, I'm gonna say you've probably passed the cup of perfection. Not to worry, though. Just remind yourself you're that much closer to grandkids. ;)

Congrats to your sister on the impending baby! Mazel tov!

faemom said...

That was beautifully written. *hugs* It's ok to mourn this "loss." I read once that you should give your self a chance to mourn every loss, no matter how silly you think the loss is. You didn't get to see the movie you wanted to see; you mourn that loss even if in the back of your mind it seems silly and self-centered because it was a plan that was lost. Just like it's ok to mourn that chapter closing in your life even when you love the life you have and I'm sure it'll get better. Take some time mourn it, and you'll feel better moving on. :-) (Was that long winded? I can't shut up.)

Lisa (Jonny's Mommy) said...

I think this is a totally naturally feeling to have. I'm not there yet, but when I am I know I will feel the same as you. I still hope to have at least one more child, but someday I know someone I know will be having a child and I won't and I'll feel...funny. Not sure how to explain it, not as well as you did, but I'll feel...funny.

lizspin said...

I don't think i ever really prepared for a child who WAS my own!

You're a great sister. . .

K said...

Your are going to be the best auntie ever!

JoeinVegas said...

Oh my, what will you do when they all move out?

Laoch of Chicago said...

I guess that is a universal feeling. Sorry about your lip. : (

Missy said...

You are a great sister! I know that she feels much more at ease having you help! Cherish your sister!

CynthiaK said...

There are a few things I don't know, like what it's like to have a sibling (only child here) but I suspect it's a pretty special relationship. And, despite your feelings of your own chapter ending, I'm sure you made your sister very, very happy that you took the time to help her embark on that same chapter. You are a good sister.

I, too, understand how it feels to not want to recognize this phase being over. We have three, and number three was not planned so I was really "finished" after having him. But, after a few years, I wonder if we should have had another. I don't know that I could have handled one more, but the thought of moving to the next chapter is unnerving.

I'm sure every stage has its beautiful, poignant, laughable, loveable, ridiculous and adventurous moments. I'm looking forward to embracing those moments and I'm sure your amazing family will never fail you in that regard!

I'll stop rambling now... :)

insider53 said...

I'm sure your sister was glad to have you there. I still feel like I'm there too, even though the plumbing has been ripped out and the factory is closed I still feel a kinship to new moms. Are you still a mom when there is no one left to mother.... sounds like a blog coming on so I better shut up for now.

Rachel said...

You nailed this perftly. My baby is turning ONE in just a couple weeks and I've been in mourning, too. I know I have to "be done" with this chapter, too, and I'm having a hard time accepting it. I will ALWAYS miss preparing and caring for a tiny new babe. ALWAYS. I think I may be addicted to the post-partum hormones.

Good luck to your sister, Kathy B!

countryfriedmama said...

Oh, I know this feeling. We might be done having kids. Not sure yet, but when I think of the possibility that I will never be pregnant again, never prepare for a baby again, never hold my own newborn again, I just want to cry.

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

Oh how I can relate! I had my Miracle Baby 'late' in life, followed by multiple tests to see if we could possibly produce another miracle, but sadly it wasn't meant to be...when one of my best friends had a 'surprise' pregnancy last year, it was fun to help her plan for the arrival, but definitely bittersweet...

Gibby said...

I can relate. We are done having kids, too. There is something special about having that newborn, especially your first newborn. My cousin-in-law just had her first baby and it threw me back 8 years ago. I was a little jealous, but then Chuckles threw out one of her funny one-liners and I thought, yeah, this is a good stage to be in, too.

Beautifully written, KB!

The Blonde Duck said...

What a lovely piece.

Court said...

Way to be a good big sis! (Us lil' sis's appreciate ya!)

Ink said...

What a thoughtful post! Lovely and melancholy and true all at once.

Sorry about your lip--is it better?

Ryan Ashley Scott said...

I guess there are those moments every so often when you just realize or admit to yourself that a door has closed. It's always sad to make that connection, but still it's nice to know you took full advantage of the opportunity when you could. I'm betting you'll find new excitement and magic around the corner, too.

MadMad said...

I remember being sad when I was on my last... and thinking this is the last time I will nurse or whatever the thing was... but you know what? It only gets better (possibly because there is much more sleep on this end)! But really - every stage has its own rewards and you will be so focused on the coming ones you won't think much about the babyhood ones. (And you can always hold your new niece/nephew for the best parts of those times!)

peewee said...

yyyyahhhhh, BUT you don't have to change any more diapers!!!!

Sturgmom said...

I'm a little late in commenting on this, but I wanted to chime in to say that I feel the same way. No, I don't *really* want more children, but I see other women around my age who are expecting and I can't help but feel a teensy bit jealous. I'll (most likely) NEVER be that woman again. Sure, I'm glad my children are all gaining a measure of independence, but in its own way, it's hard to officially close the book on that chapter of my life.