Thursday night. Christmas tree glowing in the corner. Stillness. My husband is hanging out with friends. He won’t be home for hours. I hear quiet soft snores of my boys coming through the still evening air at me in waves. Cats trying to jump in my lap. Walking around me in circles. Looking in my eyes. Dog nuzzling me. Another gulp of wine.
My legs are still cold from sitting on the harsh concrete. I was sorting, looking, folding. Baby clothes. I still have them. From the time when my boys spilled all of their homemade food on them – quinoa, peaches, blueberries… From the time I tickled their tummies with my nose and they laughed hysterically and then grabbed my hair in a nonchalant fashion and tried to pull it in their mouths. From the time I cried, leaving them in their cribs, running into another room, listening to them cry, thinking how I couldn’t take it any more –there was only one of me and two of them. But they were babies. So chubby and lovely and sweet-smelling. That intoxicating smell of their heads. I don’t remember the smell, but I remember the oxytocin surge, filling my heart with pride, with love, with this immense feeling, larger than life, I never felt before and never thought I could until the moment that I did. Yes, the clothes, the clothes of the boys in the gigabytes of photos, with them smiling, or frowning, getting into mischief, or feeding the cat, or falling asleep sitting up.
My husband had a vasectomy exactly a year ago. We won’t be having any more babies. We are so grateful for the two amazing boys we have. Can’t believe they’re half-way done with first grade already. But I haven’t been able to part with their baby clothes. Yes, some went to some of my friends, and that felt good. But today was the last of the newborn – 12 month clothes I put together in a bag for a mom in need. I don’t know her. She is someone the PTA is trying to help out. I hope these clothes will be loved and snuggled with and photographed as many times as they were seven years ago. And the favorite ones, although snug, still getting yet another day, one more picture, one more laugh. Tomorrow when I drop them off, the emotional attachment to these clothes will finally be severed. We will have extra room in the garage.
I couldn’t have any more kids. It would break me, I am sure. Not sleeping, for what felt like eternity, after having twins. Not being able to carry on an adult conversations, not remembering simple things – basic science I learned in grad school. But I’m jealous. I’m so jealous of other women, who despite the hardships still want to have yet another baby. And do. And snuggle and bond. Gaze at them as they pop off the breast, falling into a milk coma. Or get that coveted smile that no one else in the room does. Or hold them and listen for their pouts quiet down, because at that stage, only mommy can do that kind of magic.
I chose my career – and that was the right choice for me. It fills me with a sense of accomplishment and joy, leaves me challenged and frustrated, hungry for more. There is only my immediate family at the end of the day. There is no room for a baby. But I still feel so much. Jealous.