I went to a birthday party today (Happy first, Little B!) for a friend's son who turned one year old. It made me sad because I realized that I haven't seen him or his parents since my own son's first birthday (well, and my other son's fourth birthday because we're super lucky and both our boys were born one day apart, conveniently just a little over a week before Christmas...parenthetical tangent over), which was seven months ago.
It got me thinking about how much our lives have changed since having kiddos, because really, David and I used to be really good friends with these people, before Jabberwock was born. She was the first friend I made in college. David worked with him, and the four of us even got together for a road trip to Vancouver, B.C., when David and I lived out in Oregon for a couple years. True, they did move quite a ways out, and David got this annoying schedule that doesn't allow us to have much of a social life anyway, but it all happened right around the time we had our first kid.
Becoming a parent changes so much about the dynamics of your family, your friendships, your identity, and sometimes that's hard to think about too much. I love my kids, so much that it's incredible--a love I didn't know was possible before they came along. That sounds trite and cliche and it is, but it's only cliche because it's true. I can't imagine my life without them in it.
But there are times when I mourn that other life we had, full of backpacking, late nights that went unpunished in the morning, time that belonged only to me, time alone with my husband. I feel like we knew each other as people much better back then, instead of now, where so much of our relationship is orbiting around these other humans in our lives. Happily, joyfully orbiting, you understand.
I get most nostalgic about the pre-kid days when I am stuck in the day-to-day of fighting siblings and wrestling kids down for naps and searching for the binkie under the car seat on the side of the road so Monkey will stop screaming. I miss travel and hanging out a whole lot, and deciding to just skip dinner now and again. I miss taking luxurious baths when I felt fragile. I miss going through entire weeks, months even, without arguing with anyone. Lately, I'm lucky if I can make it through three minutes.
But I think, too, that the more things change, the more they stay the same. (I'm just full of the cliches tonight!) That look in my husband's eyes when we steal a moment to hold each other in the kitchen or while brushing our teeth--it's the same. Deeper, even, because we cannot take each other for granted. I'm still stubborn as hell, which is the real cause of most of those arguments (perhaps my memory is flawed, after all, about the frequency of arguing). I still get to do my writing, even if it causes me to choose every night between writing and being crazy tired at 6:30 when they get up and not writing but getting some sleep. If anything, I think I'm better at writing because I can't play around as much, wasting time. And even though our camping and hiking is much closer to home and MUCH less spontaneous, we still get out there every so often, and I have faith that things will get easier as the kiddos get older.
I'm not sure what my actual point is with this rambly post tonight, except to say that I'm musing about the way life has changed in the last five years, and feeling a little down about friends we've grown more distant from (there are more than just one couple) since becoming parents. But then I have just two seconds of absolute cuteness from one of the little curiosities, and instantly I'm so grateful for their miraculous little selves. (Thought I'd end on a cliche, just to round out the post. Hmm?)