Sometimes, I miss the quiet.
Once upon a time, before Kidzilla was born, Fab Hub and I lived in a very quiet home.
We did not jump at every sound broadcast over the baby monitor in the middle of the night. We did not hear “Hop on Board the Animal Train” or “The Wheels on the Bus” fifteen thousand times a day. No one hollered “would someone please come wipe me” from the bathroom and no one ever started the day with a tantrum. Well, almost never.
The hour before bedtime did not include seventeen requests to “stop bothering the cat,” “stop spinning,” or “stop drinking the tub water, please.”
Sometimes, I miss sleep.
We didn’t get up in the middle of the night to make sure anyone else was breathing. We didn’t have to wake to the sound of crying alerting us to a wet diaper or an earache. Weekend afternoon naps were a plentiful option.
And we did not have to clean up projectile diarrhea at 3:00 AM.
Once in a while, I miss the option of having ice cream or popcorn for dinner. Or skipping dinner.
We did not really have to think about having enough food in the house or having the right flavor of Juicy Juice. We didn’t get excited if we ran out of yogurt or milk. Meals without fruits and vegetables? No big deal. We never needed to cut anyone else’s food or wipe up spilled milk.
I miss walking out the front door five minutes from the time I decide I am ready to go somewhere.
We used to be able to say, “Let’s go someplace,” grab the car keys, and go. It didn’t take a diaper bag, a backpack, a Sippy cup, two books, three clean outfits, four stuffed animals, and a meltdown to leave the house.
We didn’t have to go back home if we ran out of clean clothing.
Any parent who is being completely honest can probably list a dozen or more things that they miss about Life Before Parenthood. Just last week, I said to Fab Hub, “You know, if we didn’t have to worry about feeding Zilla, we could skip dinner completely and just eat chips or something later.”
As I was mulling this over, I thought of the lyrics to an old Garth Brooks song, “The Dance.” It has nothing whatsoever to do with parenting. I’m pretty sure it’s about a relationship breaking up. But stay with me.
Somewhere around the middle of the song, he sings about how if he had only known how things would turn out, perhaps he would have changed everything. But then the song finishes…
And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end, the way it all would go.
Our lives are better left to chance.
I could have missed the pain,
But I’d have had to miss the dance.
Life before Kidzilla was different.
It was quieter. We slept a lot more. Every now and then we ate ice cream for dinner.
But here’s the thing…
We might not have had to listen to “The Farmer in the Dell” four thousand times, but we would have missed out on the sound of her sweet voice singing. We would not know how great the sound of her laughter is when she laughs at her own silly jokes.
We may sleep less, but we wouldn’t know the blessed sound of her breath over the baby monitor at night. We wouldn’t know how wonderful it feels to hold her close in the rocking chair all night long until the moment that the fever leaves. We wouldn’t know what it’s like when her little head pops up at the foot of our bed on a Saturday morning just before she crawls in between us for a snuggle. And without projectile poop at 3:00 AM, we wouldn’t have a fantastically funny story to tell.
We could have Reese’s peanut butter cups and pretzels for dinner. But we don’t. We don’t skip dinner and we generally eat healthy, delicious meals together. We enjoy planning and preparing our meals together. I’d say we’re healthier overall. And we rarely run out of milk anymore.
We could certainly dash out the door, flying like bats out of hell. But more often than not, we are certainly better prepared for the day when we leave the house. Nobody leaves without clean clothes on their body and some hand sanitizer in their bag. And sometimes one of those stuffed animals finds their way to work with Mamma to help out for the day.
Overall, we have a lot more fun. We stomp in puddles, hunt for snails, stare at spider webs, and drop everything to sit on the deck and watch the sunset. We experience the things we love well as she experiences them for the first time…like her first in-the-theatre movie and her first play.
So maybe without Our Girl we wouldn’t have constant auditory input and we wouldn’t miss catching a nap on a Sunday afternoon. Maybe the carpet wouldn’t have juice stains. Maybe we could have avoided the frightening experience of Zilla’s delivery, when for a few moments, Fab Hub wondered if he was going home with a family or going home alone.
We could’ve missed all of that.
But then we would have missed the fantastic dance our lives have been since She came to be. We would have missed every second of joy and laughter that She has brought into our home and our hearts. We would have missed a few rainbows and a whole lot of beautiful sunsets.
So we’ll take the noise and the sleepless night every now and then. We’ll sing the kid songs for the nine hundredth time. We will watch Finding Nemo. Again.
And every now and then, we might just have ice cream for dinner and take Zilla along.
Another one of Mama Kat’s great writing prompts.
This post was previously published on The Meaning of Me and is republished here with permission from the author.
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