It was hope.
I love Diminutive One. I think he is fabulously smart and creative and will one day do very big things. He has taught me a lot about myself and a lot about the kind of parent I can be.
But he has been hard.
Every minute of every hour of every day with him has been a challenge. And he will continue to challenge me long after, I think, the age at which most parents consider their job done.
A lot of his life has been difficult for me to enjoy because it has been mired in self-doubt, anger, worry and sheer unmitigated exhaustion. While I have always loved him, and always will, with a depth and ferocity that still surprises me sometimes...the truth is that I have spent far more time than I am entirely comfortable with, not liking him very much.
Because I was so focused on just getting through each day without having a nervous breakdown, I missed a lot of the good stuff. And there was good stuff. But I find that I have a hard time remembering it now, because then, I had a hard time seeing it for what it was.
I know it's difficult for people with typical children to understand such a thing. It's hard for me to understand and even harder for me to admit. But I have to in order to make sense of all the feelings that parenting him evokes. I have to own the good and the bad.
And, really, I could lie to all of you and pretend that raising him has been nothing but a joy and a privilege....but I could never lie to myself, at least not with any measure of success. The truth would always be there, gnawing at me.
I had one of those perfectly compliant and blissfully laid back children. And yes, I was the one judging you when your child had a tantrum, or hit another child, or threw their food in a restaurant. Because my naivete led me to believe that the easy going nature of my child had something to do with me.
It didn't. And it was a hard learned lesson, let me tell you.
So...when I thought I might be pregnant, for me, it was another throw of the dice, another spin of the wheel, another hand to play. I thought it was maybe another chance at normalcy. A normal baby. A normal child. A chance to enjoy those precious few fleeting years, instead of just enduring them.
A chance to feel good and confident and proud of myself as a parent. To feel, once again, like I'm good at this gig. I felt like a good parent with Pubescent One. I still do. With Diminutive One, I feel like an abject failure 99% of the time.
So it's not really a baby I'm mourning. It's normalcy. Adequacy. Competency.
Well, and maybe, just a little bit...that baby head smell.
But the fact is, we have just as much chance of conceiving another child who is every bit as defiant, oppositional, stubborn, unconventional and single-minded as Diminutive One. Atypical. Different.
And I'm just not sure I can hack that again.
So I think that we will let what is, be.
((BIG CLEANSING BREATH))
So...do you mind if I sniff your baby now and then?