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Baby, Family, Life, School, Work

I believe the Rolling Stones have a song to this effect.

07.12.09 | 4 Comments

Yesterday Zoe woke up around 9:00 AM. We played, cooked, played some more, swam, played, bathed, and played. At one point in the mid-afternoon I thought I might die from exhaustion and took a 20 minute break on the couch in a twilightish stupor, never falling asleep, but it was enough that when she asked to go swimming I thought there was a chance I could continue living. We had a great time in the pool and the subsequent bath, and a nice evening after that.

What I mean to say is that there was no nap, and at no point did Zoe even appear to be tired. Around 9:00 PM, we cuddled and watched her current favorite show, Imagination Movers, on the cozy sac. A couple of times during our cuddle, I was smelling her hair, kissing her warm little head, and generally floating on a cloud of bliss, when she said, sweetly and contently, “I luhboo.” Those last 30 minutes with her were more recharging to my heart than a whole week of beach bum vacation. Finally, she drifted off to sleep for the night. I watched a movie and a half, wishing I would never, ever, have to put her down.

I told Joel that what I missed most about the baby time is that it’s basically all like that, except for when they’re crying or needing to be changed. The majority, or what I remember anyway, was holding her while she slept and nursing her. And it was sweet. Really sweet. Now there are fewer of those times, but it’s extra sweet, because she chooses it. As a baby, they really don’t have a choice, and I could be loving the heck out of the cuddling, while the kid might be totally unaware of me beyond a comfortable place to lie and a food source. We definitely communed when she was a baby, and I felt like she was digging me, too, but now, the happiness seems more reciprocal. Maybe because she can talk or hug back or choose not to wriggle away.

I asked if I still will get to cuddle her when I go back to school in a month. If she’ll allow it, if she’ll begrudge my more frequent absence and commitment to something else and resent me. Not just in August, but later. Because she’ll never have a closely spaced sibling to share my attention. Med school, and then my profession, is the new baby dividing my energy. Only she won’t get the built-in best friend down the line.

I guess that’s the price of doing things a little backwards. I waffled in undergrad and abandoned pre-med, changing my major with no real plan. I got married before I was a grown-up. I had ovarian cancer before having children, creating an urgency to have a family. My experience with illness also reignited what I feel is a call to medicine. Despite my poor performance thus far, I know it’s what I need to do.

But it makes things more difficult. A lot more difficult. And I feel selfish. I don’t want her to pay the price for my doing things backwards. The fact is that Zoe has more adjusting to do than she would if I had been able to wait until I was all set up to have children. But if I had been all set up, I might have had two kids, and then she would adjust to that. Or something else. Life is a series of adjustments, right?

I swear I had a point. I wanted my baby, and I wanted to pursue medicine. I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to do both. The timing may be off by most people’s standards, but I have what I want. I just hope we all can get what we need.

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