Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, this life
– Lyrics by The Verve
I have recently realized that those words describe parenting perfectly…everything about parenting is bittersweet. It’s a beautiful, bittersweet symphony.
After 6 years of battling unexplained infertility, Jason and I finally tried in-vitro fertilization and welcomed Ethan into our lives. We were both ecstatic and couldn’t wait to hold him in our arms. But what should have been the happiest time of my life ended up being one of the saddest. I remember sitting and holding him, singing “You Are My Sunshine” and crying uncontrollably. After wanting something for so long I felt overwhelmed and I experiencing major culture shock.
Don’t get me wrong; I knew our lives would change but I really had no idea how much they would! The endless crying, lack of sleep, and being at this little person’s beck-and-call 24/7 was not what I thought it was going to be. I thought it would be easy and come naturally to me. It didn’t.
It was almost a year before I realized that I had postpartum depression and began taking anti-depressants. Luckily, my world once again changed for the better. I began enjoying motherhood and realized that Ethan was doing what he was supposed to be doing – he was being a baby! This is what I signed up for – what I had wanted so long – and I finally settled into motherhood. I just wished there were more moms out there willing to talk about how hard it is and how it’s not as easy (or fun) as it looks.
So when the twins were born a couple of years later (via intrauterine insemination), I was ready for the hard work and the payoff that I knew would come after getting used to now having three little ones.
We went through the sleepless nights, and more quickly than with Ethan, said goodbye to them.
We said goodbye bottles, hello sippy cups after a year.
The diaper bag went away after they turned two, and just recently we said au revoir to diapers for good.
And that’s when it hit me: that it’s all a bittersweet symphony. My babies are no longer babies. Any trace of baby, except for pictures and memories, is gone from our home. They will never need a pacifier or bottle or diaper again. My babies are little people.
Soon the day will come when they prefer to hang out with their friends over me. They won’t want to be with me every waking minute of the day. I’m seeing their independence, and their personalities continue to shine through more every day.
This is what I’ve been waiting for – for them all to become more independent so that I don’t have to answer to “Mommy” 1,265,223 times a day. This is what I thought I’d been waiting for. Now that our lives and the kids are getting easier to deal with, I’m already sad about how quickly those baby years went. And I’m dreading the fact that I already know how fast these preschool years will go and that before I know it, they’ll all be graduating from high school and living their own lives.
It is all really bittersweet, and I’m not sure I like it.