Dear friends, I miss you. It feels like we haven't seen each other in ages. It's been too long since we stayed up too late, laughing 'til we cry and foraging for salty snacks from the far back reaches of our pantries. It's been forever since our last happy hour or leisurely brunch and I can't remember the last time we took a meandering walk or met up spontaneously just because. I'll be back, I promise. This first year with my second kid is a doozy, I tell you. Or I will tell you when I get back from this alternate reality. Because it feels like a journey out into a long-lost universe, only I'm the one that's lost, barely staying the course between newborn naps and preschool pickups.
You see, having these two small humans to love is magical. It's transformative and heart-melting and I also cannot keep my clothes spit-up free for more than a few minutes. Definitely not long enough to leave the house and pass as an adult who has everything together. Going from one to two kids was easier for me than from zero to one (I suspect the big difference is that I escaped the shadow of postpartum depression this time around), but it is still all-consuming. We used to hike with my firstborn in her carrier or go out to dinner while she slept in her car seat. How I miss those halcyon days; how little I appreciated their ease. With two, my hands, my heart, my head all are full. It's a physical challenge—somebody or somebodies are always attached to my body, seeking attention and nourishment and comfort. It's mental absorption—just keeping track of the roving bodies and keeping them alive, not to mention stimulating their brains and souls. It's a logistical quagmire—the razor-thin margins between overlapping nap schedules are packed with nursing and negotiating whether toddlers need to wear pants. Even on my most optimistic days, I recognize that leaving the house happens only when meticulous preparation collides with unthinkable good fortune. Some moments feel like I'm overcapacity. I need four more hands and 16 more eyes and possibly an additional heart to soak up all these sweet-smelling squishy snuggles. Sometimes I feel like supermom, totally handling this and everything that comes with it. Poop up the back of a screaming infant while a threenager melts down in the middle of a crosswalk on a busy street? I got this, I think. I am unruffled, capable. Other times I wonder what in the world I've done to myself as I soothe fuss after tantrum and wonder when, if ever, I might shower, or step outside, alone. I wonder why I'm nursing all night instead of dancing 'til dawn. And some moments, I find sudden stillness: When everyone is asleep longer than I expected, when I've crammed all of my to-do lists into all the space I thought I had, only to discover some spontaneous free time. It's in those secret stolen moments I think, I should call my friend who I haven't spoken to in ages. And once I find my slobbered-upon phone and fire up my frazzled brain, a small someone is stirring and poof—there goes my moment. Or I might sit, phone in hand, feeling guilt-wracked about how long it's been since I talked to you and also paralyzed by the very real possibility that the baby will start to squawk as soon as I find your name in my contacts. I miss you, my friends, my grown-up people, I really do. And I'm sorry that I've vanished into this quiet homebound domesticity. I'm starting to see the faint promise of a return: a time when I won't be so exhausted after the littles' bedtime that sending that text or—gasp—sneaking out for a drink or a late dinner will feel energizing and freeing. I'm on the homeward journey and I can't wait to catch up and reconnect. I won't be able to tell you much about this year—too much has faded into sleepless and mom brain oblivion—but I will be so ready to hear about yours. See you soon, my friends, and above all, thank you for your patience. XO, Me