Mr. Candy had only a few gifts on his Father’s Day wish list, among them a request that I finally populate his digital picture frame — a present from Christmas, I’m embarrassed to admit — with photos. We shared a tacit understanding of what the breakdown should be: at least a hundred pictures of Skye; a couple dozen of the cats; and maybe two or three of me, space permitting. Tacit because, let’s face it, neither of us wants to acknowledge I rank below the cats. Does it sting? Sure. But I understand. After all, I would want the same — only with more cats, less spouse.
I’d thought it was a more than reasonable request, especially considering I’d promised to do so, oh, six months ago. It wasn’t until I actually fulfilled his request that I realized what a sneaky bastard my husband is. Because nothing — I repeat, nothing — makes you want to have another baby more than combing through almost a year’s worth of pictures of your first-and-only-born. We’re talking five-thousand digital pictures of our beautiful daughter changing with every day, if not every minute, of her first year of life — many of which I don’t even remember seeing before.
Oh, the tears. Oh, the laughter. Oh, the longing. Oh, the DAMN YOU, MR. CANDY.
I’ve been steadfast in my desire for only one child. Mr. Candy, on the other hand, says he would like three — in hopes that I will compromise at two. “Yeah, easy for YOU to say,” I always respond to the man who has never had a fetus do the samba on his pinched sciatic nerve, give up alcohol and caffeine for nine months, or get up a single morning with the baby. (Okay, so the last zinger is partially my own fault, because I enjoy the bonding [if not the time on the clock] of her morning feeding, but still…! Let’s just say Mr. Candy has become a huge advocate of breastfeeding. Not because of the health benefits, mind you. But because of daddy’s sleep benefits.)
Mr. Candy doesn’t have an MBA for nothing, however (contrary to previous belief). Master negotiator that he is, he clearly knew that forcing me to stroll down Miss Skye Memory Lane would give me a case of The Babies*. (Put your surgical masks, away! It’s not catching. Wait — leave yours on, Octomom. Can never be too safe.)
Now, before my mother-in-law gets too excited, I am not convinced this urge is anything more than me coming to terms with Skye’s imminent first birthday. But the pictures, combined with a poignant Motherlode post about moments when children grow up and how rarely we notice the “lasts” versus the “firsts” — e.g., the last time you carry your child, the last time the baby uses the swing, the last time you rock your child to sleep, etc. — has made me a bit of a blubbering mess. The rate at which she’s grown this past year is matched by only, well, the rate at which I’ve grown this past year. Parenthood coaxed something out in me that I didn’t think I was capable of: the ability to say “no” to a second margarita. And, yes, full-on selflessness. It has made me mature both emotionally (yay!) and physically (boo). Seriously. I’ve aged. Big-time. The bags under my eyes are big enough to carry the entire contents of Oprah’s fifty walk-in closets. Yes, both her “skinny” and “off-the-diet” clothes. I used to get carded when I bought beer at the grocery store (bless them for that). Now they eye my haggard face and ask if I “need help carrying it to the car.”
Those whippersnappers are lucky I don’t kick their ass! But I don’t want to risk making them drop my beer before they safely put it in the trunk, next to my cane.
The culmination of these events has given me even more appreciation for Miss Skye, leading to me hugging her a beat longer than usual and just generally trying to soak in and celebrate every single moment I have with her. I wonder if this is the last time she’ll nap in my arms. Or the last time she’ll squeal and grab my head with delight when I kiss her belly. I take mental snapshots of her every move now, desperately trying not to take anything for granted. Naturally, Miss Skye thinks I have lost my freakin’ mind. There are TOYS on the ground, Mom! Why are you stroking my hair and weeping when I could be chasing the cat around the room, you crazy woman?!
That’s right. Even with the baby, I rank below the cats. *Sigh*
*Nothing a day at Chuck E. Cheese’s can’t cure