Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

A New Me

When I got pregnant with N, everyone kept regaling me with stories of how much harder raising two kids is as opposed to raising one. So, after he was born, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. It never did.

Finally, I figured out why. For me, the hard part of parenting hasn't been the actual parenting. The hard part of parenting has been becoming a parent, becoming someone with entirely different interests, priorities, even friends than the person who got pregnant with E just over seven years ago. By the time N came alone, that new me--Mommy Me--was fully formed, and pretty darned comfortable in her skin, to be honest.

The old me was a bit of a contradiction. She was fairly promiscuous, willing to do more than just try a large variety of intoxicating substances, and always craving attention. And yet, she was not at all a thrill-seeker. I've never shoplifted (unless you count that little mistake I made in the Dollar Tree a few months back...), never found the thrill in roller coasters and scary movies and fast cars and minor scuffles with the law. I'm a rules maven--gimme a rule, and I follow it. I was the ultimate good girl, actually, if you ignored the sleeping around, drinking and drug-taking.

Becoming a mom, for me, meant throwing away the wild child and embracing my inner Good Girl. The funny thing is, while it was a bit of a change, and took a little while, I don't miss Wild Child at all. I adore being a mini-van driving, PTA-attending, soccer mom. Not only have I been faithful throughout my almost ten years with Baroy, but I haven't even been tempted, haven't even been interested in anyone else. This, ladies and gents, is very, very much a first. (I'm almost embarrassed to say how often and how persistenly I cheated on my last boyfriend before Baroy, who I dated for seven years...) And I can't think of the last time a man has shown signs of being interested in me. There was a time in my life where that would be death to me--not having anyone new to flirt with or sneak around with. And yet, until I started typing this entry, I hadn't even thought about it.

There are so many other things that are different about me. I've gotten way into 'old lady crafts' like cross stitching and hardanger and tatting (lacemaking, not giving out gang tatoos). I've become an avid cook, whereas in the past I hadn't a clue what to do in a kitchen. I've even learned to sew.

Now I'm staring 40 in the face. For a while I wondered, in a sort of oddly distanced way, if I would respond to turning 40 by regretting the changes that life has brought me, and yearning for the past. I haven't. Not at all. But I am aware of another kind of shift in me, from a baby mom, consumed with making every moment of my kids' lives enriching and exciting, to a mom of kids who can entertain themselves--and who are actually better off learning to do so. And so I'm starting to find myself again, a little. I'm starting to focus on me, a little. And that focus on me is having a pretty positive effect on my marriage, as well, which I'd been neglecting for a long time. Baby steps. But I think they're good ones.

What brought all this on? I went for a run today. Actually, I went for a run--for those of you who have done the Couch to 5K program at Cool Running, it was week 5, day 2--after stopping off at Ross to buy myself some running pants and new jogging bras/shirts. I haven't run since college, and even then, it was a very short lived thing. And I haven't bought myself clothes, especially work-out clothes, since before E was born. When I crawled into my car after my run, I realized that both of these things are major changes for me, major shifts of focus. Call it my mid-life crisis, though I don't see it as a crisis. Fit at Forty, that's gonna be me. Hey, it had to happen some time...

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