when sad slaps happy upside the head

This past weekend was such a mix of the ordinary and the extraordinary.  There were these moments, those little ones, that make it all worthwhile.  Friday I had both babies by myself and it was a good day.  Nothing spectacular, but not stressful and therefore a solid “good.”  I ran some errands, met a friend at the mall for a Chic-Fil-A lunch and playground time, and did some chores while both kids napped (massive success).  That night, my heart nearly exploded out of my chest as I watched Theo trying to entertain Dexter for the first time.  I mean, Dexter is pretty entertained by Theo – he always follows his every move.  But this was different.  It was on purpose.  Theo was sitting on the couch next to me as I was holding Dexter and they were smiling at and reacting to one another.  Theo was leaning over in Dexter’s face, grinning and admiring his baby brother.  It was a moment that would mean absolutely nothing to anyone else sitting there, but one that I had been waiting for.  It was so sweet.  Stinkin’ adorable. 

On Saturday, the early morning was full of sleepy snuggles in a dark bedroom as barely awake babies were tucked beneath cozy blankets.  Theo drank whole milk from a pirate sippy cup as Dexter nursed and a big mess of intertwined legs and feet ensued.  R and I paused and looked across the divide between us, full of squirmy little kids in footie pajamas, and quietly smiled at one another…thinking this is itThis is what everyone wants.  We’ve got it.  This is the dream.  If “they” don’t want this, then “they” don’t know what it is.  I felt insurmountable wealth in that moment.

After agonizing about it all week, I decided to accept R’s parents’ offer to keep Dexter and Theo Saturday night so that we could enjoy our first kid-free night since April.  I went back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.  There were pros.  There were cons.  There were stomachaches thinking about leaving my bitty baby Dexy for the first time.  Ultimately, I knew that I had to do it because we desperately needed that time together.  But I didn’t want to.  But I did.  You see?  It was quite the challenge.  Long story short(ish), we dropped them off and had dinner at Bravo, then saw the movie Straw Dogs (I thought it was good, for what that’s worth, and I’m going to talk more about a particular scene in a separate post).  Of course, I had to pump, so we went home for that and then headed over to The Melting Pot for a decadent dessert (which was friggin’ amazing).  Y’all.  We didn’t even GET to The Melting Pot until after 10pm.  That’s 2200 hrs.  Do you understand how wacky and extraordinary a phenomenon this has become?  As we were gushing over how delicious our Cookies ‘n Cream Marshmallow Dream fondue was, I felt the deepest gratitude for my in-laws…who not only agree to babysit when we ask them to, but ask if and when they can babysit.  Again, so lucky. 

I felt a sense of renewal and rejuvenation I haven’t felt since, well, probably the last time I was kid-free for a night.  I spend so much time in mommy mode nowadays that I tend to forget I ever had any other mode.  Being my husband’s girlfriend (and not just the mother of his children) for a day was fun.  Waking up on Sunday morning at 9:08am was pretty magical too.  Lying on the couch watching Ghost on Lifetime (or whatever channel it was) was kickass.  But you know what, guys?  Seeing those kids on Sunday afternoon – that was the best.  Theo’s little chipmunk grin and Dexter’s gummy, slobbery smile…those faces melt my heart.  My little humans were finally home and back in my arms.  We had a good dinner and some time to play before they went to bed.  The weekend was over but the euphoria from those perfect three days lingered on. 

I got in my car and started the quiet drive to work, feeling full of contentment about my life.  For some reason, I started thinking about a shirt we bought Dexter that had a cute excavator and said “my grandpa digs me” on it.  I had showed it to R’s dad before they left.  Five minutes before I pulled into the parking garage, that stupid little 3-6 month shirt made me cry.  I thought about how Dexter would never wear that shirt for my dad.  I have often thought things like “my dad won’t meet my kids,” etc.  But I had never thought much about what his relationship with them would have been like.  I never pictured him chasing after Theo or them laughing together as he tossed Theo up in the air.  I had never imagined him snuggling Dexter up to his scratchy beard to kiss his forehead.  Never envisioned him taking my boys fishing and coming back with stories about funny things that happened.  He won’t shake their hands or hug their necks and say “I’m proud of you” on graduation day.  I never thought about the memories my kids won’t make because they don’t have their Gramps.  The memories that I won’t make because my kids don’t have their Gramps. 

For some reason, that realization took me by surprise and before I knew it, hot tears were welling up in my eyes and streaming down my cheeks.  Life is weird.  And beautiful.  And strange. And ugly.  Death and loss is a natural part of that, I know.  Just when you think you’re truly happy, sad comes along and slaps you upside the head.  Missing my dad is something I do every day, but I’m not going to let that steal my thunder.  All in all, it was still a perfect weekend.