I Don’t Know When, We’ll Get Together Then

The noise in my house is insane right now.  The kitchen flooring is being very loudly ripped up and replaced, tiles are being demolished in the bathroom and entry way, and there is the loud sound of a Shop Vac and the omnipresent outside voices of the contractors.  I peeked upstairs to see the process and was very surprised to note that none of the contractors have any sort of ear protection, which seems a little reckless.  I am fighting the urge to be motherly to these guys, to force some ear protectors on their unwilling selves.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a friend who has three daughters, the youngest of whom is three years old.  She was tired, my friend, and she spoke of needing a break from her kids, which I understood completely.  I understood, but from afar, because I realized that I really don’t.  I never feel as though I need a break anymore since my days are generally one long break – the kids come home for lunch, true, but they are at school for almost six hours a day – and now even on Saturday mornings they are gone golfing with their dad.  I realize that it’s only a month until summer vacation, and then it will be all testosterone all the time but still.  I don’t hang out with the kids the way I used to.  Even when they are home they are usually immersed in their own games and rarely require anything of me other than to listen to their discussions and feed them snacks.

Sometimes it’s a bit lonely, is all I’m saying.

In anticipation of the flooring installation today and the appliance delivery on Thursday, I cleaned one hundred and thirty six pieces of the boys’ artwork off the fridge.  ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SIX.  In some places the pictures were seven or eight deep, held on by super-strength magnets.  I looked at them all with much nostalgia and gloom; the family portrait Jake had made when he was three, complete with a giant curly circle which was meant to portray Barkley, the thirty or so pictures Mark had made of Muk-Muk and his imaginary friends, the recent pictures Jake had made of Mario Kart, and a whole series of pictures by Mark of various Canadian wild animals.  I realized suddenly that the kids don’t make me pictures much anymore.  At one point they were drawing twenty pictures a day, and now it’s rare that they sit down with the markers just to draw.  Yes, occasionally Jake will sit down and draw a Star Wars-themed picture, and Mark often sits down to make lists about who is winning what imaginary game with which imaginary weapon, but we don’t go through piles of recycled paper like we used to.

When I realized that, on taking the pictures down, there might not be new ones to put up, it was all I could do not to sit in a corner with the pictures cradled in my arms, rocking them like the babies I no longer have.

Pardon me while I sob a little bit.

It’s not like I want to go back in time; I do remember the exhaustion and isolation of having two little ones, I do remember feeling resentful when the weekend came and I was still on duty, playing endless games of farm animals or trains.  I spent how many months and years inventing things to do all day, thinking of activities and games to pass the time, the endless hours, and now there is never enough time in the day.  I remember wishing just for a few minutes to myself, just some time without the kids climbing on me asking me questions or tugging on me or needing me.  And now I have hours and hours.


  1. I’m so immune to this stuff normally but that sequence of pictures made ALL MY FEELINGS LEAK OUT OF MY EYEBALLS.

    You have beautiful boys, Nicole.

  2. Jennifer Reed says

    Thank you so much for this post, I needed to read this, today of all days. For the past week, I’ve been crying about how I am not managing very well having a 6 week old and a 22 month old. I just extended my son’s time at the day home for another 2 weeks because the idea of having them both here at the same time, alone during the day, overwhelms me.

    I need to remember that this time will pass too quickly and soon I will look back with such fondness. I will get through it; I did once before with my oldest, who’s now 11. It’s just hard to see that when I’m living it all over again.

  3. I feel caught in a strange combination of your friend and you. My kids are so far apart (6.5 years) that I’d achieved the level of much lower interaction with my first before I even had my second (thanks neighborhood for having so many kids my son’s age that they basically play for hours without assistance!) Now my son is 9 and my daughter is nearly 3. She is still at the HIGH level of parental interaction and entertainment and there are times when it wears. me. out. But because I’ve got the other perspective right on hand, I find it’s easier to remind myself in the moment that it doesn’t last forever and someday I will miss it so much. So basically I’m schizophrenic 😉

  4. Boy, do I hear you. Even though my littlest guy isn’t even drawing yet.

  5. Anonymous says

    Right there with you …
    My little guy (4 1/2) starts full-day public pre-K in the fall, and I have been spending the last few weeks mourning the crap out of his babyhood. Last night I recycled his booster seat high chair which he is now too tall for, and we passed on his baby car seat in favor of a booster. I just gave away the last of the pull-ups. And now that I am alone today, I have cried silly big fat tears.
    I work from home, so I am looking forward to my freedom, and having some time to exercise and take care of me come September. But we’re only having one baby, and he is not a baby anymore.
    But my husband is getting me a dog to keep my company once September starts 🙂 Good man.

  6. When my boys were in the throes of the art-making and picture-colouring phase, I would announce “Lets send these to Nanny!” We’d cram all their art into those pre-paid envelopes sent out my credit card companies (and the like) and stick them in the post. Clean fridge! No clutter! Amused office drones in the mail room at Visa! WE ALL WIN!!!!!

    You think I’m a horrible mother now, don’t you?! Well…I kind of am.

    What’s the new flooring going to look like?

  7. Aw, those pictures were all so sweet.

  8. I see your bereftness and raise it another couple years. Okay, now I keep typing stuff and erasing it, so I’m just going to leave it at that. At least my kids still want me to go on horrible field trips with them – I suppose that will go next.

  9. This was a good reminder, as I’m in the throes of no time for me & holding the baby all the time, that this will all pass too quickly. Nice post, lady.

  10. And I think this is why I never want to be apart from my little guy. I know the time is limited. But hopefully our boys will always remember their Mamas.


  11. They were so little and now they aren’t! Oh my.

  12. BusyMomofTwins says

    It’s around 4:30 in the morning here. Since my boys are wide awake and playing trains I thought I would take a minute to read more of your blog. This post really struck me because my boys are having trouble sleeping right now. It’s as if their imaginations are working overtime and their little bodies just want to keep going and going and going. I fear I may never sleep well again but at the same time fear that pretty soon they will be all grown up. I doubt I will long for these mid night playtimes or waking to crying toddlers/babies but maybe I will. familyfoodtravel.blogspot.ca

  13. I know I know I know.
    My little one just turned four and he’s getting all confident and stuff and separating from me which is good and in a year he will be in kindergarten all day. What? WHAT? I mean thank god he’s still in diapers or I’d be a wreck. Oh wait no I wouldn’t, I would be happy about that. We could afford a vacation then.

    Anyway, I don’t even like babies and I thought I would surely lose my mind when they were 4 & 2.

    But… mah babies! *sigh*. Heart ache.


  1. […] – but it turns out my husband is much more brutal in his spring cleaning efforts than I am. I AM NOT GETTING RID OF THE FRIDGE MAGNETS AND ART […]

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