Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pam Had Her Baby

My love affair with "The Office" has been waning this season. I’m not sure what it is, I just haven’t felt the magic of it lately and my commitment to following along religiously has slacked off. However, last week Pam had her baby and I wanted to watch it so I just caught up with the episode today. (A week later. See what I mean? Slacked. Off.) I found last week’s show to be very entertaining this time around and they won some of my love back, but I was caught off guard by two scenes. The first: Pam was yelling from behind the delivery room door, and I originally thought, “What’s with all the screaming? You’ve heard of the epidural, haven’t you Pam? Please don’t tell me you went all Dharma on me and drank a holistic tea with honey to take the edge off because I would lose all respect. Then again, it would explain the yelling.” So I rolled my eyes a little at the embellished drama emanating from my television when finally, (do I dare say things came to a head?) the scene culminated, the baby came out, smiles and sighs of relief ensued, and the cries of the newborn baby girl wafted through the airwaves and struck a chord within the depths of my menopausal soul.

The scene jumped to Jim and Pam cradling their new bundle in flannel blankets, cooing at her face, pointing out her features and smiling at each other in mutual adoration. And just like that I remembered what that felt like, and…(I cannot believe I am about to say this out loud. Just remember that I am weak, hormonal, completely delusional and prone to singing Celine Dion songs out loud) I missed it. (Why do I feel like I am 16 and I have just told all of you that I am pregnant out of wedlock?) I nervously looked around the room to make sure nobody noticed the sting in my eyes. I caught a glimpse of my daughter, hunched over a homework assignment – her mascara (her MASCARA! Lucas is dead, adults are watching cartoons, vampires are taking over the media AND MY DAUGHTER WEARS MASCARA) was a little smudged under her eyes, her shoulders stooped just enough to give way to the pressure she felt over a looming test – a far cry from the little girl with pigtails who used to attack a jar of peanut butter while I wasn’t looking and crawl in bed with me in the morning to snuggle. I shot a glance toward my son – practicing his mid air leaps wielding a pocket knife, and the sort to use affection as a bargaining chip (Hey Mom, If I give you a hug can I have a cookie?) – he looked a far cry from the boy who used to line up his toy cars in a straight line and carry multiple plastic animals in each hand. I tried to snap myself back into reality by noting, “Yes, but see that snack there that your daughter is eating? She got that BY HERSELF. WHILE YOU DID NOT GET UP. AND P.S. THAT KID IS THE REASON YOU WILL NEVER HAVE TO HIRE A BABYSITTER AGAIN. GET A GRIP ALREADY.” So I did.

The episode continued with shots of Jim and Pam not sleeping, of waking in the middle of the night to diagnose the cries, to feed the baby who wouldn’t latch on and change the diaper that was soaked through, and I went, “Ooohhhh…riiiiiight. I remember this now. See? It’s not all smurfs and butterflies.” But THEN! The baby DID latch on, and Pam got excited and the baby got excited and I heard THAT SOUND. You know the one? There’s a sound that a baby makes when she is hungry – similar to that made after one has crossed the Mojave Desert in August wearing polar fleece and eating nothing but Ritz crackers before happening upon a natural spring – she reaches the fountain of living waters (or in this case, breast milk) and indulges so enthusiastically that one struggles to decipher whether the gasps for air are due to suffocation or satisfaction. And you guys, I am telling you right now that hearing that sound, whether recorded in a Hollywood studio or not, practically unglued me. (Though it does beg the question, how does that sound get recorded? Some innocent lady sitting in the park one day whips it out to feed her crying baby, only to be approached by some TV executive who asks, “’Scuse me ma’am, would you mind if I just slipped this little microphone down there for a second? It’ll only take a minute, and I promise not to linger. It would really help me out. My boss has been BREATHING DOWN MY BACK over this, and...no really, I’m a TV producer. What, you wanna see my business card? Oh, of course, let me just grab it here...whoops! Did I just....? Sorry. My bad. Well, I guess that’s a wrap!”) Anyway, I was taken aback by my reaction to a sound that was emanating from a FICTIONAL story coming out of the television and I realized, "This must be what Patrick Dempsey feels like when there's a medical emergency and everyone looks at him like, 'Well doc? You going to do something or just stand there?' and he has to explain, 'GUYS. It's just a TV SHOW.'" But it didn't matter. I had to admit, if but for a fraction of a second, that I missed it.

Truth be told, it felt good to miss it. Because the fact of the matter is, I love my kids. Did you hear me? I LOVE MY KIDS. I would jump in front of a freight train if it meant saving their life. I have volunteered at their schools, which for me, may as well be hurling my body in front of a freight train. I would climb mountains (as long as I had really good boots), swim across oceans (providing I lose all the weight I need to look good in a bathing suit), and scale any obstacle (as long as it doesn’t involve translating for Ozzy Osbourne) to help my children. But the other hard truth is that being a mother, for me, has not filled me up in the way that I hear some women talk about. It doesn’t feed my soul, I don’t feel like it’s what I was meant to do all my life, I don’t relish most of our days, and I don’t feel like I am doing God’s work. There. I said it. That doesn’t mean I don’t recognize that what I do has value, because I surely believe it does, but that is another topic for another day.

Today, I guess what I mainly wanted to say is that sometimes I really do miss my babies. I don’t want it back, but I hope God is keeping lots of videos for me to watch after I die and go to heaven so I can remember every little good thing that happened here. And I hope He throws out the one where I yell at Drew for getting into my “good” jewelry.

23 comments:

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

And I hope that when God shows you the videos, he's captured that sound. And though I feel kind of like you do about motherhood in general, I have a feeling that when we watch the "highlights film," it will be a lot more obvious that we ARE doing God's work. I always say that motherhood is creation in slow motion. It's a miracle that moves too slowly to recognize.

Melinda said...

Oh thank you for writing this. I've been feeling this way, too. Missing my children as babies and yet loving that they are old enough to tell me which kind of cereal they would like. I am a titch nervous over how soon they will be able to make their OWN cereal...which they actually may already be able to do...but let's just stay a little in denial shall we? Ok then.

P.S. I "followed" you over here from LRS awhile ago, but am too chicken to comment regularly. I think you are hilarious and frequently laugh out loud over your posts with the always awkward "HAAAH!"

Patty Ann said...

Loved this post! I can so remember those days and be so thankful they are over! However, I am also (dare I admit it) missing some of the more memorable parts of it. I think that all things will make sense in the next life and we will understand just how much of His work we have done. I love the fact that some of my kids are grown and that I can get sooooo even with them through the grand-children!!! As for the ones that still live at home, I am looking forward to the memories that we are making together.

Vennesa said...

Amen!!
I just potty trained my last child. I have changed my last diaper. It's a good feeling. Not saying I didn't enjoy them when they were tiny, but I'm ready to enjoy the next stage. And the next...

Brittany said...

Yessssssssssss.

Chrissy Jo said...

My mother and I have had talks kind of like this. She spaced her kids out a lot (Like 5 in 15 years), and she's never missed having babies. I'm in the thick of it right now and I do my best to enjoy what is to be enjoyed, but I don't know if I'll really miss my babies either. I LOVE watching the two that I have grow and LEARN and change!

As a side note I give props to you for being honest that motherhood has not necessarily "filled you up" because I think a lot of women are afraid to admit such things even if they are true. I firmly believe that motherhood is the most important thing I will ever do in this life, but it is certainly not the ONLY important thing I am supposed to do in this life. Some would call me blasphemous, but I have the feeling you wouldn't. Thanks.

The Yarbrough Clan said...

Oh dear! I want so much to have another! I LOVE the baby stage! Maybe when I have multiple kids I will like it a little less, but I really just have baby hunger every single day! I miss every part of it! I love that Drew lines up his toys like Olivia!

Oh and did you forget to mention that Pan was feeding someone else's baby? :) Jeff and I own all the seasons!

ganelle said...

Great post. We were watching home videos just the other night, and it made me ache for my babies. Yet, somehow, I'm TOTALLY good with being done with that part. I just should've taken more video...

the emily said...

So I had my baby 8 days ago and came home from the hospital the night that Office aired--it was a little weird to watch it on TV when I had just done it literally the day before. And those noises? They still make me melt. So thankful for babies. Hope I remember this for a very long time, 'cause I think this baby girl is the last.

violyngirl said...

Dharma, I love Dharma. Cause she's so WEIRD!

Kerri said...

Such a good post. And I felt the exact same way throughout the Office episode...the "Oh, I'm sad I'll never be doing that again," and then the, "OH...THAT'S why I'm happy I'll never be doing that again," and then the "Oh...yeah...there's beauty in it, isn't there?"

But you're right, parenthood is blasted hard, even if I'm glad I chose to do it. It's still hard.

Jen said...

Thank you so much for this post! I too struggle to feel like the work I am doing is filling up my soul and giving me much happiness and joy. I get moments here and there that reinforce that I am doing something right and I am grateful for that...but there are lots of "other" moments in between. I do not believe that because I have those moments or that I am not "in love" with being a mommy that it makes me a bad mom. In fact, I believe that by being honest about it with my kids and my myself that we can all work through it together and help each other out. And you know what, I think your kids are like mine, they love you for who you are...for being their mom and their friend and not trying to be anything else.

Mom of Three said...

Seeing as I'm one that went back for more, I am finally at the point where I'm good. I miss the little babies, but that is what church is for. I still steal them away, while secretly smiling that I'm not off changing a diaper and filling a bottle. BTW...LOVED that episode!!!

Christy said...

I know exactly how you feel about the office and motherhood. This episode brought back a lot of the office magic that's been missing of late. I am sending my 4th (and last) child to kindergarten in just a few months and it's a weird feeling. I don't want to have another baby and go back to all that, but I'm not really sure what I want to do with my life next, now that I won't have kids demanding my full attention 24 hours a day. Maybe I'll just have to spend all day sitting on the couch eating bon bons and watching office re-runs.

Emily said...

It's God's work, all right, but I didn't really get that perspective on it until I had grandkids. At that point, somehow the magic of the generations continuing through time made it seem a little clearer what eternity was for. That said, however, I get that there's a lot of just plain "enduring" along the way.

Heather said...

That was a great episode. And I get it. I miss having a newborn around- but I'm pretty sure I don't want to feel like death on wheels for 9 months... just yet.

Melinda said...

Wow! Just yesterday I watched this episode (recorded also) and had the exact same feelings you describe. I too have two children and have been done with babies for a while and I'm happy about that. I love being a mother, but feel that it's not all I am meant to be. Thanks so much for validating my feelings!

Lisa said...

That's so funny! I was getting all squishy inside when they were "discovering" their newborn and then, like all good tv does, they showed the other sider of "that crying" in the middle of the night that must still be fresh in my mind because it made me flinch and clench my shoulders and start fervently praying for rest. Muscle memory, muscle memory.

Aaron and Devony said...

This is why we love you. Because you're so darn honest. It's refreshing to be around people that are comfortable enough to be exactly who they are and not apologize about it. I loved this. And if you miss babies in general, you can come snuggle mine, although they don't make the noise anymore.

Mindy Gledhill said...

I have never resonated more with a blog post. I am not menopausal, but I had those same reactions to that last episode of The Office and those same feelings about motherhood. Way to be honest. You just said what I think so many other women are afraid to say. Once again, you score.

Emily said...

I love this post! I cannot tell you how many moments of my life have been spent feeling the way you just described. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
Also, I could NOT stop laughing that the baby who latched was not Pam and Jim's! That is my favorite "Office" moment to date.

Kerri said...

Not long ago, Jay remarked that "maybe we should think about adopting". I looked at him like he was out of his mind. Rachel is my all and everything, but I don't want to start from scratch. It took a long, long time to get here, though.

amylouwho said...

with a 2 and a 4 year old and newborn weeks from joining, I feel tired, frazzled, impatient and not fulfilled a lot of the time. however, chubby hands and hugs and kisses and kid eyelashes sometimes help ease the burden.

thanks for sharing!