We went to see one of my new favorite bands, Tokyo Police Club, at a late-night concert last weekend. Before that, we stopped in at a bar on a whim and had a martini each - Belvedere vodka with blue-cheese-stuffed olives. Then we made our way to the concert hall and walked in to the middle of the opening act. As soon as we planted our feet at a spot, we were rapt. They were really good. Don’t you love that? A surprisingly great opening band? At one point, I closed my eyes; my heart reverberated synchronously with the music that filled my ears. It suddenly hit me: this is good. Life is good.
Our daughter’s asleep at home and our dear friend is babysitting for the night. He also happens to be her favorite “uncle” who she absolutely adores. Leaving our daughter with someone like that meant a worry-free night. She would be fine. He would be fine. And I would be fine.
That night, in that music-filled hall, singing along with one of my favorite bands, I recognized that old weightless feeling of being carefree and unencumbered. A night on the town with My Guy and not once did I check my phone for messages or calls. That was WILD.
We have hit a really good groove with this parenting thing. Our daughter’s sleeping well. Her patterns are more predictable, and we’ve been feeling pretty sure of ourselves. It’s a major parenting milestone that affords us much needed peace of mind when we go out, and we’ve been doing a lot more of that lately.
I used to feel guilty leaving Little Miss behind because I was unsure of how she’d react should she awaken to someone other than her parents, or if anything should happen, I wanted to be there. Somehow, I managed to convince myself that the imminent threat of “if anything should happen” was always going to be there and if I were to use that excuse every time, I was never going to leave my baby’s side, and possibly my house. And I couldn’t have that.
Admittedly, I’m a social creature. I enjoy interacting with my peers and just being out there, living. And My Guy’s the same way. I also love our date nights, crying at the movies, stage performances that warrant a standing ovation and feeling breathless but alive at concerts. These were an integral part of my life before my daughter was born. But once she was here, they became dormant as I traveled with unsure footing on my new journey as a parent.
It was a foggy first few months with a newborn. The long nights. The wild eyes. The tears – hers and mine. I sometimes did what I knew. Sometimes I did what I could. For awhile there, motherhood was all-consuming because I felt as clueless and helpless as the little creature who lay in my arms, constantly needing and wanting and waiting and demanding. But I am surer now. Not 100 percent, because I don’t think I could ever get there, but enough to recognize the me that I had left behind.
And I want her back in my life. Those dancing shoes in the closet don’t just belong to her. They are mine too. I was that singing-bouncing-two-stepping-arm-flailing-fist-pumping girl at the concert hall long before I became a mother. It took me awhile to realize that she is still very much a part of me. The same way motherhood will now forever be entwined with that girl. One does not defy, nor does it define, the other. They – no, we – are one and the same. It is time I honored them both. Because the woman who sings nursery rhymes with her little girl is the same one who bellows this refrain with the rest of the crowd until her voice becomes raspy at the concert:
“...But it's good to be back
Good to be back
Good to be back...”
Yes. Yes, it is.
This post is part of Bigger Picture Moments.
Music lyrics from the song, Breakneck Speed, by Tokyo Police Club.