A Whole New World

The music floated up and drifted over onto our side of the fence. Cars began to line the street and people starting flocking to our neighbor’s house. It was time for the party.

Our neighbor had been planning a surprise birthday party for her husband for months. We had spent the day grooming our yard so we wouldn’t be those neighbors with the embarrassing yard in anticipation of the event. Our excitement was comparable to our neighbor’s. A surprise party! For a grown up! A night out of the house mingling with other adults! It was a novelty.

Of course, we had to bring the toddler. The party was right next door and we figured we wouldn’t be there terribly long. Plus our toddler loves our neighbors.

We walked across the yard and made our appearance. The awkwardness set in as it often does in new social scenarios with new people. We quickly conquered our fears with some adult beverages and by engaging the toddler in a round of let’s-eat-a-hot-dog-with-ketchup. Ketchup is the best thing in the world (if you’re two.) We met up with our neighbors, got some introductions, and found our social groove. We had fun. We interacted in adult conversations and drank adult beverages. We enjoyed a social scene we rarely get to be a part of.

The toddler found wonder in the croquet set, the hammock, and the multi-colored lights strung from the trees. He delighted in the grilled hot dogs and was elated by the birthday cake production. He enjoyed sitting by the fire pit and watching it’s blaze while Mommy and Daddy talked and laughed with other grown ups.

As the night began to wane, I found myself drawing away from the adultness. I enjoyed the weight and the closeness of my toddler in my lap while watching the flames dance in a fire pit as much as I enjoyed the conversations. I enjoyed his amazement at the sparking fireworks even more than the adult beverages. And I loved watching him dance to the music and spinning him around in circles even more than I enjoyed being out of the house.

At one point, I overheard someone say, “Is the child still here?” Her tone implied that his presence was ruining her evening, even though he had been well-behaved all night. I knew then that it was time to leave.

For you see, as much as I enjoyed the novelty of a grown up party, that’s really no longer my world. This group was a mix of people who were single and people who were students, couples who were engaged or married, people who worked in professional careers or had their own businesses, but we were the only people there with a child.

I remember those stages of life. The school work and the professors. The talk of a dating scene and nights at bars. The wedding planning and future dreaming. The married before children bits. The pressures of a job. But no one else in this group knows about my whole new world.

They don’t yet know about sleep deprived nights and birth stories and whether or not to breastfeed. They don’t yet know about the land of sippy cups and legos and sleepy cuddles and slobbery kisses. They don’t yet know about the world that I am immersed in.

The hubs was enjoying himself. He didn’t want to leave the party and go home to parenthood.

So as the night continued to ease into late, the hubs stayed at a grown up party and drank grown up drinks and talked about grown up things. But I took my little boy home, changed him into pajamas, and snuggled him on the couch as we settled in to watch an episode of Caillou before we went to bed. And I realized as I snuggled my sweet little boy, that there was nowhere else I would rather be.

As much fun as it was to dip my toes back into the grown up waters for a few hours, I feel much more at ease in comfy clothes chasing butterflies or cuddling on the couch with my little one. Despite my previous roles of student and single, teacher and professional, engaged and married, IΒ haveΒ finally found the role I was always meant to play. I am most myself here, in this exhilarating world of motherhood.


78 thoughts on “A Whole New World

  1. you know, i have those nights i put my hair up, put makeup on and pants with buttons and go out, but oh…walking back in that door. putting my pins on my bathroom counter and snuggling under the softness of all your loves asleep? um. pretty magic.

  2. Glad you are loving momhood! I have had a different experience with my son, especially when he was younger! When at another person’s house, for example, he tried to get into everything! And if it was past his bedtime, forget about it, cranky city… and quietly sitting on my lap?! No way! Also, he has Down syndrome, so I could never relax around him outside the home! Lucky for me I was a preschool teacher for 20 years and love children dearly… whether they behave well or not!

    • he kept you busy! We definitely have our exhausting days, but most of the time he’s a sweet little guy.
      I taught pre-school before becoming a stay at home mom. I have a soft spot in my heart for fellow pre-k teachers. πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much for reading!

  3. Love the quiet snuggling and remember doing that with my boys when they were still in the feety-jammies stage of things (although I VERY quickly got tired of bald Caillou–they didn’t, though) … like everything it’s balance, right? An outside party with a barbecue? great place for kids! A restaurant with real napkins and entrees priced in the double-digits…um…no. I’m one of those people who, when she’s decided to play grown-up for the night & goes “out,” doesn’t want to deal with other people dealing with their kids. I figure that I’m forking it over for a babysitter..so can they.
    That said, though, it sounds like you made a great evening for everyone – and got snuggle time too. win-win-win

    • I totally get this. It is such a hard balance to find a way to even out the adult world from the child world…and realize that we still have to exist in both.
      And Caillou? Is so very whiny! I think it is my least favorite children’s TV show. But those toddler cuddles get me every time.

  4. You and your boy and Caillou – snuggling on that couch – and you feeling there wasn’t anywhere else you’d rather be = perfection. (-:

  5. This is beautifully told. I like the ease (despite the tantrums) of child-centric social situations. But I do miss adult parties with no mention of kiddie themed topics. Still, it’s the moments of quiet and snuggling that get us through the tougher times.

    • I think you are right; a balance between the adult and child world would be so nice. And yes, the tantrum thing? Is not fun. But the cuddles make up for it so sweetly.

  6. Oh I SO know that feeling. For a quick minute it felt a little lonely that we were the only ones with a baby while all our friends were still doing the things we had enjoyed 6 months earlier. But then we moved to California and our whole new group of friends turned out to be other couples with children our son’s age and what a difference that makes! We can still have adult times, but our friends all have to get home to the sitter too. When your wine tasting ends at 10pm and everyone is glad to be going home to bed, you know you’ve become parents, lol.

  7. Loved this post. It truly reflects my feeling. Once in a while I might want to be back 5 years, but others I realized that motherhood is for me! and I’m enjoying my little one as much as I can. I felt the hug you gave to your little boy. Now, I want to be at home instead of at work. 😦

    • Oh, you made me teary! “I felt the hug you gave to your little boy.” Thank you so much. I hope your work day goes quickly so you can get home to your little one!

  8. I love this post. So beautiful. “I enjoyed the weight and the closeness of my toddler in my lap while watching the flames dance in a fire pit as much as I enjoyed the conversations. ” and “I have finally found the role I was always meant to play.” were my favorite lines. Love.

  9. I remember feeling that way. You become so immersed in their world that nothing seems more important. Gradually that physical closeness will start to separate, so enjoy those dear moments with your little one.

    • Yes! You have described it exactly. I am completely immersed, but I love it here. I know you are right, soon this will fade away so I will try my best to hold on while I can.

  10. That was beautiful. I also prefer the world of my kids than the one of the adults. I feel a disconnect in the grown up world now. I’d rather spend that time with my kids. Great post!

    • Thank you so much! It’s amazing how these two years have changed everything so quickly and make us feel disconnected to an adult world we used to be a part of. I’m so glad other Mommies out there feel the same way!

  11. Sounds like you had the best of both worlds there for a few hours, but like you I would choose snuggling with a toddler over a grown-up party any day! Lucky kid.

  12. I love how you drew us through this – from the excitement of a party to the grown-up world, the before of your life, through the fire and to the night, to the after. So, so lovely.

  13. I loved reading this and have to admit that many of the “mommy” blogs have not hit the right note for me (being almost 65 and WAY past those years). Very well written, I felt myself beside you the entire evening. Great post!

    • This must be one of the sweetest compliments ever! I am honored that you think I stand out from the crowd of mommy blogs. I am so glad you stopped by to read even though this isn’t your daily reality anymore!

  14. I can really relate to this post, nostalgic as I’ve been feeling lately for my “old” world (the two-year-old’s “two-ness” has been getting to me). Still, it seems like a different life – bar nights and parties and dating and wedding planning. It was fun once, but now I tend to feel like you – out of my element once the novelty wears off. And at the end of the day, I’m most comfortable unwinding at home in a comfy pair of jammies and spending my evenings reading or writing.

    • I think you have summarized it perfectly here. This two-year-old phase can be so daunting, but I’m still more comfortable here than I was in my different lives. And the other part of me seems like it was so long ago. These two years have changed everything so much and so quickly.

  15. Speaking of loving the toddler world, last week was my husband and I’s anniversary and I was very excited to go out just the two of us. I literally spend 24/7 with my girls, never a moment without them, and while I realize what a blessing that is, I also realize I need a mental break every now and then. We had a great anniversary dinner, it was a lot of fun, I had a drink (uh oh!) and we didn’t have to clean noses and cut up food in the process. It really was good for us. But when we got back to my mom’s house to pick up the girls, without even thinking about it, I JUMPED out of the car and RAN into the house and my husband laughed and joked “Dang, glad we had such a good night, I guess my time is over!” and I stopped for a minute, because even though he was kidding, I felt bad that I just ditched him like that but I really, really just wanted to see my girls. I said “Yep! I need my babies!” They truly are where my heart is.

    • This story is so funny and I can definitely relate! I’m also with my little guy 24/7, which like you said, is great, but you definitely need breaks!!
      Happy Anniversary! I’m so glad you were able to go out and have a drink. I’m the very same way though, when we do go out, I miss my little guy and can’t wait to get back. Poor husbands. πŸ™‚

  16. i could not agree more. our time before kids was wonderful but looking back on it, i feel – maybe nostalgia – but never regret. i wouldn’t trade this for anything and you really hit the nail on the head!

    • Thank you so much! Yes, I definitely have those moments of thinking about the time before I had my son, but I think my idea of them is so much more fun than the reality of them. I love this new life.

  17. fantastic post!! i love it so. probably because i much prefer the company of my child to adults these days, too… though that Caillou is annoying with all that whining. πŸ˜‰

    • Thank you so much! I’m so glad we are in the same boat. And YES, I could not agree more; Caillou’s whining is horrible!!! It’s probably my least favorite children’s TV program.

  18. Good for you for recognizing your feelings of where is most comfortable. It is a struggle, some days, to manage grown up time and kid time and how sometimes you’re in between. Some days it’s good to go back to the “old days” but mostly I find things are good, just as they are.

  19. Motherhood is the best! There’s no where else in the world that I would rather be than home with my munchkin… you hit the nail on the head. Great post!

    • Yes! Us too! I feel like I have become kind of anti-social since I became a Mom. And I also kind of love the blogging world more than going out too. What is happening to me? πŸ™‚
      It’s fun to go out every once in a while, but I really am much more comfortable in this little world I have created for myself.

  20. That change doesn’t happen all at once though, does it? You sort of find yourself slipping into the other side for two years and then…you’re happier soberly singing Pat a Cake than drunkenly slurring Pat Green. πŸ™‚ Beautifully written about the transition.

    • Thank you so much! You are so right, this transition has taken time. Probably this whole two years. When he was a newborn I was still feeling like a part of the adult world. But now I’m so immersed in toddler land that I’m more comfortable here. It’s so interesting to see how our life changes and will continue to change with these little ones.

    • Haha, yes!! I enjoyed the party too, but it was just so apparent that my world is so different now. But oh my goodness did I enjoy the adult beverages. πŸ™‚

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