This past weekend I went to Columbus, Ohio. It was part of an overall life resolution to take trips I have been meaning to take, and see friends I have been meaning to see. So I flew out solo on Saturday morning ready for a weekend of catching up, Skyline Chili, and a much needed break.
Stop 1 was to see one of my best friend's from college. Kristen and I don't see each other that often anymore, and our lives in many ways couldn't be more different. She is engaged, childless, has an exciting career that involves extensive international travel, and goes to the occasional Friday night happy hour. Notwithstanding my recent Scotland trip, my jet setting and wedding planning days are long gone, and my life revolves around preschool pick ups, birthday parties, and nap time. But when we see each other, it's like no time has passed, and we re-bond over our memories and one shared common interest that has sustained all the years - a love of wine.
Saturday consisted of a lot of chatting on her outdoor patio, and a lot of white wine consumption. And oh, how glorious it was to sit outside on a sunny day, with a nice cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc, and NO CHILDREN TO BOTHER ME! We talked for hours, and then changed into nice clothes to go to a restaurant in downtown Columbus, where there were also NO CHILDREN TO BOTHER ME. Then we returned to her patio, where we switched to champagne and chatted some more late into the evening, where there were also NO CHILDREN TO BOTHER ME.
You may be surprised to know that the next morning I did not wake up with a hangover. Why? Because I was actually able to sleep in until 9:30am due to the fact that there were NO CHILDREN TO BOTHER ME. We then headed back downtown for brunch, which was thoroughly peaceful and enjoyable because.... well, you get my drift.
It's always amazing to me the stark dichotomy between life with children and life without. And how easy it is to transition back over.
After I bid adieu to Kristen, I headed to another Columbus suburb to see my friend Kim, who was in town visiting from Tel Aviv. Kim and I met during our days at Skadden, and she actually preceded me in her departure, when she decided to make aliyah to Israel. Since then, I've made promises of visits that I couldn't keep, so when she was visiting her family in Columbus, I made it a priority to get there. So there I was.
Oh, and one thing I forgot to mention about Kim. She has six month old twins. Are you in awe? If you are, you must be a parent - only a parent could appreciate how challenging this would be, and I suppose only a parent of twins could really understand. There was a pre-child time in life where I thought it would be cool to have twins. Now I understand what that really means. It means two. Of everything - of night wakings, of feedings, of poopy diapers, of meltdowns. Props to Kim. She's doing an amazing job.
We spent Sunday sitting out on her patio catching up, where a baby, or the baby monitor, was an ever presence. I watched her nurse. We took the babies on a walk. We had dinner with her family. I held her precious babies and took in that baby smell and melted. At the end of the night, we drove to a strip mall so we could get a drink - Kim's first drink out since having her children. It was baby overload that day, but I didn't mind at all. There's something so great about being with babies when you have NO responsibility for them whatsoever. It was a great day.
It's no secret to those close to me that I've been weighing having a third child. Almost obsessively. So on my flight back to Columbus on Monday morning, I thought about these two extremes. Do I want to pack away the baby clothes and look forward to a quicker arrival of a more independent life? Where my kids are older and independent and I can travel again and have a career again and every once in a while drink white wine on a sunny Saturday afternoon? Or do I want to join the baby bandwagon once again (God willing, with a singleton), and go back to breastfeeding and sleep deprivation and mashing up bananas?
Life has given me so many messages that I should embrace the former. Some messages subtle, some loud and clear.
But if I'm honest with myself, the highlight of my weekend wasn't seeing my friends or drinking wine or not having any children bother me.
It was holding Kim's babies in my arms and closing my eyes and holding them to my chest and feeling them and remembering....
And knowing that I want it again, all reasoning and rationality aside.
I guess we'll see.