Photos by Sommer Marshall
A year ago I wrote the post entitled Australian Open Bam! The post discussed the nostalgia I felt as the one-year mark of George's life was signified by a tennis major, which I'd watched through middle-of-the-night feedings the year before. An excerpt:
I was watching a game on ESPN and my eyes fell on the Bottom Line, where they post scores and late-breaking news. What caught my eye was that my favorite male tennis player, Rafa Nadal, had withdrawn from the upcoming Australian Open due to a stomach illness. ESPN noted that first rounds of the Open begin on January 14th. And then Bam! there it was: the sudden memories of all of those late, late nights up watching live Australian Open tennis on TV last year while my newborn Georgie either ate or otherwise refused to sleep. OMG, I thought! My baby is about to be a whole year old! Of course it's time for the Australian Open again because it's nearly time for George's birthday! And then I closed my eyes and let the nostalgia wash over me, thinking of the hours and hours of tennis that I watched as it occurred live halfway around the world, with a sweet-smelling tiny seven-pound newborn in my embrace. I watched tennis in the hospital, in our bedroom, in our living room, while I snacked on muffins and donuts, as I quietly talked to my dad on the phone while he did overnight security work, as I watched a coyote meander through our yard, as we did "shift work" when George had no idea yet when it was daytime and when it was night-time, and as I stumbled from my warm bed to the living room with my new baby, flipped the switch for the fireplace, and nursed. All while watching Australian Open tennis. And I thank God for every single one of those middle-of-the-night moments with Georgie, and astoundingly I find myself wanting that exhaustion and peace again, for a third time with a third little one.
The last line really tugs at my heart...wanting that exhaustion and peace again, for a third time with a third little one. Even as George was a baby, I had the strong feeling that I didn't want to be done having kids, that I would crave the whole experience again. Two years later here I am, watching Australian Open tennis in the middle of the night with a third little one, Mr. Van Owen. This time I didn't forget the Australian Open was coming though; I was counting down the days until Round One began on January 13th, knowing that my favorite tennis major awaited me during long overnight hours. The kicker is that even as the exhaustion has happened this time, I haven't really minded too much. Each time that I have gotten up and flipped on the gas fireplace and sat down for a 2-1/2 hour haul with Van, I have done so with little reticence because this time I have the feeling that it's happening for the last time, with the last little one. BJ and I haven't ruled out a fourth child, but part of me thinks that destiny always had written for me three little boys to be entrusted to my care--not four little boys or three little boys and a little girl. We'll see what the future brings, however.
Five nights ago Van began sleeping through the night, right as the tennis matches were getting quite competitive and more evenly-matched. Two nights in a row he went to bed around midnight and slept until around 8:00AM, which really is music to my ears. So why in the world does some part of me feel nostalgic already? What am I, crazy? After two nights of sleeping through the night, Van and I revisited our feedings when he woke up at 3:00AM and stayed awake until 5:00AM as I nodded off while watching the Wawrinka/Berdych semi-final. Since then he has slept through the night for two more nights (which has necessitated DVR-ing of the Rafa/Federer semi-final and now the women's championship). My little boy is already growing up. Life with three little boys has been hectic these past five weeks, and I haven't had the time to myself that I have previously enjoyed as an individual; I haven't always eaten hot meals as they were ready, and I haven't always felt well when I've been tired or recovering from childbirth, but I will say this: I'm not complaining. Motherhood has been an experience like no other, and to be thrice blessed is more than any one young lady deserves. I know Van will be up again in future nights, as will Silas and George, and I can't begrudge it. It comes with the territory and affords me quality time with one of my children---time I'll be longing for when they are 19, 18, and 16 and costing me $1300 a month in groceries and grabbing the car keys and running out of the house. I just hope they sometimes kiss me on the way out and call me when they get there. Savor it, my fellow parents. It doesn't last forever.
On a side note, the Australian Open has now caused two weeks of Lorde's "Tennis Court" to be stuck in my head on a loop. Good thing I love the song. I think I'll add it to my run playlist as a forever-reminder of my early days with Van. "We're so happy, even when we're smiling out of fear.
Let's go down to the tennis court, and talk it up like yeah..."
Lorde / Tennis Court from joel kefali on Vimeo.