I just love getting all of your emails, and this one was no exception. I just had to share her perspective with the new Early Mamas out there. — Michelle
Love love love your blog! I was an Early Mama too! I had three babies in 3.5 years, two surprises (with birth control?) and one planned, and it was the best thing that ever ever ever happened to me. They were all born by the time I was 30, which was very young for women like me back then. I have a cohort who had her first at age 45 and second at age 47!
So I am and was the happiest mama alive. Sure my husband worked hard out in the world to support us — sometimes seven days a week. And he made sure I had good part-time help when I needed it for my kiddies. We were maybe a little short on cash here and there, but believe me, my kids never knew it. Back in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, in the early 1990s, without cell phones or even the Internet at the time, and no TV for our kids (on purpose). We had food, a great bank, the grocery store, the icy shop, pizzerias galore, all kinds of cheap public transportation, and friends. And a really supportive and loving extended family who sent boxes of gifts and hand-me-down toys.
My husband also made sure that we went out alone one night or day — a walk, a movie, a car ride, a meal — starting when our kids were little. Something, anything, to still be "us." I used neighborhood teen girls as sitters, and swapped sitting nights with local moms. He made it happen, even when I left in tears because the baby was screaming for me as I left. It was what kept us together as a couple.
My kids were and are still extremely happy. And so am I. They made me who I am today.
At my wonderful husband's suggestion, I started going to college for my Master's Degree in Childhood Education when my baby was 2 years old. Only one night a week...for 12 years! Oh well, I did it and I'm happy to say I have been working as a music and art teacher in NYC public and private schools, at "Music Together," and at the NY Public Libraries for the last 15 years. Now I have my own family music program rolling up here in the Hudson Valley, NY, and I'm so, so, so happy. The only thing I miss here is my kids. I'm not sad; I'm tender. The memories are so sweet, I could eat them up and often do. It is a longing for the olden days, all together, doing this or that. Not sad, just tender and sweet.
At age 47, I have an empty nest. It's strange and odd and wonderful at all the same time. And it happened so fast. I long for the days of my little ones clambering down the stairs in the morning, shouting "Ta Da, here I is!" Or putting the cat in the washing machine, or pooping in the toy chest. Or falling asleep in my arms, or sitting on my lap in the bathroom in the middle of the night, singing away as I hot mist the croup out of him. Yes those days do not last forever. And they were the best.
So here I am now, all alone except for my wonderful husband, wondering how all that happened so quickly. And here we are, just starting out as almost newlyweds again, looking across the table wondering, "Who the hell are you??" Just kidding, but it sure is weird. After all, we only lived together in the same state for 8 months before our first baby came along and then, as one of my sons once said, "Bing, bang, boom, out we came!"
Now I have dreams to chase. The first is helping my husband pay for three kids to get through college! We will have two kids in college for 8 years. Fortunately, two of them got amazing scholarships and they are all really wonderfully talented in their chosen fields — music, illustration, and technical theater.
Other than that, I am pursuing my dream of being in a kiddie band and making my family music program, Emily Music for Kids!, grow.
Some day I wish to travel and bring music to all the children of the world. I know they will actually be teaching me more than I could ever teach them, but I wish to pursue my dream of making the world a healthier, safer, more sanitary world for children. My old dream was to be a star — in the theater, to be exact. But now it's much bigger. I still want to be famous, but in a different way. Like one of my sons said, "Oh, Mom, you'll be famous one day; famous in the hearts of children."
What could be better than that?
Thank you for hearing my story.