A few things happened to me all within a few days last week that made me remember a life I haven't seen in a long, long time.
The first was hearing an old song on the radio. To be honest, even now just a week later, my second-time-but-still-new mommy brain already can't remember exactly what the song was. But let's just pretend it was a terrible 90's anthem, like some N*Sync or Backstreet Boys song. It was a song I hadn't heard for years and as it came on the radio, I was driving my two small children, who were nestled happily in their car seats, over to the grocery store. It was a blazing contrast from my former memories of hearing the song. Thoughts of driving around with my best friend on a summer night, windows down, music blaring, singing at the top of our lungs invaded my head. Most nights we didn't even have a destination, we just went. The song made me think of all of those memories, rushing into my head all at once.
The second was seeing a friend's twitter posts about a girl's weekend, including shopping, manicures/pedicures, movies, meals out on the town, etc. She seemed to be so independently happy, planning and doing something just for her own needs.
The third was finding and reading this post on how the person you were before children dies when you have children, and you are also birthed into a brand new person at the same time. Sitting at my computer one night reading that post, I broke down in tears.
The combination of those three things happening all at once really made me spend some time processing, healing, and thinking. It shook me a little bit. While I absolutely adore my children and would give a million pre-baby days away for just one with them, it is such a shocking adjustment to realize how far away I am from the person I used to be.
I'm not only talking about the free time, although that is a huge part of it- having the available time to spend all day in bed, take a long bath or shower, eat a meal in peace with two hands, or even be able to leave the house without a diaper bag, extra jackets, pacifiers, burp cloths, blankets, baby carriers, hats, snacks, drinks, and two babies strapped to my body. I'm also talking about the person I was before.
Prior to having children, I was young, dumb, brash, and unapologetic. I said what was on my mind and what I was feeling at all times and did what I wanted when I wanted, often to the result of dislike and frustration of others. I was tough and strong and had a never-ending drive toward my personal and career goals.
But then it all changed.
The instant I saw those seemingly miniscule hands, heard that distinctly newborn cry, and held that warm little body, I was changed.
I was no longer brash or unapologetic. I was soft, calm, relaxed.
I no longer was so open with my thoughts- I carefully planned what words left my mouth, knowing little ears would hear them.
I no longer was tirelessly driven toward personal accomplishment, because my biggest accomplishment had just happened, and it by far trumped anything I ever had done or could do in my life- I created life.
When I read those tweets, heard that song, and read that article above, it was only then that I realized my loss. It's been over two years since my son's arrival into my arms and this world, and I'm only just now seeing the pieces that I lost in the overall massive picture that I gained.
That former person- she's gone. Completely gone. And she's never coming back to live in this same body again, where she once spent so many years. The careless, irresponsible, free spirited woman with the shining eyes has been replaced by the responsible, overthinking, rational woman with wrinkles on her face and bags under her slightly more drooping and tired eyes.
It's not to say that I'd change one thing about who I am now- because I wouldn't. But I'm just now beginning to process and mourn the loss of my former life.
It's hard to even remember just who I was before my children at this point, but I can't let myself forget. That woman made choices and lived in such a way that she brought me to my children. That woman forged the path for me to become who I am. That woman was just as big of a part of me as my children now are.
Maybe, just maybe, sometime soon I'll visit that woman. I'll grab my old friend from way back when, hop in the car, and blast old music. Who knows where we'll go.
But I think I know who we'll find.