February 15, 2010

The runner, the Hen and the Baby

- "boc, boc, boc, I am the Mother Hen" says Martin in an impersonation of, well, me, as we are having lunch.
I look at him, my mouth start quivering, and I burst into tears.

I miss my baby boy. He is in day-care today, while I am job hunting.

He is in day-care, and I miss him so much it is aching.

Not that he seems unhappy there. Not, not at all. Unless babbling and smiling away is a sign of unhappiness. No, nothing wrong with him. It is just me. Aching, and bursting into tears at the sound of a mother hen.

What, is it me talking? Like, the "me" who, only a few days before we produced Malo, was actually still wondering whether she had it in her to be a mother. The "me" who was convinced she herself had been produced without maternal instinct, whathever that meant, because I had no idea.

- " Hard to believe you were actually not that long ago wondering whether you would be able to love him enough", Martin carries on as I, briefly, stop crying. If asked, I would obviously vehemently deny having ever had such an inadmissible thought, but the fact and the matter is, I did.

Pregnancy was OK. I mean, I didn't especially like looking like a whale, - a small one, though, as Martin would always kindly remind me - but I managed to stay active, and therefore sane . Or at least as sane as I could be expected to be, which may not be saying much.

Throughout these nine months, I carried on running, cycling, hiking, swimming, in a nutshell doing all this "ing" things for which we had moved away from London and into the Alps. I even surprised myself being able to cope (and, sometimes, oh surprise, even enjoy) doing sports in a chilled, as opposed to it-does-not-have-to-be-fun-to-be-fun way. Sure, it was sometimes rather frustrating to have to hold back, especially when Martin was triathlon training, and, for the first time, doing his runs faster than me (how did he dare). I also enjoyed beyond saying feeling the "Petite Boule" kicking inside my belly, and not only because that gave me hope these early manifestations of intense activity were the sign of a future athlete in the making.

So there I was, a, on the whole, pretty happy pregnant chick. Pretty happy, but also super scared. What would our life be after his arrival? Somehow, I had the feeling, since then confirmed, that there would not be a lot of night departures to the nearby peak because we feel like a mountain run in the snow, the cold, and the dark. Or last minute decision to go for a 100 -mile bike ride. Or, or , or... And it scared me to death that I might resent my baby for preventing us from doing all this stuff.

But here I am, 6 months after he was born, sitting in my kitchen and crying out all the tears in my body because he is in day-care and I miss him.

Sure, life has changed. Sure, there is no more midnight runs or last-minute 100-milers. But we're still doing plenty of our beloved "ing things". Just differently. We take turns. I devise cute strategies so that my turn comes back more often that Martin's. We plan runs and rides around breast-feeding times. We've discovered the Holy Graal, which goes by the name of Chariot, and going running with the little one provides the double whammy of a harder work-out pushing the stroller and the joy of seeing him laugh when he realises we're getting ready for a run.

And there are all these other things which have nothing to do with sports, sweat, or pain, and yet are - and now, this is a surprise - so much, SO MUCH fun. Witnessing Malo's first smile. That, too, made me cry, proof I guess that Mrs Mother Hen, aka me, is becoming emotional with no hope of redemption. Singing him songs which remind me of my own childhood. Changing nappies (yes, this is fun, too). Getting the bathroom wet from floor to ceiling while playing in the bathtub. Getting peed on while giving him a baby massage (this one never fails). Or maybe are these so fun because they are "ing things", too?

Anyway, gotta stop now. The hell with day-care, the hell with trying to fit a short afternoon work-out: I miss my son and I am getting him back home. Right now.

Little Whale is gone, welcome The Hen.


sea legs girl said...

I am glad we have met each other, if just over the internet. I guess I'm not the only one who got pregnant and thought "I hope this doesn't mean less running". And I too thought I had no maternal instinct. Well, I still cry when my son's gone for more than a day and he's 2 now. But even hens can find time to run and stay happy. Thanks for writing this great post!

Marie-Aline Putz-Perrier said...
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