For a few days this week, I visited a place I haven’t been in years… NoKidLand.
For four nights I slept in a bed with my husband with no children trying to sneak in between us. We even had a chance to share a kiss without anyone claiming we had emotionally scarred them for life.
No one woke me at 4:30 with a box of cereal or requests for toast, with butter. At no time did anyone spit their food in my hand or give me a half eaten apple to throw out for them.
It was heaven. It was blissful. It was the life my husband and I shared for almost six years.
We lived in my favorite place in the world, New York City. Although our one bedroom apartment wasn’t large, it was on the 26th floor. I could look out my window and see the lights of the city, and it always thrilled me.
My husband and I had only ourselves to worry about. We took long walks on Madison Avenue or through Central Park on weekends. If we wanted to go to a movie or out to dinner we did. We had no responsibilities beyond our jobs and our cat.
Funny thing though, as much as I enjoyed our life, I wanted more. I desperately wanted to go to KidLand. I would look enviously at women who pushed baby carriages or were obviously pregnant.
Manhattan is famous for beautiful shops filled with designer clothing, jewelry and shoes, but I would drool over the baby shops, the maternity stores, the toy stores.
When three years into our marriage I found out I was pregnant I was overjoyed. I felt as if I was given the keys to a world I always wanted to enter. Our apartment barely had enough room for our cat, my husband, and myself, but I started planning for where our new baby would sleep.
I even took a certain amount of pleasure from having to throw-up while walking down a city street with my husband. We were going to have a baby.
When at 10 weeks we found ourselves at our obstetrician’s office looking at a sonogram with no heartbeat, I was devastated. I still remember the day I had my D&C. My husband and I praying together in a small room that tried to be homey with dried flowers which only seemed to remind me that nothing was alive anymore.
Lying on the operating table, the anesthesiologist asked me to think of something happy. I started to cry because the only thing I could think of was a beautiful baby and a nursery. My doctor looked at my tears, and sensing what I was thinking, quietly said, “Kathy, think of a beautiful beach on Hawaii.”
Three more times I would have the joy of seeing a positive pregnancy test only to be devastated two or three weeks later when those pregnancies ended as well. Why me? Why us?
After a little more than a year, four miscarriages, and infertility treatments, my husband and I deiced to end the baby dance. We started to research adoption. We had recently moved to a house in Queens, and the room we had painted blue for a nursery started to seem like a good place for a guest room.
Imagine our surprise when only about a month after ending our fertility treatments we were back in the office looking at a strong heartbeat. We were pregnant!
Each week, I held my breath as the doctor would do an ultrasound and each week I would leave the office feeling exhilarated. I promised myself I would enjoy every minute of my pregnancy and every minute of motherhood. Morining sickness, heartburn, and dirty diapers were the things that dreams were made of.
Three kids and twelve years later we are as far into KidLand as we can be. The chaos of the morning routine, the seemingly endless trips to the pediatrician with a sick child, and the bouts of tween attitude seem like a small price to pay for the other wonderful things KidLand offers.
The wet kisses my five year-old gives me. The look of pure pride on my special-needs daughter’s face when she shows me the outfit she dressed herself in. Or the quiet conservations my oldest son and I have over hot chocolate and coffee before school. I love the whole messy package and am grateful for each day.
I would be lying, though, if I didn’t admit that sometimes the memories of my old life call to me. Especially when I remember eating a meal in peace or taking a shower without someone asking me if I’ve seen their shoes.
And, it was lovely to be in a hotel room with my husband and know that nobody was going to knock on the door and ask what we were doing in there. To feel free to read, go for a walk, or deep condition my hair.
NoKidLand was a wonderful place to re-visit, but, I am so glad Kathy doesn’t live there anymore.