There's a lot of change for the better. Watching Isabella as a big sister is immensely gratifying. Witnessing them grow and change from tiny NICU graduates with bony chicken arms and legs to round and pudgy babies is awesome. And of course, their gummy little smiles and belly laughs can (sometimes) make me forget that they're still basically nocturnal.
But their arrival has also further chipped away at the person I was before I became "mommy" 2.5 years ago. Sometimes it is very hard to see where they end and I begin.
Case in point: Running.
Prior to Isabella's birth, I ran 30 miles a week. As a result, I had loads of energy and I was in the best shape of my life. I set a goal of someday running a marathon. Of course, I was knee-deep in infertility hell, so my emotions were frequently out-of-whack, but other than the "pining for a baby" bit, I was at a good place in my life. I loved to run.
Enter Isabella in August of 2006. All of a sudden, I was a slave to her schedule. My time was no longer my own. I couldn't run in the morning before work anymore because she needed to be fed. I couldn't run after work because I was working FT from home, and so there really wasn't an "after work" anymore. I needed to utilize every free second I had from the minute the hubs walked through the door to get my work done. So I ran on the treadmill in the basement while she napped in the morning, and when she gave up her morning nap, I ran during her afternoon one. I didn't have time for 30 miles a week anymore, but I averaged about 18-20, and that suited me just fine.
And then I got pregnant. And then the twins arrived. And then the twins decided that sleep was for pansies. And then I was (and still am) up all night long with one baby or the other (or both) and as a result, a haggard, energy-drained mess during the day. And then running took a backseat to sitting at my kitchen table with eyes half-closed, chin on my chest, and a cup of coffee rapidly cooling on the table in front of me.
I'm averaging a completely pathetic 6-10 miles a week. All of my runs are accomplished when there is someone else in the house because the needs of my children demand it. If my grandma comes over to play with Isabella, I'll wait until the twins are asleep and hit the treadmill. On the weekends, the hubs is home, which grants me a bit more freedom, but even then someone's butt always needs wiping, someone is always crying, and someone always needs to be fed. If my time wasn't my own when I was the mother of one, my time became non-existent the second the twins arrived.
And I miss it. I crave it. Half the time, I'm too exhausted to even contemplate a run. The other half I'm longing for the ability to just open my front door and run and run and run for miles.
In a lot of ways, I don't recognize the person I am now. So much has changed in just 2 years. I've gone from the mother of none to the mother of three. I've gone from working FT at a job that wasn't my dream position by any means, but that I was damn good at and received frequent praise for to freelancing from home with dwindling assignments. I went from reading a book a week to reading a book every six months. I went from complete and total independence to being able to count on one hand the number of hours in a day where I do not have my arms full of baby.
Sometimes I can look at my life and see that it isn't my time now, it's my children's. They're very young, and my life won't always be this way. I should enjoy these years (tough as they are) because when they're gone, I will miss them terribly.But other times I am desperately searching for me amongst the Legos, the burp clothes, the green beans mashed into the floor, and the constant and never-ending needs of three small kids 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
And it's during these times when I find myself wondering if I'm always going to finish last.