So for Suds it Up Saturday, I ended up having to go through some of the boxes at the top of my closet.
I encountered my maternity clothes and instantly set them in the sell pile. Without a second thought. With a total certainty that I would never need them again.
Then I realized, "Hey! What? You're sure? I thought you weren't sure. I thought that's why we weren't motivated with those extra 10 lbs or desperate for that boob job just yet? I thought we might have a girl?
Then Realistic Ashley, who has been MIA for a while, appeared and said, "Come on, Ash. Come on. You are not a three child parent. You are a mom of boys. Time to redirect with a new Big Life Plan."
I winced for a moment with the harshness and absoluteness and thought about it realistically.
Ashley is a Planner. While looking at the Big Picture, which I try hard not to do lately, I know that there is no time in the next 5 years that I would PLAN to have a baby. I also have a gut feeling that the 5 years after that are unlikely too, for various reasons.
Do plans change? Heck yeah, all the time. So while there is still a % of a chance that I could end up with another baby, maybe even a girl, there seems to be a much larger % chance that it isn't going to, or most likely shouldn't, happen. The redirected Big Life Plan should probably reflect that.
I got all weepy at the realization. It will sound so silly, and I'll probably be embarrassed to have poured my heart out about this publicly later, but it's kind of like that lifelong dream of a daughter died right then as I folded up those hideous maternity clothes for the last time.
I have always pictured dance class and horseback riding lessons and a full head of curly hair to wind around my fingers. I've had the pink and green nursery with the pink chandelier planned before baby chandeliers were so in vogue. I've had a gorgeous framed and matted Tinkerbell sketch waiting for her since I was 17, now lying under my bed collecting dust.
That Disney snowglobe collection? Hers. That darling little dress with the embroidered bunnies on it that I bought in Turkey on our honeymoon? Hers. That tiny antique pink punchbowl with all of the glasses that my grandmother gave to me? Hers.
I've known her name would be Bailey since I was 12. It was my grandfather's name. Almost immediately after meeting Mr. Ashley I told him that his last name would be perfect with my future daughter's first name and he agreed. He thinks it was going to be Bailey Madison, but I've changed it to Bailey Amelia and was going to win at the last minute, despite his protests.
So the realization that there most likely will never be a Bailey hit me hard this morning.
My mom and I were talking about seeing "The Other Boleyn Girl"...who will go see chick flicks with me one day?
Who will go on girl weekends and trample around antique extravaganzas with me?
Who will treasure my wedding dress? So carefully preserved in it's cardboard coffin and taking up so much prime storage real estate for how many years.
What will happen to my old doll house? Collecting dust in the top of my parents' barn right now.
I believe in the whole "There's a reason for everything" philosophy. I believe there is some Grand Plan and I even get it, kind of. From everything from the home you choose to the friends you have, I think there's a Reason it went that way...it's just always a bummer when you realize your Big Life Plan and the Grand Plan are taking different forks in the road.
I am a great mom of boys. I've always been a guys' girl. I love all things male, even the dirt and the stink and the vulnerability and silliness that sometimes translates into stupidity/denseness. The same thing that makes me want to wring their necks touches a soft spot in my heart.
I am proud to have been the sole reason Mr. Ashley's last name will go on and there is some sort of pride over being the type of woman who produces boys. After all, I would have been prime Queen material, able to provide an heir and a spare.
And don't get me wrong, I love my boys with all of my heart and soul. I wouldn't even trade E-bull for that curly headed, twinkly eyed Bailey of my dreams. As I've typed this, he's climbed onto my lap for three of the heart melting, soul connecting hugs that only he can give. He is meant to be mine. Big Kid introduced me to motherhood and to the intense, uncontrolled, all consuming love of having a child and little kid lavishes me with a kind of love and connection and intensity that makes me feel like I've never been loved like that before.
They are meant to be my boys and I am meant to be their mom.
The Grand Plan may include hordes of curly headed, munchkin faced, twinkly eyed granddaughters that will invade my now quiet and clean home and cherish that little pink punchbowl and treasure that wedding dress and pose for gramma's camera with sassiness and glee.
Maybe it even includes unbelievably delightful Daughters in law...maybe with parents who live far away who are unavailable for holidays, who don't consider me to be a pain in the ass Mother in Law, greedy for time with her husband and children, meddlesome and inconvenient and one of life's burdens.
I feel like maybe one of God's concessions to my prior plans is this photography thing. I have tons of darling little girls, who I get to dress in tutus and push curls behind ears and put headbands on, that I get to play with for an hour and record images of for a lifetime.
I also had to reflect back on My Big Plan as of 5 years ago and realize, wow, things don't always go as planned. Actually...do they ever go as planned? This resulted in another valley of my morning crisis, this realization that for all of the right plans and the good intentions and the properly laid foundation...anything can happen.
Remember that I am a Planner. I got my real estate license at 18 and started a pretty successful career then and there. We bought a foreclosure on my 21st birthday and fixed it up and sold it at an awesome profit to build a home in an up and coming area value-wise with a Plan to sell it in 5 years and move on to the Dream Home I'd Raise My Children In.
I continued working various jobs, all real estate related, widening my knowledge and my network, until I knew everyone and had a highly paid job and held the highest certification and was highly sought after because of my gift for bullshitting and my ability to state my opinion and back it up all day long with data and debating tactics no one had energy to go up against.
I had more work than I could do, convinced Mr. Ashley to quit his career and do mine, and trained him so we could do double the business in one of the most quickly escalating real estate markets in the country.
Big Life Plan was Right On Track. While watching everyone Get Rich Quick...we finally decided to do so too. So at 26 I was the proud owner of Investment Property.
2 miles from the beach in one of the hottest real estate markets in the country? Researched and purchased by myself, An Expert? What could go wrong?
And now at 29 (still young, I know! still lots of time and lots of Plan Changes ahead...that's part of the fear) I am a neurotic stay at home mom, in one of the worst real estate markets in the country, with no Illustrious Career to return to and a Network of Professionals who are getting jobs at jewelry stores to pay the bills, with two highly mortgaged properties and an income that is suddenly uncertain and two boys with no Bailey in sight, folding up maternity clothes and putting them in stacks on the bed, next to the teeny tiny string bikinis and halter tops and ridiculously short skirts that I'll also never be wearing again.
Which got me thinking of the days my biggest responsibilities were deciding which bikini to wear on the boat and trying to keep track of my plastic red cup full of beer. When I was fun, pretty, outgoing, rising star Ashley with a Big Life Plan.
I feel like like I'm at a point of my life like when you are riding a rollercoaster, and you finally get to the top of that first peak, and after all of the anticipation and excitement and anxiousness to JUST GET THERE, you're finally at the top of the platform, for that one teetering second, and you realize that the elation has turned to uncertainty and the lack of control makes you feel scared and you know that the ride will be over with all too soon and you're not enjoying it like you planned.
And I know there will be more peaks (lots more!) and more valleys (lots more!) and more stomach turning crisis moments and more thrilling "hell yeah!" twists and turns...but it was a Big Moment, arriving at that platform this morning.
Time for that beer.