This is the life I’ve chosen but I still miss my old one sometimes

I may be unhappy about missing a fun night out dancing and singing along to Justin Timberlake, but I would have been even unhappier leaving Baby A behind.

When Baby A was a tiny newborn, there were days that were true downers. Days when I couldn’t fathom that my life had truly changed forever. Days when I couldn’t fully comprehend, nor accept, that I had to consider someone else’s needs before my own. Days when I wouldn’t have believed that my days of using the bathroom or showering in peace, privately, alone, were well and truly gone for the foreseeable future. One prerequisite to becoming a mother, apparently, is losing all sense of shame.

On those dark days when I’d slump and mope, I used to make lists of all the things Mr T and I were missing out on because of Baby A. I can’t think of a more negative way of spending one’s limited time, but that’s what I did – incomprehensibly, because I adored her and she brought me such unimaginable joy.

I’d list all the movies we missed out on seeing at the cinema, all the trips and concerts and parties that we had to let pass us by. My editor once caught me adding to that list, and she was horrified. Why in the world would I keep such a terrible list, wallow in such negativity, she asked. Until this day, I have no idea. I deleted that list immediately and vowed to stop feeling sorry for myself. I had the little girl of my dreams. Focus, I told myself.

Then Mr J T came to town and I recalled that list all over again. I’m bitter about missing the Justin Timberlake concert last Friday and I am not yet over it. I’m even bitter about missing out on Boyzone on Thursday; they were part of the soundtrack that coloured my adolescence. It’s not until September, but I’m already bitter about the possibility of missing Lady Gaga in Dubai. Who am I kidding – what “possibility”?

And the reason for that, as Mr T sees it, is because that is the kind of life I have carved out for my little family. It is my choice, he says, to miss out on things I love to do, places I want to go and people I want to see, because I choose instead to never be apart from my daughter if it’s not absolutely necessary.

The bottom line is this: I may be unhappy about missing out on a fun night out dancing and singing along to the talents of Justin Timberlake, but I would have been even unhappier leaving Baby A behind and worrying that she had woken up, as she usually does, to scream for “mama” and “daddy” only to, inexplicably, not find them there.

It’s like how Mr T and I have become so used to flopping on the couch at the end of the day to embark on marathon sessions of Lost and Homeland and Scandal and House of Cards and Game of Thrones (OK, fine – and The Vampire Diaries and True Blood and The Walking Dead and Once Upon a Time and Under the Dome). It feels almost freakish not to watch a ridiculous amount of episodes one night and do something else (like play Scrabble – we’re such renegades).

There is, however, a silver lining to all this. I am not at all concerned about missing next year’s One Direction concert in Dubai. With age comes perspective.

Hala Khalaf is a freelance journalist based in Abu Dhabi.

Published: May 25, 2014 04:00 AM


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