His head lay on my rounded belly, contentedly sharing his little brother's space. Her soft body was wrapped under my arm- her head pressed against me while she nestled close.
We just finished a round of "Give your baby a kiss!" and my belly was now covered in wet marks from tiny mouths joyfully giving their baby a kiss and then laughing hysterically.
Their baby. Right now just a contained bump that makes Mommy's lap smaller- but soon to be a much more tangible thing/person guaranteed to rock their worlds.
I sat comfortably in the rocker that I bought last week for the new baby, all cuddled up and slowly rocking with my people. Considering that they are not cuddlers, this was a rare moment. A moment that fed my soul exactly what it needed. Small legs rested against mine. Two blonde heads looking almost identical except for the messy pony tail sprouting out of one stared up at me. Tiny hands randomly moved against me. I leaned down and placed soft kisses on two warm foreheads. Something about this moment made my world feel complete.
These past few weeks have been rough. My survival instinct is to laugh rather than cry. So I laugh. And I write about it. Because that is my therapy. But there have been moments these last weeks that I felt my world spinning out of control, and I wondered how I would handle a new baby on top of this.
One thing that I have felt for a long time has been confirmed for me this past month. Parenting is hard. Parenting Addison is hard. Parenting Carter is hard. Not one more than the other. They have their challenges in totally different areas- but they are equally hard to parent. There is no "them" and "us" when it comes to being a special needs parent vs. not understanding a diagnosis and being a typical parent. Parenting period is hard. These past few weeks Carter has been the difficult one. Soon he will move aside and Addison will take that center stage.
As I hold on for dear life and adjust, swerve, and adjust some more to keep up with the ever changing challenge of parenthood, the roller coaster stills for just a few minutes- and my heart is overwhelmed.
It is November: a time focused on thanksgiving. Truly an appropriate time to bringing a new life into this world. As I feel myself overwhelmed with the emotion that never truly left even in the hardest of times, I count the blessings in my lap and wonder how life could ever get sweeter than this. I feel the exuberant kicks of the little one inside of me who I will meet very soon. I see the smiles and feel the snuggles of the two already in my nest. I picture my circle of people expanding by one, and my joy knows no limits even though this also means we are leaning in for a series of unknown twists and turns up ahead in this parenting ride.
Yes. It is hard. Yes- I write honestly about it because that is who I am.
But every second of it all- I am thankful. I am in love with littles. I am blessed beyond what I deserve with perfectly designed children (although sometimes I put a note about the extreme stubbornness in the complaint box). I worry that I'm not doing enough, teaching enough, embracing enough, being enough for them- but then I think about how far we have come, and I know that each step will work itself out- just as it is meant to be.
So we rocked. We cuddled. We talked about the new baby, and my heart grew a few sizes. Just big enough to make room for one more.