Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Week Number One

I have thought a lot about what it means to be a family this week as our family of four has expanded to make five- the struggles of new parenthood vs what our lives will look like in five, ten, twenty years after having put in these sacrifices now.

I have pondered what it means to be a mother as I have become a new mother again. The tiny diapers, nursing woes, recovery from childbirth, snuggles with a soft infant, kisses on deliciously chubby cheeks, the littlest of fingers that grip mine, sleepless nights- all just a short phase that begins a lifetime of nurturing. Already my pregnancy complaints have faded into distant memory. As I hold tight the warm bundle of goodness that is my baby, the morning sickness, low energy, aches and pains, labor- none of that matters in the least compared to the gift I have been given.

I have thought a lot about love as my heart has grown to include a third child in the midst of stretching some more around a child with special needs who struggles with transitions. Sickness, clumsiness around a new baby, refusal to obey, unwillingness to adjust when things aren't normal, crying for no reason, extra communication frustrations- I think all transitions are ten times harder when you include a child with special needs. New baby? Difficult when your almost four year old adjusts more poorly than your two year old.
I have prioritized my usual daily rituals behind the importance of holding and loving on my baby. Experience has taught me that these days with the tiny human being fly quickly by until that innocent body of sweetness has stretched into a stubborn toddler that needs constant teaching. Oh how sweet are those little red lips that don't sass back at me yet.
I have questioned our sanity at having three kids so close in age- especially with the oldest one having the special needs that she does. The questioning was called into account when my entire support system (my husband) was struck down with strep the day after we got home from the hospital. Jumping into parenting solo so early in the game was not in my plan. Baptism by fire. Also- baptism by insanity. And dirty diapers. Juggling a sick Addison away from a very needy newborn while talking an adventurous two year old off the ledge he wanted to practice jumping from and washing all the laundry/bedding that had come in contact with my husband and somehow putting food in all those tiny mouths all while recovering from giving birth days before? I think I blacked out a little there.

I have given thanks more than once for the miracle that is our children's lives. I don't deserve the three perfect children I have been given. And yet here I am. A mother. A nurturer. A homemaker. A woman whose (currently messy) nest is overflowing with beautiful children. (Of course I'm not biased at all.) I never dreamed that my life would look quite like this. And yet now I can't imagine it any other way. This is not an easy road. But the scenery is breathtakingly gorgeous. Totally worth the bumps along the way.

I have bowed down and worshipped the one currency that truly makes the world go round- sleep. Coming off an exhausting pregnancy, it is nice to have an infant that seems to not hate sleep (like CH did), but this stage still is exhausting and tests every last bit of endurance that I have. It is nice to have my husband back to health and being such a big help now. (Also- my friends who came over after a few days of my descent into insanity and folded my laundry, washed down the kitchen counters, and took the adventurous two year old out for adventures so that he would stop creating them in dangerous places around here- BIG help. Sending Addison and Aaron to the grandparents for a few days also was huge- getting the sickness away from our sweet new boy.)

What am I trying to say? We are one week into this three kid thing. Easy? Not so much. Rewarding? Yes. I already can't imagine our lives without sweet Eli.
Here's to week number two. In the future we will refer to it as- yet another week that slid by in a sleepless haze of baby snuggles and neglected housework. Also- a week of happiness midst the crazy. Because a baby this sweet deserves to let his world stop and focus on him for a bit as he acclimates to the family he was sent to.

Speaking of sleep- I have three peacefully snoring children filling our bedrooms. That's my bedtime cue. 9pm? Don't even care. Until later....

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