Four months ago this morning, I was suddenly in labor and rushing to the hospital (like we promised ourselves we wouldn’t do this time around to have our second baby. Very shortly thereafter, I was snuggling an adorably pink and very hungry little girl–the answer to many, many prayers and a great number of dreams as well. She had arrived. Since then, life has become doubly an exercise in choosing joy. Our baby girl is sweet, certainly. Not to mention cuddly to the ultimate degree, and attached to her mama like nothing else. For this I am thankful and exhausted.
Because of tummy issues and swallowing troubles, we nurse in small quantities and around the clock, without a bottle in sight. Because of a tiny system and the adjustment of a little life into this crazy, scheduled world, we stay up at ungodly hours and wake up at challenging ones to start the next day. But in between, we smile and laugh and coo and admire our big brother, and we soak in all of the goodness that is an angelic-looking, doll- face of a baby named Eloise. This has not felt easy in any way, but worth it in every single one. And we’ve survived four months besides, which surely feels like an accomplishment–however small, when there’s also a very busy toddler running about the place.
Sometimes I feel like I’m not going to survive another long, long night, or like I can’t possibly stand for a feeding to go on any further. Sometimes I feel entirely alone, and as though there may never be a break for little old me (and then I get kind of real with myself and think, “Get a grip, Mama. You are fine, and more than fine and so blessed and lucky and privileged…”) and I put on my big girl pants and move along. However, I’d be lying if I said there was never any sulking in the moment.
Beyond the sulking, there is mostly joy–even if I have to dig hard to find it. It doesn’t take much to look around and see the blessings in obvious places. Two healthy children with lots of energy. Our warm and cozy house to raise them in. The fact that I am home, watching my children grow and not missing more than a few hours with them here and there. Of course, Eloise comes along everywhere for now, so in reality, I miss absolutely nothing of her at all–I have so much of what I prayed God would provide.
The days are imperfect, and so am I. I’m learning the art of embracing imperfection. I’m struggling, but learning to be ok with pj’s until noon sometimes, or with the house awry, or with life feeling disorderly and scrambled when it has to. Mostly, I’m clinging to the good, like the conversation between H and E this morning on the floor before breakfast, when she looks up at him, fussing, and he meets her exactly where a big brother should:
“It’s ok, Eloise. Don’t fuss. Your mommy will be right back to take care of you, and your big brother is here. And I will protect you from anything that scares you that you don’t like.”
Oh. My. Four months in and these two are thick as thieves, and I must be the absolute luckiest tired mama on the planet in that moment. It’s not so hard then. Not so strange to see things from a 30,000 foot view and to recognize the landscape. My kiddos. My responsibility. And also my privilege, my joy, my absolute honor and charge.
Thank you, Jesus, for four more months of desperately needing you. And for four more months of seeing your goodness in my arms and their faces, daily. Absolutely daily.