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Posts Tagged ‘family’

  1. Waiting for #4

    June 19, 2014 by admin



    In just 5 days, I’ll give birth to my fourth baby. So close, and yet it seems so far away.

    With each subsequent child, there’s been less time to think about the next, new, tiny human being that will soon become part of the everyday fabric of our lives. Less time to worry about the what-ifs. (What if breastfeeding doesn’t work out again? What if the baby has colic or (insert the name of some illness or disease first-time parents might worry about incessantly) What if we are mistaken for Walking Dead extras because this baby has no room of his own and must bunk up with us indefinitely and we aren’t. sleeping. at. all.) Less time to think about creating the perfect nursery or buying the perfect going-home outfit or even making sure you have the barest essentials at home. That reminds me, this kid really needs some diapers.

    Less time for everything.

    The past few weeks, my world has been filled with the end-of-school madness that occurs every June. The mad dash for teacher gifts and volunteering for this or that, or feeling guilty when I can’t. Of making sure my oldest has clean pajamas for pajama day, a hat for hat day and is signed up for the adequate number of weeks of summer camp once school ends. Of making sure my middle guy doesn’t feel left out. Of making sure my youngest knows she’s still my baby even though someone is coming to supplant her. Of trying to let my husband know how much I appreciate him pulling double duty when he gets home from work. Of trying to squeeze in some last minute freelance work and making progress on my manuscript and ridding our home of extraneous things because it improves my feng shui and makes me less grouchy (usually). Of trying to counteract my back pain and heartburn with a body pillow and Zantac. Of life.

    Let’s face it, the more people in your family, the busier life gets.

    But this is not a bad thing. And I don’t mean to make it seem like I am not excited for this new little person to arrive and become part of our family. But it’s not like the birth of your first child, when you’d have the time to daydream about how life was going to be so much fuller.  Or the second, when you’re giddy with anticipation over a sibling for your first-born. Or even the third, when you ponder with keen curiosity how the dynamics of your little family might change.

    No, the 4th is just different.

    It’s like date night with your spouse. You’re psyched it’s going to happen. But you also know exactly how the evening will proceed. You’ll make reservations and dress up. Wear heels, maybe. You’ll have a pre-dinner drink. Eat. Order dessert. A couple more drinks. Talk and laugh. Yawn. And by 10pm, the novelty has worn off and next thing you know you’re complaining about how loud it is, how tired you are and how you wish you were home watching a movie together in your PJ’s, but you agree to stay out at least a half-hour more so the baby-sitter doesn’t think you’re a couple of total lame-o’s.

    It’s like that.

    And I’m ok with it. Because I know that as soon as the nurse puts that baby in my arms, I’ll look down at him – at his perfect little face and the familiar button nose that graces the faces of his three siblings – and, even though I’ve been here three times before, it’ll suddenly feel new again.

    I’ll wait patiently for my three kids to come visit their new brother and revel in their reactions to his tininess. I’ll hug them all as if I haven’t seen them in weeks and remark how big they look even though it’s only been hours since I’ve seen them last. They’ll take turns holding the baby, walking down the hall to get some italian ice from the snack room and ask me a thousand times to tell them how the baby got out of my belly. And then? Then we’ll begin the swift but sweet transition to a family of six. And there you have it.

    Everything will be familiar and new, weird and wonderful all at once.

    Life will stand still for a few days. But then it will go on, slightly altered, but not drastically different. Soon, we’ll be rushing off to karate class and hockey practice. To music class and playdates. But in between the big things – stolen moments in the middle of the night or early morning – I’ll realize, little by little, just how profoundly this new baby has changed our lives, how he’s changed me. And yes, while life will go on, it’ll be infinitely better.

  2. The Bittersweet March of September

    August 28, 2013 by admin

    The other day I was on the phone with my mother. My husband was out and I had just given my toddler a bath. She was standing in her bedroom, a towel draped around her little shoulders, her gorgeous, curly hair dripping water onto the rug. She was giggling and wiggling away from me as I tried to wrestle a diaper onto her bare bottom, her pudgy feet moving in place as I hugged her close around her belly, breathing in her freshly-washed baby skin.

    My two boys were howling with laughter, the sight of their sister’s bare butt and some silly game they had been playing clearly too much to handle.

    “Oh I miss those days, honey, when you guys were little,” my mother said over the noise, her voice a little wistful.

    But she stopped there. She didn’t go on and on – about enjoying it while I can or not taking it for granted – like well-meaning old ladies in the grocery store sometimes do. She left her longing hanging in the air, an emotion for me to catch at my leisure and contemplate later, on my own time.

    I smiled. The thing was, I actually was enjoying the moment, perfect in its imperfection.

    I wasn’t trying to do a million things at once. I wasn’t annoyed because my children’s antics were keeping me from completing the next task on my never-ending to-do list, the bills, the laundry, the spaghetti sauce that was hardening in the pot on the stove. I wasn’t responding to a text, checking email, lurking on Facebook or trying to perform a twisted combination of all three. I was just being with my kids, my mom happily listening in on our little version of animal house via speakerphone

    But I know someday, I am going to be my mother. (In many ways, I already am.) My kids are going to grow up quicker than I’d like and I’m going to long for those bare bottom moments with the howling laughter soundtrack. I’m going to look back and wonder where the time went, wonder what happened to those pudgy feet and smooth-skinned faces laughing their kids’ laughs and rolling on the floor in hysterics over nothing. It’s inevitable, I know this, but I’m looking for ways to stall.

    As I write this, the first day of school looms in our immediate future, just 24 hours away. At this time tomorrow morning, summer’s easy breezy ways will abruptly come to an end, it’s finality crushing. My oldest son will get out of bed, his eyes heavy with sleep, and ask to watch an episode of Phineas and Ferb, a cartoon about two inventive brothers on an endless summer vacation. “You don’t have time for that today,” I’ll say. “You have school.”

    And so we’ll begin September’s bittersweet march.

    We’ll start to chip away at the summer laze that has left us relatively unhurried. We’ll rush through breakfast. I’ll hound my son to brush his teeth while he studies his rock collection, still in his pajamas. I’ll tell him to put his shoes on three times before he actually does it. Remind him not to forget his lunch. Or his backpack. Then, we’ll all walk my newly-crowned third-grader around the corner to the bus stop. On the way, I’ll wonder if my kids had the epic summer I planned when June opened up seemingly infinite possibilities just nine weeks ago. Will he remember the lake house, the beach, Boat Camp and lazy summer afternoons?

    A swirl of emotions will hang above us in the air: sadness and excitement, uncertainty and anticipation, the nerves that cause that familiar ache in our stomachs, the ache my son thinks I don’t know about, but one I will be feeling right alongside him as he climbs aboard the school bus.

    I’ll hold my younger children’s hands and we’ll watch as the bus drives away, my son’s face pressed up against the window, waving goodbye. He’s still my little boy. But in my heart I know that he’ll return home that afternoon just a little different from the kid he was when he left that morning. I don’t want to say it, but his childhood is running away, faster than I’d like. All my kids’ childhoods are.

    As the days pass, our family will eventually fall into our busy school-year routine. Hockey season will start and we’ll be squeezing in classes at the dojo. There will be PTO and Youth Hockey board meetings, music class and homework and deadlines. My middle child will start his second year of preschool and I’ll go through the emotions all over again. The lazy days of summer will be firmly behind us.

    But this September, I’m going to try and do things a little differently. I’m going to worry less about the crusty spaghetti sauce or what’s going on in my virtual world. I’m going to open up my eyes a little more to what’s happening around me. Instead of hurry up let’s go there’s no time for that, I’ll focus instead on making the most of the little moments that happen between the big ones. Because it’s those little ones that actually matter. The ones that are bare-bottomed and filled with howling laughter and generally inconvenient to life’s daily duties, but so pertinent to the bigger picture.

    The great Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

    And this school year, I don’t want to miss a single thing.

    This column appears in the September 2013 issue of Merrimack Valley Parent