If I have learned anything, I now understand that not everything goes according to plan. Instead of delivering Emily on 8/25 as planned, she was born on 8/15. We are grateful that she was born healthy, despite her early arrival. At 37 weeks, she was a mere 5 lb, 13 oz.
We never expected to have such a tiny blessing. At 38 weeks, Molly was 8 lbs, so we were shocked to deliver a baby that was less than 6 lbs! In a drug induced, confused state, I believe I asked for a re-count when they announced the weight.
Fast forward three and a half weeks. Life has been a blur of diaper changes,
overnight feedings and the general chaos of juggling three kids. Life has never been richer, sweeter or more fulfilling. I look at these three crazy bears of mine, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude and frequently caught off-guard by how blessed I feel.
Benjamin is still the consummate big brother. At 5, he has started 5K in a new school and is adapting well. He takes pride in being the oldest and is eternally adaptable and easy going. He is indulgent of both his sisters and doesn’t resent having to share attention. I am so proud of the big boy he has grown into.
Molly is extraordinarily spirited. At 2, she has a distinct personality and isn’t afraid to express her opinions and perspective. She is not hindered by her limited vocabulary. She is adept at letting you know how she feels. As experience has
shown, when you reach a certain volume, sometimes words are extraneous. Molly enjoys the celebrity of being an older sister. She is happy to help retrieve things for the baby. In addition, she is content to stand by the bassinet chanting, “Baby, Baby. Baby” like it is a Justin Bieber remix dedicated to her sister.
Finally, we have Emily. She is so little she is practically pocket-sized. In fact, I call her my pocket peanut. She is mild-mannered and well-behaved. I am grateful to have yet another content and sweet child. Emily doesn’t cry and fuss. She eats, gazes around and doses at leisure. She doesn’t enjoy diaper changes or bath time, but she’s otherwise easy going and happy. I can lose a whole afternoon just snuggling her sweet little body. She falls asleep on my chest and I pat her little bottom that sticks straight up in the air. She exhales a squeaky noise to express her satisfaction and I swoon. #love
For now, I am completely reveling in the fact that I have three kids at distinctively different stages in life. I have a baby, a toddler and a school boy. Looking at all of them, I can appreciate how special each phase is. Even when dealing with a two-year old tantrum is hard, I can look at the school boy to recall how fleeting those times are. When I feel overwhelmed by lack of sleep, I can look at my big, independent toddler to remember how fast the baby stage passes. I have so many variations and iterations of mommyhood to compare and contrast… I am swimming in data points. I love it.
And even when we have rough days I am not amused with the whiny, bargaining of a school-aged child, and I am physically tired from picking a toddler up and putting her in timeout for the 90th time, I can cuddle my little pocket peanut. I can breathe in her sweet smell remember to cherish even the trying times.
In the wake of losing Alex, not all things are perfect. I still wonder at times what it might be like if I were just raising my two boys as I thought I would. I would never have to learn how to French braid hair. And I would probably not have memorized the movie Frozen. Most pronounced though, is that I would probably be able to complete all tasks of parenthood without the shadow of fear that comes from surviving a tragedy.
When I check on Emily, there is always the fleeting question of whether or not she is still breathing. I have no reason to doubt that she’s breathing, but there’s always the possibility in my mind that something could have gone inexplicably wrong. Again. I don’t live in permanent fear, but I have a constant nagging reminder of all the things that could go wrong. I hope that this concern makes me a more vigilant parent, and not just crazy. Time will tell. 😉
More than anything, losing Alex has reminded me of how wonderful it is to raise children. What a privilege and honor it is to hold a child. To comfort him; to hold her; to love her.
I remember this as I go through the less glamorous aspects of motherhood. Diaper changing, bottle washing, endless bedtime negotiations, mealtime. The single biggest thing I remember about losing Alex was the quiet, emptiness of life after he left us. No bottles to wash, no diapers to change. The freedom to nap and rest and do whatever I wanted. And how overwhelmingly painful that silence was.
So, I am in the thick of it now. Juggling three active and spirited kiddos. I am sleepy. Frequently unshowered, and trying to soak up every minute of it. With the delivery of Emily, we surgically closed the Jonas baby factory. Emily represents the final chapter in our story of parenthood. As we look at our journey, from the other side, I think less about what we are leaving behind, and more about what is up ahead. That’s a road worth traveling.