It is so easy to want to speed things up right now. I’m living in the anxious limbo of baby-almost-here. But I am constantly engaging in this self-talk of slowing down, pausing, to remember these moments. I’m not sure if I’ll be pregnant again; I want to remember what this feels like. Every squeeze in my belly, every swift kick to my ribs is a reminder of this miracle that I am chosen to be part of. I’m not sure when The Littlest will sit in my lap and rock, as The Littlest. I want to remember her body in it’s perceived smallness, because I know she will appear giant the moment she meets her new brother. There is chaos in this swirling time: coming down from the intensity of the holidays, filtering through all the indulgences that came with them; honoring this nesting instinct (which at times has felt more like a panic!); bridging the gap between family of four and family of five. Within this chaos, I’m choosing to pause; to know the peace that is mine for the taking, the peace that I can give to my Little Ones. Instead of speeding up, let’s slow it down.
Our house is a little up-ended. We’ve scurried around, putting away Christmas decorations in a hurry, not knowing when I’d get to them if left a bit longer to linger in the sacred space of the twelve days. We also needed to make room (a theme for us, always) — all of our bedroom furniture had to be moved out of our bedroom for new carpet to be laid, in an attempt to make our room a little more warm and cozy for a newborn. It’s not like we have anywhere extra for this stuff to go, so piles of books, laundry baskets, dressers and yes, our bed, landed in the family room. For one night, we experienced what it might have felt like to our ancestors, as our living space doubled as sleeping quarters, too. Though our house can often feel teeny-tiny, I’m thankful for the bedroom that we do have. And after ripping up lots of carpet in our many houses, swearing we’d never put intentionally choose it, I am thankful for the thick padded warmth and the degree or two it will add to our chilly bedroom above the garage. While the timing of this project, of course, has added another dimension of crazy to these days, it has also encouraged it’s own sort of pause. Pause to take stock at the stuff I’ve been moving around: the books, the journals, the nick-knacks, the baskets, the clothes. A nesting purge has settled over this room now, and we continue to make room.
There is lots more to be done in order to feel prepared. But I know that this baby cares not if my clothes are folded and put away, if the kitchen is mopped. This baby will care for little else than a warm, tender breast and arms to sleep in. This is what I love about newborns: they are so simple! He will have clean blankets, clean clothes, fresh diapers. He will have his family to love and adore him. And that is all that he will need, for a while. This is another reminder for me to pause, and lavish the Little Ones that are here now with the extra that I have to give, now.
Instead of wearily living in the anxiety of the question mark of time, I’m going to emphatically say “yes” to today. Yes, let’s sit on the floor doing puzzles! Yes, let’s read another book! Yes, I want to play play-doh with you! Because today I can. And today, I’m pausing to do it. I will answer to Wendy, and call you, oh Littlest, Bob, all day, lest I forget. (Though this is where any similiarity between Bob the Builder and her imaginative play ends). I will thoughtfully answer the questions that the inquisitive Eldest throws at me, even if it means having to search with him for an answer. I will lay my hand on my belly, forever imprinting that squeeze, this stretch, in my brain, and bite hard my tongue when I want to complain of the back ache and indigestion. I will pause, and rest, too, so that I can have it all to give when the time is ready.