Fastest week of my life, really. It seems as though with each subsequent child the tide of life pulls stronger and I can’t seem to shore myself, or my family, up against it. Already, he has been ours for a week, and I look back and think, where did this time go? Our week was pock-marked with doctors appointments and preschool drop-offs; introductions and games of Candyland. When there was just one newborn, settling in at home seemed like a timeless eternity, marked not by the numbers on the clock or the days of the calendar, but instead of moments, edged blurred, of nursing, and sleeping; of reheating the coffee and dozing on the couch. That was a gift I didn’t realize at the time. Because, really, the bigger kids, though in transition, too, still need meals: three square. And bedtimes. And someone to be awake with them in the morning, to play, to read, to snuggle.
And this just makes things go by too fast.
Mark is back to work today. And I grieved, last night, I did. I mourned the end of our family nesting time. I welled up, full of hormones and melancholy. It’s not that I’m fearful, or anxious. I’m not overwhelmed, mostly. I know that we’ll survive these days, and I’m watching deep growth in our family in ways unexpected. But we won’t ever get back this first week. The world around us demands that we fall back into line, get back to the grind. Of course, our budget demands it also, and so we send him off today. My body tells me to be slow, easy, and my psyche echos this pull. And I have to believe that his paternal instinct tells him the same. So, though today is hard for me, it is hard for him, too. I know that he, too, is grieving this. This.
And as in all things, this is a time of balance. Balance between newborn needs and bigger kid needs. Balance between my needs and the needs of the house, the home. Balancing standards, balancing expectations. And balance only comes after unbalance – tipping the scales, setting them right again. I’m especially finding difficulty in balancing this intense call I have to do little else than hold a new babe against my breast, and the sense that the bigger kids might benefit from a return to normal way sooner than I am ready. The Eldest has school, and I’ve been flexible with him, letting him choose when he wants to go and when he would rather stay home. Not surprisingly, he has missed his friends and the structure of these days. Me? I’d rather have him here with me.
There is an ebb and a flow to this time; a changing rhythm. Smaller movements, slow and still, but it’s rhythm all the same. Maybe this is why I’m drawn to winter babes: it is bracingly cold outside; there is no rush to change out of our pajamas to have grand adventures out in the world. Instead of the daily or even seasonal beats to which we often march, the rhythm I’m tuned to now is the pulse of my heart, inside my body and out.