This time it's.......
I feel like I didn't come into this one unprepared. I don't feel blindsided this time. And because of that, I could tell by my first few days home with Quinn that I was gonna need some pep talks. Some reminders to myself that not only was the hard stuff going to only last a (relatively) short time, but that all of the work and stress would be worth it. And that even in the middle, there would be pockets of beauty.
"There is nothing quite like a newborn."-- I wrote this one first. Because above anything else, I spend my days holding this little one. Holding him to nurse, holding him to soothe him... holding him to get him deeper asleep. And I know, I KNOW that the time they are this small is so brief, and that a tiny little new baby is so amazing... So many of us would love nothing more than to get an hour to snuggle a new baby. Even if the last thing you want is a baby of your own. Most of us would love to HOLD one. So I remind myself of this every day. That he won't be this tiny for long, and he is rare and special and this is a gift--- a treat. A blessing. When else in my life do I have permission to let the dishes and laundry wait and just hold the baby a bit more? I'm working on remembering to cherish it.
Close behind that first one, this one plays in my head a lot. "There will be another good moment soon." Luckily, though Quinn has proven to be a bit intense like his siblings, he has also proven to be pretty predictable. We can get him happy pretty quickly. Because of this, when we're in the thick of one of his crying jags, I remind myself constantly that sooner than later we'll have some good moments again. Baby will be sleeping so we can admire his sweet face again... or he'll be calm and eating and we can relax and enjoy the antics of our other two kids for a little while... Or one of us will take over so the other one can get a hot shower or a meal or a nap--- a priceless break. Good moments are abundant--- we just have to wade through the rough spots to get to them. But they DO come.
Oh this one is quickly becoming a favorite: I am finding that when Quinn gives us a longer nap than expected, it's amazing how much I can get done. And I DO. I am seizing those moments and putting a load of laundry in, or letting Noah help me make cookies, or grabbing a quick nap of my own.... Even decluttering little corners of my house that have begun to drive me NUTS since I'm home 95% of the time and looking at that crap all day long. I tell you--- seizing the moments when they happen has been SO good for my soul.
And then that second part--- even more important than the first. If I'd had something planned and the baby decides to cry and stay awake instead, I am getting better at LETTING IT GO. And then referring back to Affirmation #2. ("There will be another good moment soon.") Because there WILL be.
Oh boy. "Let go the illusion of control." Really. It's just going to be easier if I stop thinking I'm in charge here. Let go, let go, let go. It will be okay. This is hard for me. But I mutter it to myself often and hope it sinks in someday.
And yes...nothing deep or wise here... but sometime we just need to be our own cheerleader. I need to tell myself: "KEEP GOING. This is going to get better. At times it's already awesome. And YOU CAN DO THIS. You ARE doing it. Daily. Some days better than others... but you are doing it. Kids are all getting fed and hugged. That's enough."
So there they are. My lifelines, reminders to myself to find the good in each day, in between the rough transitions and newness and uncertainty of it all. It not only gets easier, we get stronger, and it gets more "normal", and one day we'll realize we've not needed the pep talks for weeks now.
Til then, you'll find me in my dining room, swaddling and shushing the crying baby with a not-quite-2-year-old clamoring to get on my lap too, the 5-year-old asking me to play Transformers with him for the 13th time, and I'll be staring like crazy at those 5 posters, finding some kind of ZEN in them..... Or at least the promise of zen-to-come. There will be another good moment soon.