*Disclaimer: This post is part one of a two-part post about my life as a mother of two. It is possibly the more morose of the posts, but I promise the next part will be more upbeat.*
Funny story: Today while my kids were taking a nap (at the same time - may the napping gods continue to smile upon me) I thought, "Hey. I should blog. It's been a while." So I went to get our laptop only to realize that Shem had taken it to my parent's house in an attempt to study sans distraction. Curses. Ah well, I thought, the blog will have to wait for another day. About an hour after all that went down, I got a message from my friend Natalie, who suggested I write a blog entry about life with two children; the pros and the cons, the good, the bad and the ugly, etc. Well. Dang. That was quite the coincidence. But alas, the little one was up and crabby (stop the presses, I know.) and wasn't even hinting at maybe possibly being okay with my blogging instead of walking and bouncing him.
Which brings us to the here and now. Every once in a while I make the right decision in regards to my second-born. This was one of those times. I let him cry for about two minutes in his swing because I had a strong feeling that he was fussy because he was tired and -huzzah!- he fell asleep again. My oldest is still asleep. In all that time he never stirred. Because he is a miracle child. And takes three-hour long naps.
And that offers us an excellent segue into why I've hesitated to write a blog about life with two: Aside from the fact that I really have close to no 'down' time, I also feel somewhat unqualified to paint an accurate picture of what life with two kids truly looks like because my sweet, lovely little Samuel is so far from being a textbook baby. It doesn't feel like I'm a mother of two. It feels more like I'm a spit-up drenched, hot mess, 'hey, look, my outfit matches this time', walking-around-like-a-zombie, breathing-and-counting-to-ten-every-ten-seconds-so-I-don't-lose-my-marbles, inadequate, unequal-to-her-tasks mama who maybe bit off a little more than she could chew with this whole 'hey, let's have more kids' idea she naively proposed to her husband a little less than a year ago.
In my version of life with two, the experience can be summed up in the moments wherein both children are screaming in the back seat of the car on the way to the grocery store. One upset because he's (almost literally) always upset and the other because his shoes are on. Or something sensible like that.
Or during the times when Samuel has just puked all over the outfit I just put him in while his big brother is happily painting the table a lovely shade of green with his avocados. Or dumping all of the water out of his bath onto the bathroom floor.
Or those times when Luke loves Samuel SO much that he squeezes him just a little too tight which makes the (finally) quiet infant start screaming. Again.
Or the times when I'm scouring every on-line article I can find on allergies in babies or 'fore-milk imbalances' or colic in an attempt to find an idea that I haven't explored yet.
Or when I REALLY want some ice cream but I can't because I'm trying everything I can think of to help my little one's tummy to settle.
Or those times when I just cry because I don't have anything else to try and my baby is hurting and I can't make it better and that's just about the worst feeling a mama can have.
We call Samuel our little 'investment'. We're putting in all of this time and energy and work and sacrifice because we know that in the end, he is worth it. In a way I think all children are sort of investments. If they didn't return to us, plus interest, the amount that they suck out during these early years, I don't think anyone would ever voluntarily have children. But they do! Even my grumpy little man does...and will...
I sometimes wistfully remember those days when it was 'just Luke'. Even though it didn't feel easy then, I look back on it an long for the times when we went for days and days without hearing a single newborn have a melt-down. I longingly remember the days when it was only one dirty diaper and one bath time and one fit being thrown in the grocery store. But honestly, I wouldn't trade this moment in my life for anything.
Every day I go to bed feeling like I've been stretched to my absolute limit and then... I wake up and do it all over again. There is nothing more fulfilling than stretching beyond what you think you can handle and then going even further. And then at the end of it all, you look back and realize you've grown in ways you couldn't have possibly imagined. You are super woman. You can do anything. You can conquer the whole world if you need to.
I'm not quite there yet, but I have faith that I will be soon. I know that when this moment comes to an end, I will look back and be amazed at everything I accomplished and how much I grew and changed. And I'm excited for that. I'm undoubtedly in the Refiner's fire right now. He's making me shiny and new and perfect. He's buffing out all of my rough edges by giving me these wonderful babies and allowing me to love them with more power then I've ever loved anything and simultaneously allowing it to be the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.
What a blessing it is to love the thing(s) that grow you.