Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Kids Are All Right

The details of my life, my musings and my wonderings continue to float about my sleepy, hormone-riddled mind. I'm swinging back and forth between feeling sufficiently efficient and overwhelmed. I don't feel terribly unlike myself or incessantly chained to a newborn. Instead I feel important in the way that I have not chosen to be, but just am. I have moments without Luke, say forty minutes in the grocery store across town, when I remember him at home, startle and wonder if he's awake and needing me. It's like I've grown another appendage that can sometimes be removed, but not for long. To put it simply, it's like I've gained another 8 pounds of my heart, living outside of my body.

I'm also aware that I need to take care of myself. The first twenty pounds have melted off, and now the work of getting the final twenty-five off must begin. At this point, I just want to hydrate and to be mindful of my meals. I am trying to curb the sweet tooth a bit and choose the colorful fruits and veggies instead. And I'm being gentle with myself. I'm completely aware of the amazing thing my body just did by growing and nurturing a fetus and birthing a newborn, and by what it is doing now by keeping a newborn completely hydrated, fed and growing with only my breast milk. And I'm remembering that I thought the weight wouldn't come off completely the other three times, but it did.

As if the care and keeping of Luke and me isn't enough, there are four more members in the family. It's hard, but I think we're doing it. I think we're not only surviving, but thriving.

I'm so proud of Shrek for the father he is. He truly gets better and better all the time, and I am more in love with him than ever. It's been so great to see how he's finally not rattled by the rattling screams of a newborn. When you're a first-time parent, or even the second or third time around, those cries make you feel like the apocalypse is near and that the clumsy, slowness of your fumbling fingers on the diaper tabs and the endless snaps and buttons are to blame. But, at some point, you realize this is what babies do. Newborns--or Roberts newborns, at least--don't really like being naked and cold during bath time or diaper changes. They like to express their discomfort. But Shrek and I? Well, we don't take it personally.

So, we're nearly four weeks in on baby number four. As a family, we've managed a high school basketball game, two Masses, and a long trip to Athens for a meet and greet at my workplace. With Shrek and I dividing up the kids and conquering, we have been able to do much, much more. We've even managed a movie date night at home complete with wine and much laughter.

We're not following any manuals. We're finding our own way, trusting our guts and loving one another. And it's all working out. It's a crazy life. Our hands and our hearts are full. And the kids are all right.

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