third time around

As Andrew’s first birthday draws nearer and nearer, I find myself reflecting on life since his conception and since his birth.  I am by no means an expert on parenting, babies, or motherhood.  Just because I have three kids doesn’t mean I think I have it all figured out.  Having baby No. 3 did, however provide me with some clarity and helped me come to some realizations that were important for me to come to.

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Love multiplies, it does not divide.

I found myself sitting on the floor in my living room the other night surrounded by my three kids.  Andrew’s basket of toys lay on the ground turned upside down, its contents strewn about the room.  Samantha had one of his board books on the ground in front of her and was reading it to the younger two.  Caitlyn was grabbing Andrew around the middle and squeezing him while clenching her teeth in true Caitlyn fashion, saying “Annnn-dwoooo” they way only Caitlyn can say it.  Andrew was laughing at Samantha’s reading while trying to shrug Caitlyn off at the same time.  In that moment I felt such a sense of love, joy, and peace, I can’t possibly accurately describe it to you.  In that moment, more than ever before, I knew that love truly does multiple, it does not divide.  I worried when I was pregnant with No. 2 that I couldn’t possibly love another child as much as I love No. 1.  Those fears were erased the second Caitlyn was born.  Those fears were then laughed at when Andrew was born and the two girls gathered around my hospital bed and met their brother for the first time.  Then this one perfectly imperfect moment let me know that even if another blessing enters my life one day, my love will multiply again.  There truly is no greater blessing than children.

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I can truly enjoy each and every moment.

I think about this often with baby No. 3.  I was able to cherish those late night feedings with him, cuddling him, rocking him to sleep, and nursing him in the wee hours of the morning.  While I am thankful to have my sleep back, I almost miss those early months and our late night time together, just mommy and son.  Now, as I lay him in his crib each night, all I really want to do is hold onto him, to cuddle him just one minute more, and never let him go.  Sometimes I indulge.  I’ll sit in the rocking chair, his head on my chest, and we’ll rock and we’ll rock.  His breathing will get heavy and he will fall asleep, but we’ll just sit there rocking and rocking.  I can’t think of a more perfect moment.  Even back in the newborn days, in the wee hours of the morning, when I was up with him for the fifth time that night, even then, I enjoyed it.  I took those moments for granted with my girls.  I sat there wishing to be asleep.  With No. 3, I simply felt peace.  I breathed in his sweet baby scent, touched his angel-soft cheeks, prayed for him, loved him, and knew that I would survive even though I would be tired, oh so tired.  It didn’t matter.  Yes, No. 3 taught me that I truly can enjoy every moment.

There is peace in “chaos.”

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I am happiest when I am surrounded by my three children.  It doesn’t matter if we are sitting down having a peaceful family dinner, or if they are running and crawling around like crazy people pretending to be princesses and “Octonauts” and pirates.  The noise doesn’t bother me.  My husband can’t believe I can stand it {I think my years as a teacher of young children has taught me to cope very well with lots of noise and organized chaos!}.  What is three kids, after all, when you’re used to 25?!  Car rides are the best with the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” on repeat, the girls singing songs from their new favorite movie {this month it’s “Frozen”}, Samantha turning to make Andrew laugh then turning to help Caitlyn fix her car seat…I wouldn’t take it any other way.  Sure, I would love to blast my country music, but I’d take their chatter any day over a quiet, solitary drive.  I find myself smiling a midst all the noise, the busyness, and yes, sometimes confusion.  Their noise oddly make me feel at peace.  Their love of life and their laughter make me happy.

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