... of the rest of your life.
Two weeks ago, my cousin (and sister-in-law) welcomed her third baby. As with any new baby, Jackie has endured a few sleepless nights. And while she may wake this morning, under-rested and feeling drained (literally)... this morning, she will also wake feeling grateful and heart-Full.
As this is her First Birthday, her first official holiday, as a mother to three very beautiful girls.
Despite every Math class, a woman may take. There are moments, circumstances, instances, where 2 + 1 DOES NOT = Three. Those particular moments, occur as a mother to three children. While I am certainly not an expert or an authority on mothering three children (NOT news to those who follow my blog...) but I have a small head start and therefore, bits of insight into this crazi-ness.
While a person, may have a fairly decent handle on two children. Adding just one more tiny life into the mix, feels a little like adding five more! For Example, Just adding ONE more baby, really means adding....
An additional 57 minutes prep time, to leave the home for any event. Let's just pretend you have easily nursed, diapered, burp rag-ed and lotioned the infant. You quietly place your tiny ball of baby, into the car seat without issue. You stand victorious and declare "Time to Go!"... suddenly realizing your eldest child, has been waiting on the porch. He got distracted by an ant trail and followed the trail into the garden. His shoes and jeans are now covered in mud. You yell for him to get inside and change. He races inside, forgetting to remove his shoes and leaves mud prints all over the carpet. You attempt to quickly wipe those up and accidentally get mud on your shirt. You deep sigh and run to change. You can't find anything that fits (because you have given birth to three children and are reminded how your very body has housed and nourished those lives... while your husband did NEXT TO NOTHING!!) finally choosing a top you don't even like, feeling attractively defeated. Your eldest is ready, you grab the car seat and turn to find Child #2 quietly standing near the couch. She's the good one! You quickly realize, she was standing quietly because she just pooped her diaper. Put down the car seat, grab Child Two, change her diaper. She won't lay still and just like that!! You have to change HER outfit. Her clothes are super cute, so it's easy to pick an outfit. Except she HATES that shirt and she will NEBER wear those shoes. Twelve sweaty minutes later, you are again ready to leave... Unfortunately, Child #1 got distracted in his room and hasn't put on his shoes. You yell again, waking The Baby. She starts fussing (because 50 WHOLE minutes have passed since she nursed) you hope she will fall asleep in the van and head for the door. Except, her crying causes your milk to drop. And again... you have to change your top. But at this point, you may as well nurse her. You decide to play a movie for the older kids to keep them clean and behaved. But OF COURSE they can not agree to watch the same movie. You are getting a headache, the baby is crying, you have soaked your shirt, Child #2 wants a Capri Sun... you HATE and ENVY your husband for having a job, out of the house (remind yourself not to strangle him as he cheerfully returns home and sings "How was your day!?"). You resist the overwhelming urge not to flop to the floor and cry. Unhook Baby from the car seat AND just like that...
you did NOT make it to the grocery store.
The outfit changes have created an even taller pile of laundry and you'll have to order pizza for dinner, causing you to feel like a failed housewife, who never cooks a decent meal.
And while this scenario, may play out repeatedly for 2 years, there is honestly WAY more good, than bad. You will never have enough hands, to hold all three as you cross the street. You will never, have enough quiet opportunities to look deep into their eyes and appreciate their beauty. You will never master the art of "Looking at ME!" as they each perform something amazing, during their separate swim lessons. At times, the guilt of not loving each their individual and deserved amount, will swallow your heart whole.
That said, on my first holiday, following the birth of Coco... I had never felt more at peace. To know, I had created three beautiful, healthy, perfect lives. To know (God-willing) those lives will grow into beautiful, healthy, perfect adults. That one day, they will come home to fill our holiday table with their own children and to watch your 3 grown babies laugh and share stories, as friends! Would be the greatest gift.
My birthday wish for my cousin,
I hope 3 sweet little girls, rush into your bedroom. I hope they giggled as they gave you a small birthday gift, or card. I hope you had a moment, to look at your husband and feel grateful for what you both have created (though you did at least 98% of the 'creating' work). I hope you feel whole. Happy. And Complete.
You are a wonderful mother.
Happy Birthday, little cousin.