A [seemingly minor, yet significant to me] Rite of Passage

I remember shortly after having my firstborn when it hit me that I could no longer just hop up to get my haircut or take a jog (not that I did it that often, but still) or even just go work in the yard.  There always had to be a plan, and that plan always had to be flexible.  I remember how having that one tiny, little baby rocked my world. 

Then I had another.

By the time I had gotten used to my one constant little companion, we decided it was time for a playmate.  And I'm not sure why no one warned me (not that it would have changed my mind, but it might have prepared me a little better) that having two children is more than two times harder than having one.  It's exponentially harder.  Orders of magnitude harder.  Worth every ounce of difficulty, absolutely.  But that doesn't change the fact that it's hard.

Then I had another.

I started itching for our third blessing when our second blessing was around a year old, even in the midst of that oh-so-difficult transition of adjusting to life with not one but two children.  I think somewhere in the mix of postpartum hormones, baby blues, and new mommy brain there comes a bit of temporary insanity.  For some reason, when we finally added number three to our family, she just fit right in.  She was like a missing puzzle piece that had always been there, but had fallen between the table and the wall.  We knew we needed her and having her here was another step towards helping complete the picture that is our family.

It might be because Sarah was a particularly easy baby (especially as compared to the first two) or it might be because I (and we) had grown so much over the previous 5 years as parents that we were more confident and we knew what to expect.  It was just a surprisingly seamless transition from two to three kids, considering my propensity to expect the worst.

This doesn't mean that it was easy.  And it doesn't mean that I wasn't scared to death, lest I sound like that.  Believe me, I was scared to death.  I like to pretend the fact that I am so scared just indicates the amount that I care about doing right by my three blessings.

This time last year, I was home on maternity leave with my three kids.  In a week's time, I went from working 40 hours a week in an office with two kids in daycare to being a stay at home mom with three kids on summer break.  Now that summer is here, I can't help but going back to that time and remembering the time we had together.  And how elated I was when I finally braved the world with my three kids on an adventure.

I didn't count our well checkups at the pediatricians office as adventures.  I didn't even count Monkey Joe's because it is a secure environment where kids cannot come and go without matching wristbands to an adult.  They weren't getting away from me there.

The day came when we ventured to a local playground and accidentally happened upon storytime at the library.  And I even took my camera along for proof!  (It helped that Sarah was still in the sleeping-all-the-time phase.)

I'm not sure words can describe how accomplished I felt after that day.  And it seems so silly now, in retrospect, how terrified I was to take my own children out in public.

I'm not sure I can explain how necessary it is for us, as moms, to just do it.  To just believe that we can do simple things like go to the library with three kids.  And all it takes is one time to convince ourselves.  (Sure, the second time might be a disaster, and that's why plans have to be flexible.)

I had a similar confidence boosting experience this weekend.  We ventured to Orlando, Florida and stayed at the Nick Hotel while Sam attended a work obligation all day on Thursday.  This left me alone with the three kids at a waterpark.  I was nervous, but I think it helped that I had so many other things to think about that I didn't have time to be terrified (you know, like getting Ben through his last day of school, packing a family of five to get to Orlando, preparing our house for my parents arrival the day after we got back).  To make a long story slightly shorter, I'll skip the mushy gushy stuff and just say this...

We survived.  

Not only that...we had a blast!

Even in the hotel room...because you can find fun anywhere, if you just look for it.

At the end of the day, I was utterly exhausted from being on Mommy Alert all day.  But my heart was full, and my confidence-in-my-Mommy-abilities tank was overflowing.  I even gave myself a little extra credit for avoiding every bit of sunburn on 4 out of 4 pool-goers.

Because when it comes to being a Mom, I'm not too shabby.

And I finally believe that.


Debbie said...

Not too shabby at all!! I heard from a favorite little birdie that you were doing a great Orlando adventure. Obviously, you had a blast! I think I love the kids in the cabinet picture the best of all.

Also heard that you have some fun planned for the next weeks. That birdie just chirps and chirps and chirps...

Can't wait to read all about it.

Hawklady said...

You are so brave! and a great mom too!

Anonymous said...

No, you are not too shabby! You were "tailor-made" for the role. I'm so glad my grandchildren call you Mom and mean it on a million different levels they are not even aware of yet. You are guiding them to an independence that will allow their souls to soar. Sam should have taken a pic of you asleep (at some point) to add closure to this day. You rock! Love, Grammie

Brooke said...

I LOVE the pic of them in the cabinet! Good for you! I dread taking both of mine places, I can only imagine three. :)

Kristen said...

It's amazing how these little people come along and you realise, oh it's you, you are the missing piece, they just fit

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