“And if life seems absurd/ what you need is
some laughter/ and a season to sleep”
–Bright Eyes, Cleanse Song
It was 12:30AM and not a soul in our house had fallen asleep. Molly was in bed with me while I nursed Lucy and she alternately rolled around listlessly, kicked me, and giggled, and Lee, coming out of the shower, said, “I know this is awful but all I want to do is laugh right now.” And then he took Molly into the guest room for a sleepover and I could hear them giggling in there, the two of them, making their animal noises even though it was well past all of our bedtimes.
And here we are at 22 months and one month. I have debated with myself whether to keep the monthly updates separate or write them together, but to be honest I’m typing this over Lucy as she nurses and it’s hard enough to find a moment to myself with two hands to spare, let alone time to write nearly as cogently as I’d like to, so for now, one combined post it is. My #1 mantra in parenting two children: Cut myself some slack.
The good. Lucy is the sweetest little baby. I have enough milk to feed her and breastfeeding (aside from a bout of mastitis because seriously? Pregnancy, labor, and feeding a person with my body aren’t all hard enough? Life just has to throw in a ridiculously high fever and infection in there too?) is exponentially easier this time around. She sleeps well, regularly giving us 4-5 hour stretches at night. She is snuggly and cozy and has already started cooing and giving us big smiles and has incredible neck strength. She giggles in her sleep and it’s the sound of starlight. Her eyes are turning blue, as much as I’m holding out for green. I look at her and it’s like I get pushed back in time 21 months; to when Molly was an infant. They could be twins. I am floored by the depth of my love for her, this little person who really doesn’t do much more than eat and cry and sleep. I don’t care. She is my love. She is everything.
The good. I’ve started to get some insight into Molly’s life, going to classes and play dates with her while Lucy is still so portable. I get to witness firsthand how happy she is, and how already she has a whole life going on. She doesn’t need me to be with her every second, monitoring, watching, holding my breath while she climbs the ladder to the big kid slide because I couldn’t bear it if my baby should fall and hurt herself. She likes me to be there, looking around and giving a big grin when she catches me singing along during music time. She happily comes by for a quick hug and a kiss as she’s on her way to her next adventure, as if to say, “don’t worry, Mama, I still need you…just not quite as much these days.” Her smile lights the moon. She is my love. She is everything.
The good. Lee, surrounded by females, stoically and sometimes literally juggling the screaming baby with the clinging toddler while his wife has snuck off to take a shower, knowing it’s the first time all day I’ve had 5 minutes and my body to myself. Managing to cook dinners in between coaxing Molly to eat something other than applesauce and tummy time with Lucy. Navigating, as seamlessly as possible, the delicate balance between work and home; compartmentalizing, as much as he can, so that he can be 100% present when he’s with his girls. Having the instinct and the experience to recognize, when I’ve flung a bottle across the room and cried, I don’t know what I need but I need something! that it’s time to bundle everyone into the car and go for a ride to see the Christmas lights. Constantly and consistently and lovingly being the thread that holds us together – me, when so much of myself is consumed in the sheer physicality of caring for an infant; Molly, when she screams and pounds on her bedroom door in the middle of the night because of a reason or a fear she can’t yet articulate; me again, when it’s 4am and he hears my head hit the headboard because I’ve fallen asleep nursing Lucy again, and he gently takes Lucy from my arms, kisses me, and lays her down in her bassinet. He is my love. He is everything.
And I could sit here and write the other truth – how hard it all is and how tired we are and the 1001 little annoyances and bickering and challenges and how often we want to look at each other and throw our hands in the air; how sometimes we just want to go back to being 21 and young and stupid and careless and fun and free, but the thing is, we wouldn’t want to, really, change a bit of it, in the end. It’s all good. All of it. We have two healthy babies and we have each other and the tiredness will pass; time will pass; the babies will get older and we will get older and it’s already happening, as I write this, isn’t it? So what’s the point, then, of dwelling on the hard, when there is really and truly so very much good to be found in this snapshot of our lives?