This is one of those posts that has been rolling around in my head for awhile. It is always, somehow, not quite good enough to publish as I can't quite find the words, but the concept is so important that I'm going to try.
But we had always wanted and imagined at least three kids. The reality of that was hard to comprehend. The time, money, sanity, loss of sleep, disrupting our current well-balanced family dynamic.
I just wasn't sure. We Just weren't sure. I loved being one of three. I love having a same-gendered sibling and wanted that for at least one of our kids. We thought about it, talked about it, prayed, wondered, watched those around us, and finally decided the message we kept getting was to open our family to this third round of love, this third round of exhaustion, this momentous change. We talked for hours. We looked each other in the eye and chose this path together one more time. We took a leap of faith in believing that even against the challenges this would be OK, we would find the money, time, energy, and patience, that this was the right thing to do. That we could handle this and were ready to love and raise another precious person. I am so very glad we did.
We had never had trouble getting pregnant, but strangely it took twice as long this time (which, in fairness is still a very short time). September of 2011 was a rough time for us for a variety or unimportant reasons, it just was. Finding out as September moved to October that I was pregnant was the beginning of a whole new story, and one that left us all changed for ever.
Just because a path is the right one doesn't make it an easy one and for much of my pregnancy I still wasn't sure if this really was the right decision. Happily, that leap has rewarded us on many levels and life has unfurled to help us meet all the new challenges, as promised. This small boy has changed me, us, our family forever for the better. I feel so honored to be his mom. I tear up thinking of life without him snuggling into my shoulder. I love his funny little run, his growing vocabulary, and the way he totally changed the dynamic of our family.
Somehow, it is vaguely parallel to my own childhood. Able & I are (or were growing up) polar opposites and Audra (the 3rd child in my family) was a combination of our traits. E is a little like that too. He definitely has shades of each of his siblings while being his own completely unique person. He has changed the sibling dynamic and the behavior of the older kids. They are each amazing with him and have wonderful special relationships with him and each other molded by the fact of being 1 of 3. I treasure being part of a similar set and hope they are half as lucky as I was in growing that relationship through life
To start, he is physically a totally different build than they are. B & M have always been tall for their age with large heads. E is short and chubby and while his head is fairly large it is just so differently shaped. He looks a bit more like a Blakley, but with those dark eyes of my beloved. He also has a peanut allergy. I feel guilty that I may have caused this by eating so much peanut butter when pregnant, but what's done is done. It is changing our family and every gathering we attend. It changes how we eat out and what we keep in our house. It changes how I interact with his caregivers and everyone around him. I am ever vigilant and a "peanut mom". I worry about things like segregating kids with peanut allergies that I never really considered before. I am so sad and worried about this reality, but hopeful that we'll find a way to manage it and praying that the reactions don't intensify.
I so love his shining personality. He is fun and funny. He has a great sense of humor and finds himself quite funny as well. He makes many different faces and loves to play almost anything. He loves his blankets passionately and carries them around maybe even more than his siblings (and that is saying something). He loves hats. He selects and actually keeps on hats way more than his siblings. He is pretty good at understanding and following directions. He is especially proud of his ability to put his clothes in the hamper, do the laundry, and bring books to and from his very own bookshelf. He would be read stories for hours if nothing else interfered. He takes amazing naps at home these days. Occasionally, they are of the four hour variety that his brother was famous for, but he is easily awoken by the sound of his sister's voice.
He is quieter, I hear. People tell me he is talking much less than his siblings did at this age. That is probably true, but he does talk more at home. He is a sneaky little ninja who will wander off and do his own thing, whatever that might be and it is worth checking as sometimes he is a bit ornery. (Recent example included eye shadow powdered all over my bathroom floor).
I am trying to savor. I am trying to be fully present in this moment. We have been given this amazing gift of an small, wonderful boy placed in to our care. A small boy that wants to snuggle, be held, be sung to, play outside, and be loved. A small mama's boy when his brother was always more independent and always Daddy's boy.
We are already so busy with our "stuff" and his siblings, but E makes sure he gets what he needs. I wish he didn't have to take care of himself so much when it comes to little things like getting out his bowl, but he doesn't seem to mind and is quite capable.
I try to make sure that I hold him as much as possible as I know this time is so very limited. One day this weekend, I caught him sleeping on Brent's chest. That hasn't happened in ages and we both just stared, took pictures, and didn't dare move him. I don't know how many more times I might see one of our babies asleep on my husband's chest. I'm teary just thinking about it.
Today, lil' E was sick. For as much of the day as I could I just held him on my chest wrapped in blankets while his siblings fetched us water, towels, blankets, clothes or anything else we needed. Then, he napped for four hours while I worked. He was better afterwards and we played some, but came frequently back to snuggled into the couch with his freshly laundered blanket collection. I am forever grateful for that leap of faith, for the opportunity to be his mother, for the change he has made in our family. I love you so very much small boy, beyond words. Thank you for being you and for loving us.