If you’re reading this, it means I’ve survived Ryan’s first week back at work. I am proud to report that every day our bed has been made and the dishes have been done. Thankfully the kids’ laundry has stretched to an every-other-day chore but I have stayed on top of it. I haven’t once woken up before the kids to take a shower but hey, it’s just week one. This week was full of many successes and a few failures but, as no one was permanently harmed, I choose to be proud of myself.
Tuesday went pretty much the same as Monday; my grandmother came to help in the middle of the day and let me have
a much needed and much appreciated nap. Wednesday was a no-help day; I was truly on my own. Of course this is the day my schedule broke down. Reuben woke up after Evangeline and Felicity so I had to simultaneously feed Felicity with one hand and Reuben with the other. It wasn’t until my drastically delayed lunch that I realized I never ate breakfast myself. The rest of the day they all three took turns napping, eating and pooping. For a brief moment I thought I had all three down at the same time. Hand on the faucet to take a quick shower, I heard Reuben wake up. I cannot tell a lie. I did consider acting like I didn’t hear him but my conscience got the better of me. By the time Ryan got home, I was curled up on the couch, fetal position style weeping tears of exhaustion while the children pranced around me brandishing breakables.
Gratefully I had help on Thursday; Ryan had an event after work and didn’t get home until after 9. My mom came to our rescue around lunch and we got a surprise visit from the girls’ parrain. In her two and a half years of life, Evangeline has yet to say a complete sentence to her parrain. Thursday, she was all smiles and giggles. She even showed off her newest trick–turning somersaults! It was such a delight to see Evangeline warm up and play with him so enthusiastically. My mom stayed until the clouds parted and the heavens graced me with a mutual nap-time. Reuben, Felicity, Evangeline and myself all slept a blissful 2+ hours.
The nature of my pregnancy with Reuben has had me feeling like a martyr. The entirety of my pregnancy was spent coming to terms with being pregnant, having to give birth again and having a third child so quickly. My kindest demons whisper in my ear “this is too much, it’s too hard”. My crueler demons can’t be repeated. When I woke from my nap on Thursday, it was time to get the girls up and start the evening routine. Right away I heard the whispers. An anger began to rise up as a list of grievances raced across my mind. Anger at being home alone. Anger at having to do the evening without help. Anger at having so many responsibilities keeping me from doing what I wanted. But I shook them off. I reminded myself that I am the mother of three and that’s just all there is to it. My children needed to be fed, bathed and loved before bed. I could wake them up angry and we could all be short with each other for a few hours before they were put in bed. Or, I could accept what I had to do and do so with a cheerful heart.
Of course it’s never as easy as just setting your mind to it. Evangeline woke up in the foulest mood and screamed on the couch for at least half an hour telling me she didn’t want to eat. Reuben woke up in the middle of all of this. But through it all, I kept calm and focused on what needed to be done. Felicity went right to sleep after their bath, but Evangeline was still wound up. She, Reuben and I sat on the couch and read a stack of books. Reuben was very alert and it just tickled Evangeline pink every time he’d turn his eyes up to look at her. On a night when Evangeline and I could have stayed frustrated with each and gone to bed mad, I instead had a really special time with my children. By the time Ryan got home, both girls were bathed and in bed, Reuben was awake but content and I was oh so ready to share a late supper and episode of The West Wing with my husband.
Today, Friday, is Felicity’s first birthday and Ryan’s last full day of work! Evangeline helped me ice and sprinkle cupcakes and after supper we sang to Felicity. I think Evangeline was more excited than Felicity about the cupcakes, but oh well, we all got to eat some sweets. Ryan is nearing the finish line of this school year. This time next week he’ll…well at least be done teaching and grading. This was a long week, but I count it as a successful one. The grace of God and selfless help of family and friends cannot not be overstated. Here’s looking forward to a restful weekend before starting next week, also known as party planning week!