When my husband and I first started dating, we came home one day and discovered a bouquet of flowers on our front porch that had been delivered to the wrong address. The note attached simply read: “ITS WORTH IT ALL. XOXOXOXO.” At the time we thought it was funny. Today, seven years later, we still have the note, and it has become an inside joke between us. (When times are stressful or hard, we like to say, “Remember, babe, it’s worth it all!”)
This phrase seems particularly appropriate for us right now as we welcome home a baby girl, Selah Mary, and become accustomed to life with a newborn and a 19-month-old toddler, Wolfe.
I find it amazing that even though Wolfe and Selah are so close in age, not even two years apart, I had already forgotten about the specific needs of a newborn — especially being on-call at all hours of the night. This was hard with one baby, but we’ve found it even more challenging with two. Fortunately, Wolfe has always been an excellent sleeper. Once we put him to bed in his crib, he usually sleeps through the night, and has since he was about four months. But he still has his moments, as we realized this past week when I was up tending to Selah, and my husband Daniel had to go pacify a distraught Wolfe. At one point, as the clock read some ungodly hour, we both ended up in the dining room, each with a crying child in our arms. If we weren’t so tired, we would have been laughing, but instead it was a snarky exchange that went something like, “Is this what we signed up for?”
Selah also makes Wolfe look like a giant — I swear that kid gained five pounds during the two days I was in the hospital, I felt like he could barely pick him up. The difference is especially apparent in the size of their diapers, hers look teeny tiny.
A lot of people have asked me how Wolfe is adjusting to having a new baby sister. I guess you never know how the older child will respond, just like you’re not sure how your dog will respond when you bring the first baby home. Luckily for us, our black lab, Lefty, has been good with our growing family (although I’m sure she feels somewhat neglected since so much of our energy now is focused on babies). And also Wolfe is very sweet and excited about his sister. His favorite new word is “bay-BE” and he’s constantly monitoring her location. He touches her gently — most of the time — and has learned how to help mom and dad with the baby’s bottles. His behavior has actually been better than we anticipated, and I’m sure some of that will eventually change, but it also shows how mature he’s becoming, and he’s not our Little Boo anymore.
One of the things I have learned is that time moves fast and some memories are ultimately fleeting. It feels like our transition from carefree newlyweds to responsible parents occurred before we even knew it, so it is important to cherish the time we get to spend with our little humans.
When my baby girl tilts her tiny head my direction and opens her eyes wide when she hears my voice, the voice she’s listened to these past nine months, I am filled with a love that is so complete. I want to kiss her sweet face all the time (well, except when she’s crying, then she turns into an angry raisin face).
I realize now why parents are able to love their kids unconditionally and forgive so many transgressions as they get older: They remember all the times when they rocked their babies or gazed at their innocent sleeping faces or caressed their wrinkled little hands and marveled that they created something so perfect.
So when both babies are up crying at 3 in the morning, I have to remind myself that the exhaustion is just temporary; I know ultimately that taking care of my kids, having us all together and healthy and the well-being of my family is worth it all.