It's been an interesting several weeks since my last post, fraught with cognitive failure and the pendulum sweeping the other way to sheer brilliance for a fleeting second. I should be sleeping right now, because the clock is ticking on the incessantly hungry infant's tummy. But I am sitting in the silence and relative stillness of the house, with only my brain running at warp speed. Such is the joy of an ADD brain. It's 1 am and I'm unable to get my brain to shut up at all tonight.
I have been seeing this one blog post about "The Last One" in my crackbook feed numerous times this week. Finally, I read it. And in doing so, my eyes welled up and my brain started running even faster. I never imagined I'd have FIVE kids in my life. I figured after #3, and we were good. Then I had a 4th, and thought we had 2 of each, we were golden. HAH! Have I mentioned that I was supposed to have a home office and a motorcycle?
The Tie Breaker is 3 months old and careening through his milestones with warp speed just like his siblings did. And I was looking at him asleep in my arms tonight, wondering what purpose God has for him to send him to us after we feel like we've screwed up at least one of our other kids some how or another. I am still shocked and awed that we were entrusted with the care, feeding, and training of another miniature human. I am boggled that my friend thinks so highly of me to ask that I would be Godmother to another of her children, when I am a slacker in so many ways, including my faith. But at the same time it's all humbling. How haughty of me to think I should strike out on some kind of adventure in my life that didn't necessarily include starting parenthood alllllllll over again.
And I am chronically struck by the sheer fact that we have TWO adult children, yet there are 3 more home, and that the youngest is a brand new sprog. I do derive bemusement from telling people our kids are 3 months old on up to 20 years old. Part of that is just me still trying to digest it. Part of it is that I am amused by the shock others have when they learn we're a larger-than-average family, and NOT a blended household. Yeah, we're rebels like that. I sometimes think that I should have been a sociologist.
But with all of that comes an occasional pang. I miss my boys sometimes. Reality is though, that they are at the point where they must transition into adulthood, despite my desire to keep the little boys they used to be. They're grown and turning into fascinating adults. And every time the baby smiles, I see both his brothers too. And then I see a quirk from one of his sisters. I thought I was done having kids after the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. And I'm certainly feeling done after the 5th. With each of those done feelings comes a hint of sadness behind the celebration. First steps for them, but the last first steps for me. First teeth (oh lordy, who are we kidding, teething is abysmally miserable), first words, etc. And I find myself doing something I was incapable of 20 years ago. I find myself dwelling on the smile, the diaper change, the nursing (not always, because oof - someone is constantly touching me!), the giggles, the cooing, the completely different means this kid needs to get a burp out of him, the comforting a baby with reflux and knowing you can only do so much. Then I dig in my memory bank, wondering if the oldest 2 had any of these quirks and issues, and I just didn't have the knowledge then that I do now. Parenting would have been a whole different experience for both me and the spawn, had I been connected with the kind of people who share their story. When you know better, you do better. I hope I'm doing better.
And those well-intended words those veteran moms and old ldies shared when my oldest 3 were born: "Enjoy those babies". It is difficult when in the throes of sleep deprivation, missed showers, gross diapers, the whole kit-and-caboodle. I find myself feeling more present in this segment of the mom-gig. I constantly work to have balance and avoid losing my sanity. And I want to enjoy my kids. I just don't always find the wherewithal to do it. Despite my efforts to find balance, I sometimes don't have it. I rely heavily on my middle child now, and I have mixed feelings about it. She needs to make her own transitions toward growing up, but she's still a child too. And again, we strive for balance. She's incredibly helpful and has the capacity to follow her brothers into adulthood with a different brand of thinking and experience that will hopefully catapult her beyond her peers.
Each of the older kids loves the younger siblings. As much as I hate to admit that I miss my sons, one of them hates to admit he misses his newest brother. When they're here, they're awesome with the younger kids (usually). When they're here, I also selfishly breathe in their presence because I know they're not staying long. And I enjoy those fleeting moments, because I painfully recognize them for what they are. And then I look at this newest person to join our world, and think how much more I really do have the privilege of getting to know him before we launch him. It's a perspective that was impossible for me to properly possess two decades ago.