Month: September 2016

Transition

I wrote these two snippets when I was in the midst of the summer of 2016, living by myself, taking care of the girls, and selling the schoolhouse.  I didn’t feel comfortable publishing it at the time, but now that it is over, it feels safe to put these feelings out into the arcing reach of the Internet.  Enjoy…

We are one month from moving and the goodbyes are already starting to roll in; some in the form of texts, others in final visits to old stomping grounds.  Many I’m putting off and I keep reassuring people that we haven’t left yet.  But I think they know what I am trying to deny: our time here is finite.

It’s been hard to process everything when I’m flying solo during the week.  Sometimes the weight of three extra bodies needing everything from you is enough to bring you to your knees.

There are nights I spend running from bedside to bedside and not seeing nearly enough of my own.

There are nights where I lay awake, over-analyzing every little sound.  No peace to be found.

There is a constant feeling that we are only one vomit, one fever, one car malfunction away from a disaster.  The only reason we are holding together is because we are being held together.  But one small upset in this delicate balance and you realize you cannot possibly sustain this lifestyle for very long.

During this time I prayed specifically against mastitis (I’ve always gotten it around the 6 week mark, which is the first week I was left on my own.  This time I have been free of it!).  I also prayed that in the absence of the girls’ earthly father, God would step in.  He’s given me control over my fear at night for safety and has provided a few interactions for the girls with other men that reminded me of the way N interacts with them.  Not a perfect substitute, of course, but enough of a break from me to give them some familiarity. Finally, I prayed that God would give me extra patience for the girls and that I wouldn’t say anything to them in frustration or anger I would regret.  It’s amazing, but prayers do work. Although I did have to apologize to them twice for losing my patience so far, i’ve felt myself very calm and serene this entire time.  Almost like I’d been drugged, I’ve been able to let so much roll over me without getting under my skin as it may normally on a given night when I am carrying the needs of the family by myself.

I feel like I am treading water.  I set up a bunch of systems in place to keep things running without me turning the crank every time.  But there’s only so much independence and reliance I can give to a five year old, three year old, and two month old.

MG is my right hand man.  She is a joyful helper; I don’t know what I would do without her.  She jumps at any chance to fill a need, mommying both Bea and Sib as well as attending to me at times too. I feel guilty letting her carry some of my burdens and I feel overwhelmed when I don’t.

I feel so vulnerable by myself with three, dependent, little ones.  We are often at the mercy of strangers, reliant on their goodwill.  An opened door, an extra day at the gym the day after our membership ran out, the retrieval of a dropped item. Nothing felt too small and these interactions were crucial to my survival.

Each week gets a little easier as we sink into a rhythm, but I still feel pretty martyr-ish by Thursday night. (N comes home on the weekends)

It’s also weird living in a house that doesn’t belong to you anymore, especially right now.

I have several friends who have made an effort to checkup on me, the neighbors who have watched over me, and one friend in particular who has gone out of her way to invite us over for dinner many times.  This community I am completely dependent on and soon I will have to walk away from it completely to start over.


Part 2

MG is gone now and it’s just me, Bea, and Sibs.  I’m afraid Bea will curl up in a ball of boredom without her best playmate here.  That’s  only happened once or twice so far.  She is learning how to play by herself now and has gotten quite good at it.  I underestimated her. In many different ways.

Sib is starting to sleep much longer stretches at night.  I don’t know what I would do if she was colicky or awoke through the night.  Literally don’t know what I would do.  God has orchestrated the timing of this and a few other little things for me and I have noticed it.

Now I am deliberately saying my goodbyes. Our final church service, lunch dates, playdates, and even drives. Goodbyes are hard.  They’re awkward and weird and filled with a lot of promises that I’m not sure will be able to be kept.  But they are necessary too.  And they also represent many good things. God has taken me on a few scenic routes lately past some of the memorable parts of this town.  I think He is helping me close the door. I know I can’t wait to bring the girls back here one day and take them on these drives along with my memory-laced narration.

I feel like I have spoken these words before but I don’t know another time when they would trump right now.  This has been one of the most stressful and difficult seasons of our lives.  There have been so many little things that have been hard compacted on top of the big things that are difficult anyway.  N and I living apart, both with our hands tied up in so many things, trying to make a living and keep a life. So many foundational things are changing all at once. It has been hard to keep our relationship intact across the miles.  But if absence makes the heart grow fonder then consider my heart’s beating the most devoted cry in the world.

-smk

 

Four Months

First *a quick apology* for the lack of updates as of late.  We are officially Mason-Dixon residents and have been now for almost 3 weeks.  I have not written anything, not for lack of desire nor anything to say, but I am still trying to figure out my new life here and how writing fits into all of that.  Writing our family story is important to me, so I know it’s something I will continue to work out as I try to balance school life, baby life, toddler life, new state life, and new home life <<sigh, but a happy one>>.

In the midst of all of this, Sibby turned 4 months today.

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Four months still sounds “little baby”-ish to me so that makes me happy that not too much of her life has passed in what has felt like an eternal transitory time.  But it’s also old enough that is she becoming somewhat predictable yet not rigid and also not exploring yet.  Perfect timing for getting adjusted to life here before she takes off.

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God was merciful to me when He gave us this thirdborn.  She really is a dream baby; only cries when she’s tired or hungry (and it’s pretty easy to figure out which).  She is pleasant when awake and can be stretched beyond her hunger or tiredness when distracted.

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No new milestones this month save for a random roll-over (belly to back).  She attempted a few more times after but scared herself straight.  I’M FINE WITH SLOW MILESTONES RIGHT NOW. Wait, scratch that.  As of this morning, she rolled over belly to back and then back to belly twice!!

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The lack of forward movement has meant the delicious rolls on her arms and legs have stuck around for another month.  She does have a pretty steady neck now though, and those rolls can sweat like none other, if not placed on a breathable surface (like an arm, anything polyester, or her carseat).

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She still takes a paci but usually doesn’t sleep with it.  When she is hungry, she makes a coughy-gaggy sound like my other two did in between cries.  We’ve attempted to give her her FIRST bottle this month (I know, I know mommy FAIL.  Pumping has been extremely low on my priority list right now!) and she hasn’t quite taken to it (or I should say, all three, as we’ve tried three different versions).  Looks like we need more practice!  One minor thing she HAS added this month though, is her ability to bring her paci to her mouth using her grasping fingers.  Hard work for hand-eye coordination!

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The one thing that I’m still trying to figure out for Miss Sib is her nap schedule.  It seems her ideal is to take one or two cat naps in the morning and then a long 3-4 hour afternoon nap, followed by perhaps another cat nap before bed.  This is great with me except her afternoon nap falls right around the time I pickup MG from school.   So frustrating to have to wake her up and then try to settle her back in again after we are literally gone from the house for 40 min, maybe.  This has vexed me so much that I’ve been running through countless solutions and one I’ve found recently is to pay a homeschooled neighbor to come sit at the house for me.  So far it seems like the best solution.

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Still, it seems general consensus for the third babies is that they just have to nap on the fly and are at the mercy of their older siblings’ schedules.  Builds character, they say.  And I guess where the third children’s easy going nature gets its reputation.

Finally, perhaps her best quality is that my loving, angel third baby sleeps through the night.  And when I say sleeps through the night, I mean I lay her down at 8pm and she wakes up at 7am. I would say it’s a fluke, but she’s been doing it now for almost this entire month. (and don’t hate me, fellow moms of newborns, just remember what the rest of my life has looked like this month.  We all have our crosses to bear :))

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I still often lovingly refer to her as “the baby”and I think I’m convincing myself of it…although last week I did bring up baby names for the first time in a long…(and I got two nods of approval!)  Still, I can’t say I’ve ever felt more ready to stabilize and not add any more change in for a long, long, long time.

-smk

 

Headed South

I’ve always felt a longing to go south again.  I lived in Indiana for 10 years, but it never truly felt like home, perhaps because I never let it. The ways of the Hoosiers (a word my St. Louis background caused me to never embrace), always seemed strange and a bit bumbling to me.  The first three years I spent here, after all, we didn’t observe daylight savings.  Yes, while the rest of the country turned their clocks backwards or forwards obediently, twice a year, we moved about our lives, pretending the tradition never existed.

I always compared their food to my own; peanut butter pie was no match for pecan and pork tenderloins were a shoddy version of a catfish sandwich.  And I always missed my pimento cheese and hush puppies (I was once righteously offended when I went to a Catholic fish fry and instead of hush puppies they offered me rice.  RICE). But, as you must understand, I came here late to the game and with my heart already married to the land below the Mason-Dixon.  And it didn’t help that Indiana’s Achilles heel is their winter.  I hate the cold.  I hate the snow.  I dread it every year.  To go to the land where snow barely exists has me more excited than I can possibly say.

So while I taught myself to drive through their so-called roundabouts and find a setting sun behind a field of corn just as beautiful as a scenic mountain, I always wondered when we would go back.

The conversation extended to my parents.  We spoke of it in sweeping dreams and whispered circles.  Someday we’ll live together.  Someday we won’t be a plane ride away.  Someday our girls will be able to walk over to your house for dessert.  Someday…

We’ve been speaking of someday for eight years.  And then in 2016, someday became reality.  In April, Dad retired.  In May, they moved to Nashville.  In June, N accepted a job there.  In July he moved.  In August we  closed on our house. It happened so fast, it left us reeling, but in reality, it had been the plan all along.  And now we are going home.

Our new house will be completely different from our schoolhouse.  It will be neighborhood-ly and suburban.  I imagine our lives there will be the same, but of course augmented by bar-be-que and accents.

But to give fair credit where it’s due, I will miss our decade in Indiana.  We loved and lived in two wonderful cities, each unique in their own right.  We had fantastic neighbors in each of these places and wonderful churches.  We made friends there; deep friendships that span 10 years or one, both invaluable to our well-being.

Noblesville was vibrant and fun, the kick-off to our life with children and suburban in the best way possible. Upland was magical and sweet; the life we had dreamed of for so long.  It will be hard to say goodbye, and we will look back with longing from time to time.

But the next chapter has already started and it’s time to move ahead.  In fact, I think my moving crew just arrived.  Rocky Top, I’m coming home

-smk