Here’s what we have: me, 8 months pregnant, balancing a laptop on a burgeoning belly with two snoring dogs under a pair of propped-up feet. The clock reads 3am. It is quiet, cozy, warm. Perfect conditions for sleeping – unless, of course, you are not. (I am not.)
The insomnia haze, for me, begins just weeks into pregnancy and stretches along until said baby turns, oh 2-ish? As such, there are entire 3-year spans in which I cannot remember the word for ketchup. I’m learning not to fight it, not to resent the bleary adjustment period where it often takes quadruple the time to find a thought, lasso it, and bring it to a page or two. Writing the grocery list feels hard enough; writing much else? Nearly impossible.
Still, my weekly journaling practice is going strong, and every now and then I find myself jotting liner notes – tucked into my car console, the junk drawer, my nightstand. My aim is simply to remember this season of raising kids and raising myself. I know these are the good days; I feel it somewhere in my bones. But I don’t always see them, and I want to.
I want to see what I tossed into my omelette, what the kids sang in the car, which titles I picked up at the library when I ran around too distracted to recognize the gravity of a beautifully ordinary life.
What I’m saying is this: I’ve missed it here.
In a month or so, there will be a ten-toed baby girl in our midst – a fact I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around. This was not an expected addition, and yet: what are expectations if not plans designed for foiling? Ken and I were in such immediate disbelief we ran through 5-6 pregnancy tests in the span of a day.
And then, just as suddenly: joy.
Ever since, we’ve been rearranging long-term plans and bedrooms, folding hand-me-down onesies to fit into shared drawers, foraging the attic for a baby carrier we’d perchance forgotten to donate years ago. (No such luck.) My mind, in minutes, dithers between “Don’t worry; babies need so little!” and “OMG what if she’s born into a home without a diaper pail?”
(In writing this, it’s clear to me that my logic skills have been stored somewhere in the depths of my no-longer-accessible jeans size.)
We’re making room, all of us, at differing paces. Bee’s campaigning to be full-time nanny and Official Naming Consultant, taking odd jobs here and there to buy her sister a bow. Scout simply wants the assurance that baby food pouches will be added back into everyone’s regular snack rotation. I wouldn’t necessarily call him excited, not at this juncture, but there was a moment last week in which he proudly proclaimed: I’m going to love this baby more than driveways!
So, we’re getting there.
The kids are 4 and 8 now – cutting their own apples, making their own plans. No longer are we in the land of licked doorknobs or face-down wailing in restaurant lobbies. Given my predisposed inability to multitask, this feels like nothing short of divine timing. Two children exiting stage left into a world of perceived independence; one more entering just long enough to steal the toys.
The pregnancy itself has been difficult, much in the way all pregnancies can be when your body becomes no longer your own, when it’s been eight years since you’ve finagled with a nursing bra, when you’re no spring chicken anymore. But I’m getting by with a few honorable mentions – couch naps, magnesium spray, and a newly-perfected cacio e pepe recipe.
All else is all else: Helping Bee with math problems over heaping breakfasts of monkey bowls. Fueling Scout’s continued obsession with house keys and the story of Samson. Harvesting tomatoes from the deck garden, watercoloring rainbows all afternoon. Fishing out Ken’s golf tees from the dryer. There are Chinese classes to be driven to, theatre rehearsals to be practiced for, library hauls to return, groceries to procure.
The good days, is what I mean.