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.

  • Congratulations! Late in life babies are a joy! As you know watching Suz grow into the women and mother she is today. You got this🥰

  • Oh, so lovely wonderfully written.
    Once again.
    Sorry you’re not sleeping well, but indeed, it’s just part of the deal I guess, I wish you a lot good ordinary days.

  • Congratulations -what a joyous surprise! May you wait in hope for the birth of your newest little one. :)

  • Good news for you and your family!!! Yay! Oh by the way…please do share the cacio e pepe recipe??? This continues to elude me! Thanks for the inspiration!-Tracy

  • Congratulations! Oh, that joy. (And I have a 3-1/2 year old. Do they really stop wailing at 4? Please say yes. :))

  • This made me so happy! Wishing you and your growing family many blessings! :)

  • So many congratulations for you all, dear friend. I’ve been absent from much of the internet lately but I feel like I landed here just time to share this joy. Wow.

    So many congrats. xoxoox

  • Congratulations…for all of it. I love that you are able to keep up with the journaling. Wishing you many days of ease and normal sweetness.

  • So good to read you Erin. Congratulations on the baby! Blessings to you and your family.

  • What joyous news! Congratulations, Erin!

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post and the thoughtful reflections. In particular,
    “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 needed to be reminded of this today. Thank you!

  • Beautifully written…I love being the mother of 3…just enough chaos, mixed with not enough hands and the joy of progressive stages that all cascade into memories made…wishing you all the joy in the world!

  • Erin, it is so good to read your words again! So happy for you and your growing family but must admit I miss your writing. The weekly journal has been an anchor to me since March. I look forward to Monday morning prompts and have researched some of the authors whose quotes you give us. It’s been a great learning experience. Blessings to you….Mitzi

    • So glad you’re enjoying my journaling series! It’s been an anchor for me, as well, and I plan to continue throughout next year and beyond! xoxo

  • I am so happy for you friend. But so sorry it has been hard. My prayers have been with you since the first time I heard. My prayers will be with you through delivery and through my old age😉. So much love to you and Ken💕

  • Congratulations. What a wonderful blessing. Our little surprise son came when our girls were 15 and 12. I knew the Lord had told me we would have a son 6 years before. He has been a wonderful blessing and a grey hair maker and is now 30.

  • We are 3 months into our 3rd baby, a girl as well! Like you I also have and 8 year old and a 4 year old… both boys. Bee will be such a help and Scout will love that baby so hard. Every day I find myself in awe of the first that we get the blessing experiencing again. It’s tough, but yet easier the 3rd time around! Thinking of you during this tough last month!

    • Ahhhh, such kindred timelines, Martha! Sending blessings your way as well — thrilled to welcome this baby girl!

  • Yes! The good days!
    I had my first baby weeks away from turning 39….and then quickly had two more by the time I was 42. I’m 48 now…some friends my own age are grandmas! Still, I wouldn’t change this and am often overwhelmed how good God was to wait for me to mama these littles ones until I was a good ripe age.
    Love to you. Soak it all up.

  • Enjoy the last few weeks of pregnancy and savor the early months of a new life who will be entering this world. As hard as the first months with a newborn are and with two other children, it will still have magical moments to treasure. My children are grown now and I so miss them being little. Believe me, it really does go by in a flash.

  • We are expecting two surprises this winter…a grand girl and a great nephew. Even though it has been a tough acceptance process for the parents, Nana/Great Auntie knows there is nothing like the love of and for a child to center your life.

  • That happened to me in early 1977. An almost-8 y/o, an almost 6 y/o and a huge baby in my womb!!! He turned out to be one of life’s greatest gifts! Congrats!

  • We took my 18 year old to college 16 days ago. My 15 year old is remotely and virtually learning at a friend’s house this afternoon in pandemic times. It’s quiet here. These are different days. I know they are good days, but different good days and I spend at least a few moments each morning reflecting on the other, long ago good days.

  • What good news! and what tiredness, the good kind. Thank you Erin, for your insights into finding joy in your everyday rounds.

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