My oldest turns three on Sunday, thus bringing to an end the insanely intense six-month stretch we've endured since January--having three kids under three years old, or, as the hashtag I follow on Instagram for consolation and inspiration puts it, #3under3.
The crazy part is, I'm really going to miss it. I'm tearing up even as I write this, which is awkward in a newsroom, even in the office they're letting me crouch in for awhile (one of the benefits of being back at work post-Covid; lots more space). Of course, it's not like our days will suddenly change and get a lot easier after Sunday. Frankly, it's been non-stop intense for three years, because I was so clueless with my first, and in a way the transition to two was actually hardest, and this is sort of easier mentally now but physically just a lot. And it's still going to be a lot...for years.
And that's okay. I know a lot of people are daunted by having kids because it seems so foreign and hard and annoying. And of course, it can be. But it's also the best thing ever. I was never the type growing up to ever think or muse about being a mom. I never played with dolls, let alone strollers or shopping carts. And yet this is by far my favorite job. I took my oldest to church this morning because half an hour during the week just the two of us is a lot more manageable than trying to take everyone for an hour on the weekends. And it was great. It was maybe the best morning ever.
It was only doable, of course, because my mom was home with the other two while my husband was doing a million other things--it truly does take a village. Thank God for our neighbors who moved in last year with their own two little kids. I can't tell you how many times we've been on the verge of a complete breakdown (me, the kids, the husband, whomever) only to be rescued by a chance encounter in the yard that turns into an awesome play session and helps us get through the day. Like just last night, which ended with all the kids (okay, except my middle, who's a different story) running screaming with laughter through a hose in the yard.
Our "village" also involves daytime babysitters, preschool, neighborhood teenagers and friends' kids being "mother's helpers" for me on afternoons I am trying to manage all three by myself while also making dinner, etc. One thing is for sure: the more people around, the better. We should basically just hang a sign out front that says "please stop what you're doing and come hang out with us."
The other morning I had to ask a stranger--an older woman who was out for a walk--to watch my middle one so he didn't fall in the lake while I raced the oldest back to the car to use the potty. I was in a photoshoot a few months ago that basically turned into a babysitting session. Just last weekend, my husband's friend ended up having to let our five-month-old nap on his chest at the pool while we chased after the older ones. It's insane. It's comical. It's the hardest thing ever, and yet I love it. Did I mention it's hard?
While we were swapping stories the other day, my friend from college chuckled at our latest misadventures and said, "that's what you get for planning them so close together!" "Planning?" I said. "What plan?!" Because you just never know how it's going to turn out in life. So many of my friends have struggled with infertility and related issues--a lot of the kinds of things that you can't know about and plan for in advance. May I never--even here--sound ungrateful for these incredible gifts we've been given.
See you at 1 p.m!