My sister came across this when I left my sketchbook out after showing her the first draft of an illustration for a poem of my brother’s that I’d drawn several months ago and never gotten any further on. I had to chuckle when I saw it, and remember the time it came from. We had just discovered that we were expecting Maria, and were waiting to announce our exciting news until we had a better idea of whether or not this person would be staying with us for long. It was hard to keep the secret when we were rollercoastering from eager anticipation to despair and back again. My creativity was one of the ways I coped, mostly in the phases of happier excitement. I’ve always been a maker, and tend to have several projects going at once.
A few months before John came, I realized that Maria was finally at a stage where I could work on projects while she was up, and made use of that as much as I possibly could before the birth. I didn’t get to finish the project I was working on (felt books that walk one through the Mass with images; the page for the readings is pictured above), and I’m itching to get back to it, but I still find it impossible to do two-handed things while nursing without getting milk everywhere or frustrating the baby or both (actually, those things often happen when I’m one-handing it – nursing takes a lot of concentration and hands and skill). If I don’t sleep for naptime, I stay in bed with the kids and read, or use that time to fix dinner or try to catch up on housework. So I’m trying to content myself with the necessary projects of swapping out clothes (for me, because my maternity trousers and skirts wouldn’t stay up, and for Maria, because her drawers were overflowing, and for John, because I needed to take all the 0-3 month clothes out of his drawer and get a few 3-6 month things out of a bucket), organizing the freezer, fridge, and pantry, and maybe even someday taking care of the leftover birth supplies in my closet and tidying John’s outgrown diapers to donate or to store for the next Babydorf. There are so many things I want to do, but so little time and energy…and truthfully, even when he’s peacefully asleep, it’s so hard to put him down. Those moments are ones that I’ve earned with all the hard work of building him and now of sustaining him. I need my baby snuggles even more than my projects. It’s difficult to remember that some days, though, because I get so high on accomplishing things that if ever I do, I want to keep accomplishing things forever. It’s ridiculous.
We got a cold last week, and no one escaped. It hasn’t been pleasant, but it has been relatively mild, which is a huge blessing, especially with John so young. It’s been a good excuse to take it easy and spend lots of time snuggling the kids…as if postpartum wasn’t already a good enough one. Letting the housework slide is always hard for me, and when I get caught up enough that the floors are reasonably tidy and the laundry hamper is nearly empty, we take a deep breath and smell the sweet scent of sanity wafting through the house. We’re so blessed to have Hailie here to help out a bit as I take over housekeeping again. We were blessed with so much help after the birth – meals from parishioners, a visit from Stephen’s parents, a visit from Finn and Fred – y’all, I feel like I STILL have twenty five thank you cards to write. Not quite that many, but it’s time to catch up.
It’s hard to believe that John is only a month old. The time since he was born has been so packed that it seems eons! He’s just starting to give awake smiles and talk to us and stare at lights. He’s amazing.