Outside, though, the lemon tree continues its predictable pattern of growing beautiful yellow lemons year after year. To me, their predictability is both comforting and bittersweet. When all else is changing, the fruit trees remain the same—dutifully growing, changing, and repeating the pattern year after year.
My friend held up his hand to stop me before I could spit out another question. He smiled and said calmly, “Wait a minute. Has anyone told you that it’s awesome having triplets? Has anyone told you how much fun it will be? Has anyone told you that maybe everything will be just fine?”
At 40, it feels like anything is possible, though there’s also an urgency to do the things I want right now. And I guess that’s what I never understood about a midlife crisis until now: it’s not a crisis at all, but an awakening to the urgency of living the life you want and doing what makes you happy, right now.
“Am I going to be okay, Mom?” My daughter asked quietly as she lie on an ER gurney. It was midnight, and we had been there for hours. She’d had bloodwork, IV meds, and IV fluids.
Everyone has before-and-afters in life. Little did I know, in spring of 2014, my life would be defined by two before-and-afters that occurred in the span of one month.
Two with three means constantly shouting “where’d the third one go?!” Two with three is figuring out who bit whom. Two with three is a connection so deep they don’t know where they end and the others begin.
Car dates. They’re a thing. At least for me and my husband. You, too, can experience glorious car dates with just a few easy steps. Here’s how:
We were intimately in tune with each other's struggles and victories, both the big ones and the small ones. And so, during those years, we carried each other through the best and worst of things.
We live in an age of parenting where want to fix things. We want our children to be happy. Yet when our kids lose a loved one, we cannot fix things for them. We cannot make them better. We can, however, show them how to grieve through our example.
Every time we travel with our six kids, I have this moment of panic where I ask myself:
What have we done?! What WERE we thinking? Why did we come to the beach/the zoo/Grandma’s house/Disney? We’re never traveling again.
“Oh, they don’t talk to me. I’m not one of the cool girls.” My heart sank when my nine year old made this comment about some of her classmates.
We sat watching tv and sipping wine as I searched for flights for a spring trip.
Could we go to Dublin? We always talked about taking the big girls when they reached the golden ages of 5-9…. Would the flights be outrageous? What about the babies? Could I leave the babies?
I wondered: had I asked too much of her and her sisters? Did I expect her to be bigger than she was? Did I miss things because I was busy with the babies? Did I miss her being a baby?
I stared at the little bug on my phone screen. It couldn’t be, could it? But it was. . . . There was no denying it: I had lice. Or, at minimum, I had a louse. [Insert every-single-curse-word here.]
“Water broke. Need you here,” wrote my sister’s husband, Joe. I stared at my phone, trying to comprehend how so much grief and sadness could be packaged into such small, simple words. How could so few words say so much? How could they completely eviscerate all hope?
“But then I don’t get her feet or legs!” shouted my four-year-old to my eight-year-old. I had been reduced to body parts by my children. Pieces of myself for my kids to fight over.
Do you know what happens when we wear that oversized sweater poncho here in the South in October? We become one-person sweat lodges, like the ones that people died in from overheating. That lovely plaid wool jacket? There may be one day this year I could actually wear it, and that day probably won’t come until January.
It may have taken almost two years, but I can now say it is no longer surreal. What’s more surprising is that there was ever a time when they were NOT part of our family, like all my older girls too. Now, I think to myself: of course you’re here. You were meant to be here all along, just like your big sisters.