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.
Every time I open the freezer drawer, I see a bag of frozen breastmilk staring at me. It has been waiting patiently for me to acknowledge it for months now. But I don’t. I usually just push it deeper into the drawer as I dig around for popsicles or pizza for the kids. Day after day, I see it there, and yet I cannot do the simple thing I know I need to do: throw it away.
Entering our seventh week of summer, I’ve hit the wall. The summer wall. You know how when you are running a marathon, and around mile 21 or so you hit a wall of fatigue (or so I'm told) and you feel like you cannot run one more step?
As a parent, it's really easy to get caught up in thinking "it will get easier when . . ." I know this because I do it a lot. I think "oh, it'll be so much easier when they're not in diapers." Or, "it'll be so much quicker when they can walk to the car themselves."
DO some pre-trip strength training and conditioning. Disney is a strenuous trip. You should prepare for it by strapping all your children and luggage to you and running around your yard. Or, if your gym has a sauna, strap weights to your chest and pace back and forth while you shout, “no this way! We’re going to the Magic Carpets! Stay with us!”
Here's my (not remotely) modest proposal for my dream parents-only year-end party.
With time and distance, I felt myself appreciating the full spectrum of emotions that came with my experience of having a high risk pregnancy and preemie babies. Thinking about how easily we could’ve had a different outcome. Thinking about how grateful we were to have our three girls. Thinking about my sister. Thinking about Elise.
But I’ve started noticing something about these appointments. None of them are for me. It is almost as if I’ve forgotten that I’m important too. Because here’s the thing—when you have small kids, you sometimes forget to take the time to see your own needs. It’s not a conscious decision; the days are just so full and unpredictable.
Fake it til you make it. This is a biggie. When I’m super exhausted and want to crawl back into bed, I put on real, presentable clothes instead of yoga pants and a t-shirt. Because let's face it, napping when they nap isn't really going to happen. So instead, I put together my best self to tackle the longest of days.
I belted out all of the lyrics along with Marcus Mumford. And it felt so good to feel like myself. Chrissy Roussel. Not “Lucy’s mom,” or “Molly’s mom,” or “the lady with the six girls including surprise triplet girls.” And it was wonderful, all of it—the singing, the dancing, the being present in that moment and feeling the music.
I heard her steady voice: "you're a good mom," she said. "You're trying so hard." Her words flooded my heart and made it surge. My noticer was noticing me, her mom, and not in the typical way of--you are my mom and that's a given--but as a person who was really trying her hardest.
I’m here to tell you—you need to read this every holiday. Let it go. Let the idea of a perfect, shareable photo go.
28. Screw you, bead kits.
You know the moments—those beautiful, tiny, unexpected moments where you step back and you see your children with new, clear eyes. Those moments where life, albeit briefly, can’t get any better and see your kids for the beautiful little people they are (or can be, in these moments).
You know there are things you imagine for your life, and then things that you could never in your wildest dreams imagine happening. This—wanting and buying an oversized conversion van—falls in the latter category, along with having six kids in six years, including triplets.
12. It means that “coming home day” actually involves going back to the hospital to pick up your baby when she finally leaves the NICU.
We were in the middle of meat section at Costco when Lucy declared “it smelled like Grandpa.” Which was rather bizarre because, first of all, we were in Costco. Second of all, Lucy was only six when my dad died—did she remember what he smelled like? What did she think he smelled like? As I bent down to pepper her with questions—I smelled it. The familiar scent of Skin Bracer aftershave. It was the same after shave my dad had worn for decades.