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.
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.
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.
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?
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."
Here's my (not remotely) modest proposal for my dream parents-only year-end party.
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.
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).