shuffling to a new beat

6:17 PM

It's week two and it feels like we're getting into more of a routine. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are more or less the same but the other two days are an elegant dance that requires balancing so many different schedules and humans. There were growing pains for sure. Plenty of tears (from babies and adults) and mistakes were made and lessons learned. But as I packed Birdie's lunchbox for the third time this morning with a head full of wet hair I for the first time felt like - maybe we can do this. There was the usual mayhem of getting clothes on a sleepy toddler, then feeding said sleepy toddler breakfast, then herding sleepy toddler in the car. There were kisses goodbye and pots of coffee. Showers and emails and hastily applied makeup. There was lunch in the car in the form of an icy cold green smoothie and "hello class" and "goodbye class."
It's a lot of one foot in front of the other and shuffling of papers, people and cars. So it wasn't until I was driving back home, Birdie chattering away in the backseat about caterpillars and boiled eggs (her new favorite lunch and something she is "sure I want to eat EVERY day mama"), that it dawned on me how just like that... our family's life had begun to grow roots into a completely different direction.
And yet... those early days flash crystal clear in front of my eyes. That snowy spring I spent cooped up with a newborn that wanted nothing more than to eat and sleep on repeat. It felt like groundhog day - the same milk stained pajamas, the familiar snap of the nursing bra, the swaddling and subsequent un-swaddling. The way the days melted into one giant heap of dirty diapers and dangerously colossal lumps of hair that seemed determined to leave me bald. On the bad days it felt like it would be like this forever - lonely and dull. On the good days I clung to the beginning of a smile, a joint nap on the sofa by the fireplace or a successful excursion to the grocery store. It felt like the hardest mission I had ever embarked on and yet the most utterly thankless one too. I wondered a lot those days...
I wondered about the future. I wondered if it would ever get easier. I wondered if I would ever wear something other than yoga pants. I wondered if I would work again and whether or not I would want to. If I even could... I wondered if I would ever feel like myself again.
It's been close to four years and the future came. First in the form of a surprise divine baby boy with the most kissable lips and a heart so big I wondered how I ever understood love before him. Then came moves and ups and downs. Big decisions that weighted so heavily at times life seemed completely suffocating. Birdie turned one, then two and last year three. Teddy turned one and in just a month he will turn two. Our conversations went from sleep training and feedings to preschools and the abc's. And in the course of one summer I went back to work and Birdie started school.
Turns out I do get to wear something other than yoga pants and I'm more or less feeling like my old self. I talk not just to grown-ups now but to a very "grown up sounding" daughter that feels way older than three and a half. And it's not really easier, my heart doesn't ache any less, I don't worry about the future any less yet there's an ease to life that wasn't there before.
Perhaps it's that there's nothing quite like the hurricane that is a six pound newborn. Perhaps it's the learning curve and the fact that round two is almost always less bumpy than round one. Perhaps it's the lack of hair loss and disorienting weight gain. Or the way that nothing beats a toddler hug. But this right here feels mighty good. It's like when you've been trying to nail a recipe down for months. You change this and that, you re-read it a million times, you've added a pinch of this and that and then... finally!! It works! It's just how you had imagined - warm, gooey, sweet and filling. That's how it feels right now. It feels like we baked the darn best banana bread ever and I just want a moment to savor it before the north wind blows again and we have to re-adjust our sails.

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