And here we are, from three to four. As the days pass, we're each getting better at being a family of four. We're learning to balance our needs with the needs of a new little person; Michael and I are learning how to share the responsibilities of two; Ryan is learning how to be gently affectionate with Connor.
There are moments, like when both babies are crying or when I am so tired, that it feels crazy to have two children under two years old. But, more than ever, it feels like we're all a team, and this place that we're in feels right. It's an overwhelming time, for sure, but sweet too. And in these days of new life, I've been reminded of the impact that a little generosity can have. The days are not perfect, but they are so good when I remember to be generous with myself and to those around me, and to appreciate the generosity of others.
Last week we had a scare when Connor developed a frightening cough, and Michael and I rushed him to the ER. It was painful to watch him struggle breathing and feel so helpless at the same time. After some tests and time with the doctor, he was diagnosed with bronchiolitis and we headed home. Unfortunately, his symptoms continued, and we went to the pediatrician for several daily check-ups. He was eventually prescribed steroids to strengthen his lungs, and now things are looking up. This little guy is such a trooper, and I'm really grateful that his health is finally improving.
Despite the breathing scare, things have been quiet around here, and I've grown to love how a newborn's schedule for eating and sleeping has a way of slowing things down. Connor's needs are clear and simple, and as they've become more consistent, we've settled into a sort of routine. We're starting the days with windows open, cool mornings and a cup of coffee. A few times a week, Ryan heads out with Michael to get dropped off at school on the way to work. On those days Connor and I have some quiet time alone, we spend some time with my mom, I run errands or take care of things around the house. In the afternoon I pick up Ryan from school, make dinner and then we eat as a family once Michael is home. After dinner, we head to the boys' bedroom to wind down, read and play and get Ryan for bed.
It's been a good pace, but in just a couple of weeks I'll head back to work, and our routine will shift as I relearn how to manage those responsibilities in addition to the responsibilities of a new baby. I'm mentally prepared to take this next step, and even though I've returned from maternity leave before, there's something about it that makes me a little nervous. My modified role at work should ease the impact, but I wonder if the transition will be smooth, and if I'll be able to balance it all. For now, though, I'm going to try to stop the wondering, and I'm going to focus on being present—because the present is pretty good.
Many thanks to Emily Goodstein for capturing these photos of our family.