As I sit here and type this with my little girl snuggled up against my chest in our Boba 4G carrier (review coming soon!), it’s getting harder and harder to remember what life without Baby Z was like. I remember that strange phenomenon happening with C, but for some reason it still took me by surprise this time around.
I guess that’s because families aren’t designed to stay the same. Even if your family is finished adding members, everyone is getting older with each passing year (and each passing minute for the youngest ones!) That means the family dynamic is constantly changing – sometimes you’re in survival mode, when it’s all you can do to keep everyone fed, rested, and (relatively) clean. That’s the phase we’re in now, and while it can feel daunting and stifling at times, having done it once before means we know how quickly that phase passes. As your kids get older and more independent, family interactions and connections continue to evolve.
Having just expanded our family by one sweet little peanut, these changing family dynamics are glaringly obvious. And, as you might expect, these changes haven’t come without some growing pains. And ironically enough, some of the most sensitive issues have showed up in the most tender of moments. The most poignant example happens every morning when my almost 4 year old son comes in to our room like clockwork at 7 am for some early morning snuggles. He now finds that there’s someone else already there in mommy’s arms. To his credit, his big heart opened up right away to this new intruder (after all, she is pretty darn cute…), and the past few weeks have made for some unbelievably sweet and intimate moments with both my kiddos in my arms. But while I joyfully revel in double the softness and double the love, I have to be sensitive to the fact that my son may see it a little differently…
Speaking of doubling the love, that’s been the most amazing part of this journey so far. I remember when I first found out I was pregnant again, I spent many nights lying awake in bed, wondering how I could possibly love another child as much as I loved C. But just as a non-parent can’t possibly fathom the love a mother/father feels for her/his child, I had no way of knowing how much my love would increase. But from the first time that little girl was placed in my arms, I knew right away that I had nothing to fear when it came to my capacity to love. Rather than dividing the love that I already felt for one into two, that love was multiplied. Our time might be a different story (anyone in favor for giving parents one extra hour in the day for every kid they have?) But our hearts have all doubled in size these past few weeks.
And while a small part of me may always get a little sentimental reflecting back on where our family has come from, a bigger part of me looks anxiously ahead at where we will go.
I’d love to hear from other parents on how evolving family dynamics has affected the rhythm and soul of your life now.