Eliza turned one on Thursday and it is hard for me to believe that she has been a part of our family for a year. The jump from two kids to three has been tougher than I envisioned and it has made me take a hard look at some of the ways I operate.
I am a last minute girl. In college I never started a paper (at least not a good one, anyway) more than twelve hours before it was due. I start thinking about what's for dinner at five o'clock every afternoon, and I begin addressing my Christmas cards on December 23. There is a certain aspect of my laid back attitude that is beneficial around our house. However, having three kids requires me to be more purposeful in my planning and it has been a hard adjustment.
In addition to being more intentional in daily matters, I am also going to have to do a better job of grabbing little moments with my children when they occur. Gone are the days of endless one on one time with Virginia. Gone are the daily trips to the Western with Virginia and Wills in the double stroller. We no longer go to the playground twice a day or the zoo on a weekly basis. I miss those huge chunks of time, but am learning to embrace special moments when they come along.
I hate to confess this, but I took a nap with Eliza almost every morning last fall that Virginia and Wills were both in school. I quit going to Bible Study and my other scheduled morning activities because I preferred cuddling up with my sleeping baby and I knew that opportunity would be short-lived. And last week when Wills was sick, he and I spent five straight mornings on the couch reading all of Stuart Little and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm. I ignored my to-do list (which is pretty overwhelming because I also ignored it all summer) and embraced an unexpected windfall of time because one day he won't want me to read to him anymore.
As I have said before, finding a balance is a tall order for me. It is hard for me to know when to do the dishes and when to play hide-n-seek. Is it time to sweep when I can't see through all the dog hair swirling around the den? Is thirty-six hours the point at which food left on dishes in the sink permanently solidifies? My inclination is usually to tackle the household tasks so I can check them off my list. But, unfortunately, that list never ends. If I am waiting for everything else to disappear before I fully engage with my kids, I will be waiting forever.
Yes, more children equals less time. And the time I do have with Virginia and Wills looks different than it used to and that makes me sad. They are growing up. But with each passing day comes greater appreciation for the depth and possibility of each moment that does present itself. In both the extraordinary and the mundane, I long to make the most of every second we have together.