William, Charlie, Ikey, Benny, Henry

William, Charlie, Ikey, Benny, Henry

Monday, July 23, 2012


Well, here we are...home with the baby we've been anticipating for 9 whole months. I held back tears as we left the hospital and then my breath as we walked through the front door. "Dreading" isn't the right word, but I wasn't exactly "relishing" the thought of trudging through this next transition. I've been pretty upfront in depicting our chaos, but probably less obvious in revealing the toll it's actually taken. The truth is, the closer we stepped towards Henry's arrival, the more fragile I became. In the 24 hours before our departure for the hospital, I was a teary-eyed (okay, bawling) mess that frenetically moved from bills to laundry to cleaning to sorting to packing....and through any other tasks that rapidly popped into my series of fleeting thoughts. Trying to exert control in our situation is like trying to stop a freight train by throwing a handful of gravel. We do our best, but we're tired of the troubleshooting in our chronic state of temporary. Needless to say, we sucked it up, told each other that this, too, will be okay, and headed off to welcome our brand new boy.

Day before Henry!

Luckily for us, there is nothing in the world more beautiful than birth. Being witness to the first moments of a life, feeling as though the entire universe has expanded to accommodate this arrival, and the elation that follows is almost more than I can bear. Despite my best intentions to remain composed, the intensity of every emotion is just too overwhelming. I think my heart gets so full that it actually bottoms out, in a way. The flip side of feeling so blessed by such a beautiful gift is the potential to get tipped the other direction very easily. With this perfect, pure, tiny being comes a heavy feeling of responsibility...responsibility to do everything humanly possible to protect their well-being and provide the best life you're able to give. So, this time around my hang-up has been the idea of "home." I've been sad, and I mean SAD, about not having a "home" for our kids, and bringing a new baby "home" to our temporary set-up. I take it very personally and often feel it's a huge failure on our part that these circumstances have dragged on so long. Although rational Emily knows she's not personally responsible for factors outside her control, irrational and emotional Emily gets fixated on this notion quite often.

When we returned home from the hospital, I found a gift waiting for me. It was a framed, antique piece of poetry by Edgar H. Guest entitled "Home." As I sat and read the sentiment in the poem, tears were streaming down my face. The gift was from my old dance teacher, someone very dear to me, and the message was exactly what I needed. I practically grew up in her house, a second "home" from the time I was toddler (not even three!) until the day I graduated high school. It occurred to me that "home" is not necessarily about being in our specific house with all our things in order. The message of the poem points out that "home" is love and living and family...things I should be appreciating every day. Home is wherever Jason is, where our children are, and all the moments of our being together, not our street address.

Next to my mom's bed is a framed snapshot of my dad holding Betsy and me when we were little and a magazine clipping with a quote slid inside the frame. The quote reads, "It is astonsishing how short a time it takes for very wonderful things to happen." --Frances Hodgson Burnett  That's how I feel when I look at this picture.
Although we can agree we've had a lot of each other in the past 7 months, the truth is that we're so lucky to even have this option of extended-family-living. We couldn't do it without them. From my parents putting us up and sacrificing every day of their retirement to help with our kids to my sister doing everything to support me despite having a baby of her own only 4 weeks ago (this includes providing little Henry a stash of her milk to supplement his mama's inadequate supply...honestly, Betsy should really be the older sister, not me), we are so thankful.

Ahmie and Pa with baby Henry


My grandparents with all SIX of their great-grandBOYS!!!!!! From left: Henry, Johnny, Benny (blue), Charlie (green), Ikey (orange), and William

I'll go even further and remind myself that this small town community is also "home." It's the dance teacher who believes in you, the the old friend from high school who sends an email out of the blue that makes you think you might be good at something, the one that realizes you might need some alone time with your spouse and sends a gift certificate for dinner at his establishment, the one that calls when you need a friend the most, the one that always offers help whether it's dinner or diapers, the one that comes to your rescue by taking care of your children when you're in the hospital having ANOTHER baby, the old teachers, the parents of friends, the church you grew up in....the people who have your back. Honestly, what more do I want?? This morning I sat waist deep in a mess of toys that have no official "place," the baby strapped to me in his wrap, three stocky little toddlers clinging to my knees, and my "big" boy leaning in to snuggle his new brother, when I was struck by William's simple observation. Amidst his kisses for Henry and his arm hugging the other three closer, he said "Look Mama, we're a family." Good point. As it turns out, we are "home."

Snug as a bug in a rug

So, a few highlights from our first week. It took less than an hour before Henry endured an injury at the hands of his brother. He was laying on the ottoman for all to admire when Charlie reached out and clawed his face. Big gash across the forehead. Honestly, blood already??? I think my heart almost stopped watching it unfold. It was like a gang initiation...I guess he got "jumped" in or something. I felt like an awesome mom explaining what happened at his weight check.

Baby hazing
Henry likes to sleep, but only if you're holding him. Needless to say, we've had some long nights. Not that it matters (the triplets slept in Rubbermaid storage boxes for 5 months...whoops, don't tell anyone), but Henry doesn't have a proper bed yet, so maybe that's our problem. Operation Big Boy bed looked super promising, but failed in the end. Since William won't cough up his crib, I'm trying to figure out where to set up a 5th crib. Yikes.

If you could just hold me like this all night long, that would be great!

That's all for now. This post kind of got away from me and with two refusing an afternoon nap and one hungry newborn, I better go. Thanks for all the kind and congratulatory words...we are truly grateful.

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