🎶 Hey, Where Did We Go? 🎶

Short Answer: I’m in the season of life that revolves around The Baby Who Can’t Be Put Down and The Never-Ending Doctor’s Appointments.

Cosmo does not self-entertain yet. He wants so badly to be able to experience the world, but at barely 4 months, there’s not much he can do on his own. So we have to be his entertainment. He wants to be carried around, upright, facing out, so he can see everything. I do have a carrier that he loves to be in if we go out for a walk, but not so much when we’re in the house – too restrictive, I guess.

Thankfully, he sleeps pretty well at night. During the day he hates to fall asleep because he might miss something. But if he does nod off while you’re carrying him, DON’T PUT HIM DOWN or it’s all over.

When I was pregnant, I couldn’t think much beyond one day at a time, and praying that he would be healthy. Now that we’ve moved onto actually raising him, it’s a new and unexpected level of amazing and exhausting. You’d think by the third child I would have a sense of how this goes, but it’s completely new and different. I think there are probably entire days when Steven and I don’t even speak except to communicate the necessities. We’re simply too tired for anything more.

But just look at that face. Those big blue eyes are a miracle and a mystery, and I can get lost in them for hours.

And then there’s the other new addition to the household, my dad. We are so thankful he’s here now. It’s not been easy adjusting to having an extra (adult) person with his own complex needs and wants living with us. (No more streaking from my bedroom to the laundry room to get my clothes out of the dryer.) But it was long past time for him to come up, and we’re much happier knowing he is now getting the little extra help and care that he needed.

I wish I could say he is much happier as well, but that probably wouldn’t be accurate. He has a remarkably good attitude about it all, but it’s difficult to lose your independence, even when you have your own space in a household full of family that loves you. He’s been on his own for a long time; nobody likes to lose that.

One thing that had been getting neglected was Dad’s medical care, so I’ve been slowly tackling that. We’ve been getting established with all the necessary doctors up here, but it’s kind of shocking how much effort, energy, and time it all takes.

And then there’s “the portal” – all the doctors want you to create a portal, which I realize is because they are short-staffed there is never anyone to answer the phone at their offices. I manage to fumble through it, but I can’t imagine how older people who are not tech savvy can do this on their own. Scheduling appointments, getting medical records transferred, filling out extensive forms, driving to and from…it’s inexplicably draining. We did the eye doctor the other day and it was nearly three hours from the time we arrived until we left.

So it seems this is life right now. Hold the baby, walk the baby, call the doctor, go to the doctor, wait at the doctor, walk the baby at the doctor, eat, sleep, repeat. Obviously there is much more that fills out my days – homeschooling and horses and chickens and cooking and cleaning – but it all gets worked in around the baby and the appointments.

I guess the main thing is that it’s all okay. There have certainly been times in my life when I’ve been more able to focus on things I enjoy, like my artwork or making healthy meals. But as my friend Casey says, life is like juggling. You can only keep a certain number of balls in the air at the same time, and you’re always dropping one or more. It’s just a matter of which ones are in the air and which ones you put down. Right now, the most important things are being attended to, and that’s good enough for me.

Progress Report

Well, faithful readers, I am now over 35 weeks pregnant, and this one has been different. With the girls, I was so sick that all I did was sleep, throw up, and try not to throw up. Mercifully, those months are mainly a blur in my memory. This time, I’ve been sick, but still functional in short bursts. Meaning, I actually have some awareness of what’s going on around me and inside me; time to think, worry, enjoy, marvel, and fret. I’d love to say that this time I can appreciate what a miracle it all is, but the truth is that it’s just plain weird to me. This baby moves all the time, and so fast that I constantly think of that song, “Everybody was kung fu fighting…” Watching my belly change shape, jump around, and convulse on its own is not something I can get used to. But we’re in the homestretch now, and I know that pregnancy lasts exactly as long as it’s supposed to – long enough to ensure you’re good and ready to move on to the next phase, even with its challenges.

Despite my lack of energy and mental acuity, we seem to be going through a whirlwind of change and activity. About 6 weeks ago, we got Dad moved in with us and sold his house in Florida. We’re all adjusting to the new dynamic, knowing that it will change again as soon as the baby makes his appearance. We also got 4 young hens to replace the ones we’ve lost over the years, and the girls are spending lots of time making sure they get more attention than they probably ever wanted.

I took a beginner gardening course online, and we created a container garden on our back deck. We’re harvesting tons of lettuce and hopefully the tomatoes aren’t far behind. This is something I’ve intended to do every spring, but we’ve never managed it until this year.

Both girls just finished their annual testing that’s required for homeschoolers in North Carolina. Miranda has developed a passion for bees, and she’s been spending time learning from a local beekeeper friend before we attempt to set up our own hives. Evelyn wants to ride more, and is asking when she’ll get her own horse.

We have six horses here right now, with several others wanting to come in. Steven’s property management business is barreling along, with many more building projects since he got his contractor’s license. He gets home pretty late in the evening, then we work horses and feed, and we don’t end up eating dinner until 9 o’ clock. That’s the summer season here. Ultimately, if we didn’t love it, we wouldn’t do it. At least, that’s what we tell each other when we’re wondering why we persevere with this crazy lifestyle.

And then, for me, there’s the laundry. And did I mention the sweeping and dusting and toilet scrubbing and grocery shopping? Trying to make sure everyone is fed all day long even when I’m almost too nauseous to keep anything down myself? The allergies and stomach bugs everyone keeps getting? Trying to make sure my dad has everything he needs to feel welcome and at home here? Taking on the management of his finances and worrying I will screw it up big time?

So life is steamrolling ahead, and somehow I’m still a part of it – doing, going, responding, and participating, even though all I can truly think is, “the baby…the baby…” But life needs me; the kids and Steven and Dad and the horses and dogs all need me, and I have to engage. In my mind I’m wrestling with the same questions all day and all night: what will labor and delivery be like this time? Will everything go okay? What kind of baby will he be? What kind of person will he turn into? What do I do with a boy? But I think the thing I wonder about most is if anything will ever feel normal again.

Parts of my life are exactly what I’d hoped for: a wonderful husband and kids, a successful career with horses, a beautiful farm. But these latest developments – my father needing to move in with us at the same time I discover I’m pregnant at 41 with a third surprise baby – are not even in the realm of anything I’d anticipated. “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails,” Prov. 19:21. Some days I wake up super queasy; other days I just wake up a nervous wreck. How can I possibly manage to…what if…how will I ever…there’s no way I can…but I pray. I read the Bible, I drag myself out of bed, fight my awkward potato shape to put on clothes, and then I put one foot in front of the other and begin. The next thing I know, the day is gone and it’s dark, we haven’t eaten dinner and I’m lying down on the cold tile of the kitchen floor because I can’t stand up anymore but I NEED everyone to come make their plates, and…the list of things that have actually gotten done is actually pretty long. I’ve survived, and the baby has had another day to grow and develop. My dad is lost in a book, blissfully unaware of how late it is; the kids are trying to get the chickens back in their coop for the night and fighting off the rooster with a broom, old sneakers, or whatever else they can find in the yard; and Steven has gotten so totally absorbed in repairing his Johnny Mnemonic pinball machine that he doesn’t care if he ever eats. They are all happy in their various occupations, so I will eventually crawl over to the refrigerator and stuff something in my mouth that doesn’t require any preparation – a piece of Swiss, or a pickle or some cold noodles. And I will realize that in the midst of the chaos, I’m pretty happy, too.

If I could just get somebody to come make me a decent meal.