Thursday, October 16, 2014


Today is Bobby's first day back to the office after nearly two weeks at home for paternity leave. And, I'm sad that he isn't here.

Not because I'll have less help with dishes and housework. (Though that's certainly true, and his help in those areas over the past couple of weeks has been substantial. He's amazing, and I'm grateful.)

Not because I won't be able to rest so easily mid-afternoon.

Not because I'll be on my own with two little girls during the day.

I'm bummed because this is the end of what has been two incredibly refreshing weeks at home as a family.

"Refreshing" is hardly what I envisioned when I pictured our first couple of weeks with a newborn. I imagined being in "survival mode", needing Bobby to deliver coffee to me each morning (which, admittedly, he has done quite regularly) just to keep me functional. And yet, this time was quite the opposite. Sure, we've been tired, but this time at home was more about enjoyment & togetherness & rejuvenation than mere survival.

Bobby's time off-work was shorter when Emerson was born, and between fewer days at home and the unfamiliarity of being new parents and the mental weariness that was a different experience. Beautiful and uniquely wonderful as we learned about parenthood! But, different. Those days were certainly precious, but they weren't what I would call "refreshing".

This time, besides the benefit of having sweet Emerson to entertain us, I think we both came into the experience with far more realistic expectations. Going in, we understood the reality of lack of sleep, and that spending the night in the nursery recliner is part of the game. (Which hasn't made being away from the flannel sheets in our bed easier, necessarily, but we haven't been shocked by the exhaustion that comes from many poor nights of sleep.) Our parenting roles are more clearly defined, and we are working better as a team. Bobby is more confident with a newborn this time around, and I think he better understands the reality that Brennan primarily needs me (read: my milk) in these early days. He's been able to focus his energy and attention on Emerson, and they have truly connected during this time. Daily "adventures" out and about together, and that night spent at home together while I was at the hospital, have been especially huge bonding experiences for the two of them. It's a big (beautiful) deal!

Bobby said it well when he expressed to my dad that, as much as we (really, really) enjoy our summer vacations and getaways, there's something to be said for having had this time at home, doing very little other than just enjoying the company of one another. I suppose that's where the idea of "stay-cations" came from. (Although, I don't know that that concept is necessarily appealing to us. Even if we were to stay home during vacation time, I think we'd be liable to want to DO things, out and about, and make it a "productive" time.) But, being at home with a newborn, whom we very much want to avoid exposing to germs unnecessarily, somewhat forced us to just home & still & together & rested. This was a time unlike any other that we've had as a family, and it was nothing short of refreshing.

Weekends are wonderful, but they are, as we all know, far too short. There are, more often than not, chores & errands & things to do that don't allow for much in the way of rest, much less uninterrupted family time.

So, the obvious answer to continue to enjoy these periods of rest is to have another baby right away so we can regularly have weeks of FMLA paid time together.

Kidding. (Sorry, Mom.)

In all seriousness, though, I do believe we'll be making a more conscious effort in the months ahead to be intentional about Bobby taking time-off on a regular basis, for the sole purpose of family togetherness.

We need to make it happen. It's absolutely worth it.

Bobby, I'm so grateful for the past two weeks. You are a rock, for me and for our girls. 
So much of Emerson's positive adjustment is a credit to your efforts and time with her. 
You are an incredible daddy; these girls don't yet know how blessed they are, but their mom does. 
I will treasure these precious days we've spent at home as a new family of four. 
Thank you for helping to make this time so special, and for loving us...for loving well. 
Your THREE girls love you so very much! xoxo

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