Matt Went Away for 4 Days, and We Survived!

I had been dreading last week ever since I found out that Matt would need to be traveling to the Baltimore and Washington DC area in connection with a show he was curating out there. He doesn’t travel much, and I never particularly enjoy him being gone, but it felt particularly intense for him to be gone right now, with Atticus still so little.

He had to be there for a couple days, but then he also asked if it would be alright for him to stay for an extra day or two to take advantage of the myriad of museums out there, and I agreed – it would be so sad for him to be so close but unable to enjoy all of the great art and culture in the area, plus my dad and brother live out there, so he’d be able to spend a bit of time with them. I knew it was a great opportunity for him, but still – I was dreading it.

But we survived! We did school…

031

…sometimes in fairy wings 🙂

033

Along with some friends from church, we took a tour of a local fire station!

045

My friend Rebecca joined us there and at our house for a couple days, which was such a blessing.

039

She held Atticus, engaged with the girls, did dishes, provided adult conversation for me, and was just generally helpful and encouraging. One of the biggest challenges for me when Matt goes out of town is just feeling alone, and it was so nice to have Rebecca there with me!

And my friend Liz came over with her two little boys one morning to play and hang out and chat.

And then my mom came for the weekend, which was so, so nice!

071

We’re all always thrilled when Grandma comes for a visit 🙂

102

I didn’t get tons of quality time with her – evenings were more like, “Okay, the girls are in bed and I’ve fed Atticus; can you keep him so I can take a shower?” than, “Let’s sit down and enjoy our ice cream and have leisurely conversations.” But still, it was good to see her 🙂

And pretty much before we knew it, Matt was home! Phew!

There were a few rough patches. Dinner was pretty late on the one evening we didn’t have anyone here with us. I didn’t get as much sleep as usual – Atticus is usually a great night-time sleeper, but he had a couple nights that were rougher than normal, but even those weren’t too bad. There were times I struggled to be patient and kind while feeling pretty worn out. But ultimately, we survived! I know there are parents in military families and single moms who do this all day every day, and to them, I tip my hat – because as a mom of 3 kiddos under 5, one of whom is just barely 2 months old, just making it through 4 days of life without my husband (and with lots of help) felt like quite a triumph!

Visits from Family

Most often when people ask how we are adjusting to life as a family of five, my thoughts jump immediately to my “to do” lists and how well I’m keeping up with them – and as an afterthought I consider our hearts, how we are loving each other and taking care of ourselves. Really we’re doing pretty well on both fronts, but I definitely need continual reminders to address the latter. And so today, as the girls are upstairs enjoying their rest time and Atticus is sleeping beside me (because this boy is a snugglebug – why sleep in a bassinet when you could have full body contact with your mama?), I open this page to write. Writing, even if not profound, reminds me that I still have a self that is distinct from care-giver-for-the-littles – while that occupies most of my time and I truly believe that it is my calling and I love it, it does not make up the entirety of me. I enjoy these few moments I can grab from time to time to write…and writing also reminds me of what we have celebrated and for what we are thankful.

One of the things for which I am thankful that I haven’t yet shared here is our December visits from our NY family. Matt’s younger sister Stacey flew out for a long weekend about a week and a half after Atticus was born, and Matt’s mom joined us for a few days after Christmas.

They, of course, were quite willing to spend some time holding our little guy 🙂

002

And that truly is helpful! With 2 other kiddos for whom to care and a household to run, I certainly didn’t mind other people spending some time snuggling with and getting to know the newest member of our family!

The girls also got in some great quality time with both their aunt and their grandma, which was a blessing for them and also for Matt and me. Since they live over 1,000 miles away, we don’t get to see our NY family very often. We still want our kiddos to have good relationships with them, though, so it really was wonderful to have some of them here and spending so much time with our kids.

018

photo 1

And of course it was great for Matt and me to get to see his mom and sister, too! We so appreciate the fact that we can keep up with far-away family through Facebook and phone calls and texts, but there’s so much ground you can cover in a few days together that the sporadic long-distance interactions don’t provide. It was so nice to have some time to get more caught up on each other’s lives! And we hope to make it out to New York this summer to have the opportunity to re-connect with the entire New York side of the family and introduce Atticus to them!