Before baby #4 came along, I was sure I’d struggle with “going back to square one” in the child-rearing game. Turns out, I’m thrilled to be back in the newborn stage and can’t imagine life without a Thatcher.
This has been a summer of saying ‘no’ to a lot of things in order to say the important ‘yes’ to my baby and our family. It has felt small, quiet, slow, ordinary.
Facebook and Instagram were my windows to the world as I watched friends and families off on various adventures. I sometimes longed to spread my sails for distant ports. But this summer, friends came to us.
So many faces greeted me at my front door with hot meals, baby clothes, cleaning supplies, and coffee. My friend Debbie came over one day a week all summer to help cook, clean, care for the kids, hold the baby, or babysit while I ran errands. Her selfless service made the transition to four kids a lot easier!
A different kind of adventure met me right where I live. The adventure of slow days.
Routines of Bible instruction and prayer became precious as the kids knelt at the ottoman to pray for Grammy’s recovery from a stroke or Great Uncle Tim’s fight with dementia.
Read-aloud lunches found the kids eating at the kitchen island while I read Treasures of the Snow from my green velvet desk chair. We worked past the whining phase and into the joy of seeing kids take responsibility for chores–making beds, watering the garden, feeding Marvin (the gecko). Most afternoons, I’d call the kids inside from the cul-de-sac to sit at the dining room table and do “homework.” The boys would work on handwriting, math, or art, while Brynn traced numbers and crafted.
Toys that hadn’t been played with for months (or forever) were pulled out and explored.
The Holy Spirit was pruning the gnarly branches in my heart as I ran to Him for help with loving others, parenting wisely, fighting postpartum OCD, riding the waves of hormonal highs and lows, finding my identity in Christ, and embracing my dependence on Him.
Stephen and I celebrated our 13th anniversary with a quiet, lovely dinner at Imbrie Hall, and we made time to review our personal and family goals for the coming school year.
The slow pace of nursing, diaper changes, and baby cuddles is a treasure in itself, but the smallness of the newborn stage also gave us a summer that felt restful and primed for the fall activity whirlwind.