“Was this how you planned your life would be?” The question is posed to me in a moment that parenting is easier than most. Our almost 3 & 4.5 year old are playing wonderfully. Our newborn is wrapped tight, on my chest. She is currently satiated, which will be short-lived. I take another sip of hot coffee while pondering if I really ever had visions for my life, rather taking it as it comes.
My husband and I—the couple who once lived in South Africa for 6 months for work and frequently traveled internationally—now regularly connect over simpler moments and feats. We find ourselves enveloped with pitter-patters, loud laughter, tears over which fork was given, and bathroom messes. Lack of sleep has torn me away from any semblance of routine, or even brain capacity. We have started over with a third child and are in tough times that people who have bid farewell to this phase forget about, telling us to cherish every moment of this.
As I look around my modest but well-decorated living room and take another sip, savoring the warmth of the vessel in my hands, I think about how we measure love and success now.
Since the birth of our third child, he hands me a plate of food and coffee every morning. He thanks me for being so attentive and patient with our baby. He kisses my forehead and gently massages my unbrushed hair. He takes primary care of our older energetic kids. He brings me water when I sit down to nurse and asks if I need anything else. He listens to my occasional moments of tears, anxiety, and lament that come hand-in-hand with being a new mother.
This is all temporary, and soon enough I’ll measure his love in other ways, as we adapt to new phases.
But as of now, I can truly say that even if I never saw my life to be this way in this moment, I’m so glad it is.