Friday, October 2, 2009

Reflections and Reactions

Our transition to life as a family of five has been, by and large, smooth and successful. For better or for worse, life goes on for everyone when babies are born into families of school age and busy toddler age siblings. My mom and Aidan made dozens of "baby cookies" to decorate and take in to share with classmates, and Leo even got to take some to share with his Kindermusik class. The proverbial other shoe could drop at any moment, but I have to say, this has been the easiest transition by far; there's nothing quite as shocking, life-upheaving as bringing home your firstborn child; with number two, I wondered if my life would ever be the same; by number three, I think I know that life is simply three times as good. Are there moments when I want to tear my hair out? Of course. Do I break down in sobs at the tiniest thing? Absolutely. But I recognize how smoothly this transition is going, and I feel supremely lucky, and happy, seeing my three gorgeous and healthy children.

When Aidan met Leo for the first time at the hospital on the day he was born, I will never forget his first action toward his brother. Unprompted, unrehearsed, never even discussed, Aidan took Leo's tiny hand in his own and said, "Peace be with you." It was touching and beautiful. I was curious to see what, if anything, Aidan would do this time around. When Pax arrived home, the older brothers gathered around as I rocked a sleeping Pax. Quietly, Aidan reached over to Pax's forehead and made the sign of the cross on his head. He quickly glanced up at me, but I didn't quite know what to say. Aidan asked, "Did you see what I did? I put a cross on his head." "Yes, Aidan, I saw that. What a wonderful thing for you to do for Pax." Aidan responded, "I put a cross on his head because Pax has not been to church yet, and he does not know Jesus, so I put a cross on his head." It was so tender, raw, authentic. I was deeply moved. Children continue to astound me in their depth and their compassion, their love and their honesty.

In contrast to his serious brother, Leo was not quite as sold on the new sibling - although he has adjusted far better than I could have ever hoped for! On day 3 of Pax's life, I was nursing Pax when Leo came downstairs from his nap. Jeff and Aidan were out, and Leo was clearly annoyed that there were no free arms to snuggle him. As I made room next to me to tuck him by my side, he took out his pacifier and said, in no uncertain terms, "I want you put he back in your belly!!!" It just doesn't get more articulate than that, coming from the mouth and heart of a 2 1/2 year old brother. Lucky for all of us (especially me!) Leo has seemed to have abandoned this idea.

When my own words fail me, I turn to what has been better said by others. I was browsing the StoryPeople website by artist Brian Andreas, and this print's verse spoke to me today-

"He laid on my chest and his breathing filled me almost to beyond what I could hold."

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