A Year With Four

Siegfried turned 1 in June. It says a lot about the business of life with four, just to admit that I started this post on his birthday…. and am just now finishing and posting it! He is jolly and active and already has a sense of humor–which is a very good thing, considering his siblings. As his personality emerges, I can see shades of the relationships forming with his siblings in their daily interactions. He tussles on the floor with Klaus, is read to and charmed by Sophia, and plays chasing games with Eva all around the living room. He’s an easy-going, easy to please little guy, but his smile when I walk in the room lights up my life.

It takes the first 6 months to a year with a new baby to hit our stride. Most of the first year ends up being a rollercoaster–some of the very best moments of our lives, some of the lowest, raw struggles. This time was no different. It was one of the best years of my life. It was one of the hardest years of my life. Going from three to four kids was tough for me. It felt like all three of the older kids hit a new developmental battleground at the same time, and then there was a new baby with the much more basic but vital and frequent needs of feeding and sleep. On top of that, for the first 4 months after Sieg was born, Josh was still working nights, so all of our living schedules were slightly off kilter.

It was hard, but I think we learned a lot, and in the end, I think we’re back to a good equilibrium for now. The funny thing is that not all that much as changed, when it comes down to it. We still have four kids with four different sets of needs, still have plenty of different demands on our time, plenty of housework, plenty of personal goals, but I think we’ve gotten better at managing it all in a sustainable way.

All that to say, I get weepy looking at the newborn pictures of Sieg from last year. It doesn’t seem possible that it’s been a year, or only a year. My heart just melts looking at those pictures of us being a family of six for the first time. All the sparkling eyes, and wondering smiles, and the memory of that soft, warm, brand-new baby lying in my arms. He still lies snugly in my arms, but his legs spill off my lap and over half the couch now. I’m missing the new-baby he was, but absolutely loving the baby-toddler he is now.

I’m so thankful for this year, and for the ever changing ebb and flow of motherhood. The hard days don’t last forever. There will be different hard days, but the shape life begins to take on is one of continual progress and change. We have our rough draft–now we’re writing in the scenes, constantly revising, editing, tweaking, occasionally overhauling, as we go through this life.