This is the version of my family that includes me in the photos
I had read all the blog posts about having three children and was aware of the challenges from the beginning, but I was still caught off guard by how impossible it would feel to handle life with any sort of gracefulness. I was under the assumption that we would be fine since we had already embraced a lesser version of our expectations after the chaos of having two children. We were already rarely showering, we already considered cheese, chips, and olives a full meal, and I already left the house a mess knowing it was a complete waste of time to clean anything. Certainly we could handle having three children in the same mediocre fashion that was working for having two kids, or so I thought until I realized a whole new level of keeping it together was going to be necessary to just get through our days unscathed.
Roland was such an easy baby, the transition to three kids was made almost too easy at first. But then he started to crawl, and walk, and climb and I was forced to be constantly vigilant at the same time Winnie started expressing her delayed feelings of jealousy. Of course this all coincided with the time Charlotte was experiencing that thing that happens to kids as they are about to turn 6 (a time aptly known in Waldorf circles as the “first puberty”). Daily meltdowns by us all had me frantically waving a white flag and muttering either “namaste,” or “Lord have mercy,” not so under my breath to avoid screaming profanities throughout the day (if I could manage it at all). My mantra was (still is), “I can handle this without screaming or swearing,” often merely an aspiration.
These fast-paced, blurry, often rage-inducing days are my new normal, and being in it is equal parts exhausting and exhilarating. The struggles are real, but I know it goes fast. In one breath, I’m dreaming of the day a few years from now when they will be older and it will all be easier, and in the next breath I am dying to hit the pause button to have time to take this season in and appreciate it for what it is. In many ways, that’s what these images are for me, a way to press pause to see it and feel it at a time when the pace and emotional demands of the daily routine make it nearly impossible otherwise. When I look at these images, I don’t forget about the craziness of this year, I don’t forget about the times where everyone is crying (myself included), but I feel ok about it because these moments exist on the other side of those experiences. When I look at these pictures, I get to see that who I am for my kids is enough. I see the way I smile at my kids, I see the way I make them laugh, and I see how much love I give them all day long. I feel like a good mom, and we all deserve to feel like good moms.
So, here we are in April of 2018. My final baby is turning one and we are coming up on our 10th year of being married. It’s all very ordinary, but I couldn’t have imagined a better way for it to have all turned out. I love seeing how tired and happy we are and how crazy and bizarre our kids are. This is the bittersweet end of the season of having babies for us. Anda, the way you see us is a gift to me. It’s a gift that grounds me in the present and shows me just how beautiful and good our life together is. I can’t even imagine what these images will mean to me in 10 years. Thank you.