The waiting is the hardest part

 

Patience has never been my virtue. My life experiences to date have been a reminder of this. One of those lessons that I have to keep learning over and over again - despite the fact that when I look back, I can see that all of the amazing things in my life today were delivered not when I wanted or expected them, but when the timing was right. So, it should really come as no surprise to me that during the final weeks waiting for my daughter to arrive, I fell into my default mode of impatience.

I realize that I have a set of expectations, based on my last birth, that this baby should also come two weeks early, and the labor should be half the time it was last time, so 2.5 hours. Given those expectations, I have plans and back-up plans to get our kids cared for, and me to the hospital quickly so I don’t deliver the baby in the car. (Note: I have even packed towels in the car in case this is a scenario that we are presented with.) My husband and I have prepped the nursery, I even took time off work before the birth this time around (because I was insane not to do that last time.) I have basically created the ideal conditions for our little girl to arrive (on MY schedule) and so I expected her to come during that time. And while I know how ridiculous this sounds, and how things like this never go as planned, I was really bummed (and slightly annoyed) that she didn't arrive last weekend.

And what’s worse – two weeks ago we were on a family vacation in wine country and the whole time I was wishing and willing her to stay put and not come early, so as to not cut our vacation short. But the moment we get home, I’m asking her to kick things into gear and be born already! A lot of demands to put onto a little one before they are born, I’m ashamed to admit…

So, I am having to do a major internal, mindset reset this week as I enter Week 39 of my pregnancy. I need to move from impatience and frustration to acceptance and trust. I need to let go and let this girl arrive on her own timeline. And even as I write this now, I’m not there yet, but writing it and putting it out there makes me feel a bit more accountable for actually embracing this new perspective.

And I must admit, in shifting my outlook this past week, I’ve seen some great benefits.

For starters, I’ve gotten some amazing time with my son – my first baby who is about to be a big brother and who can sense something is up but not sure what to make of it all. I have been able to get some really special mommy/son time with him, without the distractions of work, and help him move through this transition. So I am soaking up every snuggle, kiss and silly antic and relishing in these moments with him.

My husband and I have also been able to capture some quality time for us too, even grabbing an impromptu little date night. We so appreciate and value this time to connect, as we know the demands of a newborn, plus 3 other kids will make it harder for us to get that time, so we are taking advantage and savoring those moments now.

I’ve also been able to get some time for me – something that is hard to do with a toddler, two step-kids, and a full-time job. During this first week of maternity leave, I have been able to take care of myself, my body, and get some time alone to think, reflect, write and connect with my unborn daughter. I know that me time is something that is so rare when you are caring for a newborn and a toddler

So despite my aching back, subtly contracting belly and raging heartburn, I’m trying to take in the all of the gifts that this extra time has to offer. And while I do that, I have the chorus of Tom Petty’s song The Waiting playing in the back of my head…

The waiting is the hardest part

Every day you see one more card

You take it on faith, you take it to the heart

The waiting is the hardest part

A love letter to the father of my children

This year Father’s Day has been a huge reminder of how crazy in love I am with you -  and how much it has grown since having children together.

Unlike most women, I got to “test drive” your parental skills, since you already had two small children when we started dating. So when we knew that things were serious with us, I paid close attention to how you parented, and I loved what I saw.

Then, when our son was born, it was like a set of explosions went off in my heart. The first from the birth of our sweet little guy, and the second from seeing the man I love in totally new, and amazing light.

Seeing you hold our sleeping baby in your arms, has to be one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. When our son was born, you may recall me tearing on several occasions while watching you hold our tiny little being in your arms. There was something so vulnerable and sweet, yet so strong and protective.

While I always knew you cared a lot about being a dad, I got to experience it more deeply when we had children together. Being a great husband and father is hugely important to you. And you don't just care about doing the big things well, you pay close attention to the little, subtle things that mean so much. You know they are watching, learning and absorbing everything we do, and you want to provide a healthy example for them so they can grow into thriving adults. I notice kids – ours and others – feel at peace with you and trust you, almost immediately.

You’ve also made me a better mother. You handle so many things with grace and ease, and during those first few months of parenting, when everything was new and scary and wrought with self-doubt, you helped me trust in myself, my instincts and helped me build my confidence as a new mother. Even today, I still feel like I’m taking copious mental notes on what you do, and how you do it, so I can absorb as much as I can and continue to up my parenting game.

Finally, you’re giving our kids an example of how to be a truly supportive partner, who loves unconditionally and who also challenges me to be at my best, while embracing me when I’m not. I feel so deeply cherished and adored by you, and I know it leaves an impression on our kids - one that I hope will help them navigate their own relationships and sense of self-worth in a healthy way because they have this example to look to.

For these things, and many many more, I’m so grateful that you are the father of my children. So on this day, thank you and I love you so much.