two weeks ago, ryan was away for five days -- it was me and the girls flying solo. i went into it with what i thought was an appropriate amount of humility and low expectations -- we'd survive, it wouldn't be pretty, but we'd survive. i had exactly zero goals for the week and yet, somehow it still all went awry. the first night was absurd -- not only was anna up the most in her whole life, my 12 hour a night sleeper ellie was up twice for the first time in i don't know how long (and of course they alternated so i essentially didn't sleep); the spit up laundry piled up, the dishes quickly covered our counters, i couldn't seem to keep either girl from crying, it was too cold for us to go outside, ellie pushed every boundary under the sun, woe, woe, woe.
the day before ryan came home, i told him dramatically, but earnestly, that it had been my worst day of motherhood. i had failed miserably. how on earth was i ever going to do a deployment with these two girls when i couldn't even make it a week? he reminded me of this article; told me he was getting on a plane bound for home; that he was proud of me; that it would all be ok. then i took a long shower, literally praying anna wouldn't wake up - the baby monitor perched on the sink, ready to sound the siren at any moment.
bless her heart, she stayed asleep, and before i crawled into bed, i noticed my camera on top of our dresser. i totally forgot i'd taken some photos of the girls that morning. in our rock bottom expectations, which included never really needing to get out of our pjs, and a cloudy day that let brilliant light come in the windows, i thought i would try to capture life at this moment: anna becoming more a baby, and less a newborn each day, showing us bit of who she is and what makes her tick. i had to document ellie in her beloved "black dress with the robe" (it has a ribbon around the center) that was a hand me down from one of the five year old girls who hangs the moon for ellie and our bike pump, which somehow has become her most favorite toy. the bike pump alternates being anna and elsa and provides literally endless entertainment during quiet time. it wears her dresses, takes a nap in her bed, dances, oh how her mind works! and of course, "bear baby" the only stuffed animal ellie has ever really loved, who i can only assume was having a time out in the corner?! and then that first photograph, where ellie asked me take their picture sleeping (anna didn't get the memo). as i scrolled through them, tears rolled down my cheek -- maybe all wasn't lost, maybe this would all turn out ok. they looked happy and content and well in these photographs, perhaps my day had become a heck of a lot more about me and how i was doing than them. i needed sleep, and the clean slate a new day brings.
p.s. if you're near the end of a pregnancy, this was an incredible comfort to me to read, i now keep it at the ready to send to friends. xo