Monday, April 21, 2008
it takes three
We're loving that spring is here at last! Even if it is a little inconsistent, it's still usually warm enough to hit the beach or take a stroll down the boardwalk while eating a popsicle.
Is there such a thing as a perfect season? I don't know, but I think if there was this may be it. Ever since moving to the beach almost four years ago (yikes! has it been that long?) I have been determined to spend just one summer soaking up the sun daily, taking nature walks down the pier or the rock jetties, or hitting the waves. That was before I decided to have another baby. And another. Something about hitting the beach with a newborn (how do I always manage to time it like that?) that isn't quite what I had envisioned for myself when we moved here.
So this is it. The summer I've been waiting for. Even though Piper is only 14 months, it's amazing the difference a big brother and big sister can make. We were at the beach a couple of days ago and I saw a young couple tag-teaming to keep up with their toddler, who I learned was 15 months. They were having a blast, but definitely far from relaxing! It reminded me of our first summer here when Rye was a toddler, constantly chasing him across the sand, constantly entertaining him, trying to find just a moment to lie in the sun and take a breath. The young couple kept glancing at us, me on my beach towel, spread out in all my Mama-glory, and the three kids spread out around me, digging, building, occasionally dashing into the water. When the toddler boy made his way over to play with Piper, his parents asked how I did it, how did I keep the kids all in one place, how do I keep the baby from running amok, how do I seem to be having a moment to myself?
It really dawned on me in that moment. I don't do it at all. The kids do. I think this is one of the benefits to have more children, and I'm noticing it more and more as they grow. They regulate each other, keep tabs on each other, and pretty much just find their siblings to be so much fun that they want to hang out together, even Piper. Why would she want to run down the beach when she has Rye, the one-man-sand-shoveling-castle-demolishing show? And Apple, the little Mama, always waiting with a cracker in hand for the baby, or to "help" with the sunscreen?
I know there are trade-offs for everything in life. Richard and I often wonder (although can never clearly picture) what our lives would be like if we just had Rye, or had waited several years between children. Yes, in some respects I'm sure there are a lot of things that would be easier. I'm also sure I wouldn't get the same looks from strangers as I take my brood on an outing to the market, or a doctor's appointment. I pretty much can't go anywhere without one person remarking, "wow, you have your hands full". But, oh, the sweet trade offs. I don't think I'd trade "easier" for the way my son yells "PIPES!" each morning to greet his baby sister, or the sweet way they are all working on birthday gifts so diligently for each other (makes no difference that it's only Apple's birthday, she's decided the siblings need gifts too.)
So, yes. My hands are full. I knew that getting into this. What I didn't know was that my house would be so full of laughter, my heart so full of joy. I look around at my sweet babes, and know this is just how it is supposed to be. And 80 degree weather doesn't hurt either.