I’ve heard it said that God, the universe, or whatever you find to be greater than yourself will not give you more than you can handle. If this is true, the world was on point when it brought Finn into my life. I imagine members of the Baby Selection Committee reviewing my case and concluding, “They aren’t up for a challenge – a bit run down, getting older. We need to go easy on them. Let’s ship out the 3.0 Easy Boy model.”
They did. On August 21st, our shipment arrived.
And now, we’ve blinked and suddenly two months with Finn have gone by. We’ve been caught up in all the regular baby tasks – changing diapers, late night feedings, spit up trails snaking down our clothing, etc. But more importantly, we have been rocking and snuggling and loving our sweet boy.
Recently, Finn has started smiling. Broad grins stretch across his chubby cheeks, relaying his delight in those around him. As he guzzles his bottle, his toes curl tightly beneath striped socks and two clenched fists rest snugly against his chest. Steel blue eyes watch me closely. A thin layer of dirt has already collected under his fingernails. No amount of scrubbing or soaking in the bath will release the black debris. Oh well. He’s the third child, you know, and we don’t have time to worry about that. He kicks his legs back and forth when he gets excited and is mostly content to sit and watch the chaos around him. He embraces his brothers’ affectionate and sometimes overzealous head patting. Soft downy hair stands upright and the tip of each ear is pinched at the top like an Elf’s.
Clearly, he is amazing.
But us? Not so much. We look uncoordinated at any task we attempt. I’ve resorted to drinking coffee out of a Pyrex measuring cup. I’ve recently locked both Finn and my car keys inside the van. Twice, the battery to the van died and left me in a pinch with two small kids. A week ago, the van key fell out of my pocket while running on the trail in front of Parkway Brewing Company. The key has still not been recovered. Jackson has worn his shirt backwards to school and nobody’s hair is combed before they leave the house. In a nutshell, we are mess. We have never been this uncoordinated, this unorganized, this unprepared. We have also never been this happy.
I often think back to that day last December when I stood in a hallway of my endocrinologist’s office expecting to be cleared to take a tracer dose of radioactive iodine, but instead was told I was pregnant. For the next 36 weeks I carried a bit of fear with me. There was fear about what Finn may have been exposed to from shots I’d been given in preparation for the radioactive iodine. There was fear that postpartum would drive me back to depression, fear that I couldn’t do what was being asked of me. There was so much fear that I had a difficult time getting excited about this pregnancy.
For nine months, I was waiting for a storm to come. It never arrived. I exhale in relief, knowing that I missed a big one, that I got lucky. Finn is well, and so am I.
By day, I am a mother. We dash around each morning getting a kindergartener out he door and onto the bus by 7:15. I take a four-year-old to and from preschool a few times a week and feed and diaper and snuggle my tiniest. But in the space between and with a lot of help from a lot of people, I am also a hiker, a runner, a substitute teacher, a beer drinker, an adventurer, and a writer. All of these identities add significant value to my days.
By night, you can find me in the gray rocker in our living room holding the sweetest little bundle of love. Finn figets and squirms in my arms as sleep prepares to overtake him. I sneak a paci in his tiny mouth and he sucks on it a time or two before he spits it out. We rock back and forth, back and forth. I try the paci again.
Eventually, I pull the side lever so that the chair reclines. Finn lays against my chest with the paci now anchored between his lips while soft snores rattle from his tiny nostrils. Sleep has won the battle. His hair tickles my chin and I wrap my arms around his tiny warm body. I breathe in his baby smell and feel absolutely certain that he is the best gift I never asked for.
I’m not the only one who feels this way. Jackson sits on the floor and shows Finn pictures from his Pokemon book. “Here’s Pikachu,” he explains, “and this one is Bulbasaur.” He brings toys to him from the baby basket and often makes a request to hold his little brother.
And Parker. Oh my word. He is the most loving big brother imaginable. Apparently there is a magnet that draws Parker’s hand to Finn’s head all day long. If you’re not sure where Parker is, there is a 99 percent chance he is patting, rubbing or kissing the top of Finn’s head. He also loves to sing him original songs. His shoulders sway and his hand pats (sort of) gently while he sings, “I love my little Finny Finn. I love my little Finny Finn.”
Jamie, too, is enamored with our little guy. He snuggles and feeds him and rocks him on the front porch. It seems that love is bursting at the seams these days.
Thank you, oh thank you, Baby Selection Committee. You knew far better than us how much we were in need of sweet baby Finn. Our hearts are now filled to the brim.