The craziness of the move and move-in was eased when my Mommy arrived on the 9th. I cannot express to you the joyful anticipation with which I awaited her arrival. I felt like once she got here everything would just get easier. And you know what? It did. We still had a lot of stuff to get out of the townhouse, and my intention had been to turn in the keys the next day. But it just wasn't happening. And I was EXHAUSTED. And cranky. (I know. Imagine that.) Everyone was telling me to take it easy. To not push so hard. To stop with the moving already and let everyone else finish up the job. The problem with this is that I am a little bit freaky over letting go of control. Okay. Perhaps more than "a little bit." A lot bit, okay? A REALLY REALLY LOT BIT. So I pushed and pushed - pushed myself, pushed my family - to get everything finished by this arbitrary, self-imposed deadline. I was probably driving everyone crazy but if there's one thing I've finally learned about myself through this process is that Being In Control = My Crack. Seriously. I'm addicted and I need to stop it. I didn't realize this, of course, until I was talking to Shelby and sharing with her a bit of my frustration over "everyone" not following my commands. Perhaps I mentioned that I have a hard time not being in control. And, just perhaps, Shelby's response was a knowing "I KNOW you do."
Hmmm. Now that can get a girl thinking. When your best friend confirms something that you really just said jokingly, and does so with that tone in her voice that tells you that this just might be One Of Those Things. (You know what I'm talking about. One of Those Things that you need to work on about yourself.) You'd better do it. Blast. But! I heard it in her voice and it finally clicked! I finally understood - I had done ENOUGH. It was okay to ask everyone else to do the rest. So I did! And that was, by far, the most freeing moment of the entire experience. Simply lovely. I let go. I never went back to that townhouse. I gave Tim all of the keys and I erased it from my brain. Simply lovely.
Now I tell you all that simply to say that, even having let go of the entire experience, the night before I went in to the hospital I was still beyond exhausted. I had been hoping that my last day as a mom of two would be relaxing. That I would have time to just prepare myself - mentally, physically, emotionally. Perhaps I'd actually pack my hospital bag. Maybe I'd get a few things in order at home. I could have a leisurely meal with my family. I could talk to some friends. I could write out some instructions for my mom and sister-in-law who would be doing the bulk of the babysitting.
Uh, yeah. Right.
At this point I don't remember what filled up that day. But I remember that it was busy. I remember that the Little People were very VERY needy. I remember that my mom was buzzing around here like a bee getting things put away (we were deep in the midst of kitchen set-up that week) and while that was helpful, I've learned that what I really needed her to do was to help me by taking the boys so that I could handle my own stuff. (This is a post for another time, but the whole experience really did teach me that when someone is helping you, it really is okay to clearly articulate what YOU need...rather than just being grateful that they're helping at all. AND I actually did get to the point where I did it. AND!!! It works. Imagine that.) I remember that Tim was busy working, knowing that he, too, was going to be out of commission for the next few days. I remember that the phone was ringing OFF THE HOOK. Friends and family members checking in, wishing me good luck, assuring me of their prayers.
By the time dinner, bath and bedtime were upon us, I was DONE. And, yet, "done" wasn't an option. I still hadn't packed. I still hadn't made my lists, which was particularly troubling because I KNEW that my mom and sister-in-law were kind of hanging out waiting for some instruction from me that I hadn't been able to provide for them. Hadn't even been able to THINK about. And unfortunately, having the baby STILL felt like just another item on the To Do List.
I think we had finally gotten Christopher to sleep, or at least snuggled in with my mom, when my dear college roommate called from Toronto to check in. As soon as I saw her name on the caller ID the tears started to flow. I cried because I was exhausted. I cried because I was frustrated. I cried because I was nervous. But most of all, I cried because I knew that she knew EXACTLY what I was going through. (She has four girls of her own....and she didn't get the luxury of scheduling a labor-free c-section at the end of all of her pregnancy exhaustion.) As always, she calmed me, encouraged me, and made me laugh. My closest girlfriends always seem to call at the perfect time. How is that?
By the time I hung up the phone, my little Jake was asleep on my bed next to me. It was, by far, the easiest bedtime he'd had since we moved in. (I should have talked to all of my girlfriends that week - boy would it have spared me some bedtime frustration!) Although I was calmed, the stress and the drama of the overall day continued well into the night. It was a challenging and frustrating day to the very minute that I fell asleep. And, just as it was the night before Jake's birth, I laid in my bed in joyful anticipation of meeting my new son coupled with the recognition that I'd be leaving my two big boys behind and when I returned life would never be the same for us. We'd never be our little family of four again and there were going to be some big transitions to deal with.
And! Most of all? I lay there PRAISING GOD for the fact that, for the next four days I would not be responsible for a single thing in the whole wide world. And THAT, my friends, helped me to sleep veeerrrryyy soundly.
**Next Time: Clearly The San Francisco 49ers Are More Important Than My Baby.**