My baby is 6 months old! Nearly 7, now, and seeing the way that he has settled into this family is a joy that I can't even articulate correctly. It's as though he were meant to be in our family all along, even before he was a light-blue "+" sign on my bathroom counter, he was somehow supposed to be part of our family and no one else would have fit the way he does. There was a Maddox-shaped void in our family that was unrecognizable and unnoticed until he came and filled it. He's quick to laugh, always bright-eyed, patient, determined, constantly moving, working on two little teeth, and trying to sit up. He has enormous chubby thighs and the most perfect little toes I've ever seen--in fact, the nurse who did his footprints in the hospital took 20 photo-copies and shoved them in my bag, making me promise to distribute them to everyone because she too thought they were perfect.
The Martin family reunion was also a first camping trip for this little family, and I'd call it a success. I'm certain Elias thought he'd found heaven. Outside all day, every day, for four days. Little boy perfection. That is until we tried to bathe him in a shower stall. Mistake. Won't happen again. I kept waiting for authorities to bang on the door, demanding the tortured screams be explained. Overall it was wonderful getting to know extended family and introducing the boys to canoe rides, sleeping outside, campfire time and cousins. Elias is still calling most kids he meets "cousin!" and I was regretful to wash the campfire smell out of our belongings when we returned. A close to one of our first family-of-four memories before saying goodbye to Logan for 18 long days.
I'm writing from somewhere in the middle of Logan's east-coast tour and have nothing of substance to say about that, except that it's hard. It's hard to see how Elias misses his Daddy and it's hard making the life-shift that's required when he's on such a lengthy trip. Both myself and my boys (mostly Elias for now) have to mentally move into another way of doing life--the single-parent way where days are a series of carefully crafted schedules to reduce the amount of stress in our home. The nap-time dance, the feeding-time dance, the bath-time dance--trying to meet the unique individual needs of each of my kids at the same time. Every day that I do it alone I wonder in amazement how true full-time single-parents do it. How do they go a lifetime without a partner in the most difficult job I know? I'm thankful for the support system I have in friends and family...without them I would be reduced to a puddle of nerves in the wake of my little ones' demands and my children would be even worse for wear. So for now, each day is a new day and we just keep moving and wishing the time would pass at lightning speed rather than tortoise speed as it often seems to do when one is waiting. Waiting to hear Elias' belly laugh as he wrestles with Daddy in the other room, waiting to hear Logan over the baby monitor in the morning, meaning I'm granted some extra sleep, waiting for this space in my bed to be warm again, waiting for a yummy meal off the grill, waiting for a decompression partner at the end of the day. Waiting for my partner. I'm so proud of the music he makes and the people's lives he touches, but mostly, tonight, I just want him back!
So, to those of you who are sleeping next to your loved-one tonight, enjoy! To those who are single-parents: you're my hero, keep up the good, tough, endearing, important work that you do. And to those who are missing someone or watching the sand in an hour glass for some other reason, won't you please share your time-passing secrets with me?