A new season has begun, welcomed by the perfect little man who recently joined our family. The sounds of birds drift into my window as I snuggle my sweet bundle of joy. Change is in the air. It is uplifting and invigorating to bask in the sunshine at the precipice of our new adventure. Finally, we have broken free from the desires and demands of the mainstream. For as long as I can remember, my days were governed by the expectations placed on me, as a responsible member of society. But as of right now, I am free for the next few months. This time is mine. I can spend it with my family, fully focused on nurturing them and experiencing new things together. Also, I have time to implement the changes necessary to achieve our plan for a more meaningful and rewarding life.
I can’t help it. I’m completely smitten with my youngest child, let’s call him Trey for now (as the third child). Thankfully, it was a routine and fairly quick delivery, although the epidural could have worked a little better. My water broke at 5:30 a.m. and he was born around 1:00 in the afternoon. At first sight of him, my thoughts were overcome by feelings of joy and love. Then, I found myself surprised that he didn’t look like his brother or sister. It seems that I was expecting a carbon copy of one of the other children. I have started to notice a good amount of similarities between him and Goofball, but he definitely is a unique little character already. I completely forgot about adorable newborn sounds and the intoxicating smell of a new baby, both of which cause my senses to overflow with adoration. It is simply amazing to feel my limits of my heart expand with each new addition to the family.
I’ve found myself full of light and joy following the birth to this child. After Tornado was born, I felt rushed and anxious, counting off each day left of maternity leave and dreading my return to work. I can only surmise that I don’t feel that way this time because my leave is longer and I’ve developed an exit strategy for the future. The return from maternity leave no longer represents an indefinite sentence of work detail into the distant future. Admittedly, some of the decreased anxiety must be because this is the third time we’re parenting a newborn. Our experience with the other two has given us a sense of what to expect. We’re no longer nervous about every little thing or writing up lists of questions for each doctor’s appointment. The overall effect is that I’m able to fully enjoy this opportunity to bond as a family . . . and it’s wonderful.
While we’re thankful to be spending quality time relaxing together, we have plans to capitalize on these months as well. I have lesson plans for Goofball and Tornado. He will be working on writing, reading, and math. She will be focused on colors, numbers, letters, and potty training. And whenever possible . . . I will be building our dream life. There are the side hustles: running videos on my phone or clicking on links while breastfeeding. I will hopefully engage the children in gardening to save money on food. At night (assuming all three kids sleep at some point), I will blog and write my e-book. Finally, I have a couple of career-related projects that would be helpful to achieving my goal of part-time, flexible employment in the future. We are making good progress in paying off our debt, so despite the focus on family, we cannot forget our goals or relax in our efforts to get ahead.
I’m extremely fortunate to have this time (and a full paycheck for a considerable amount of it). While there are big plans to be productive, I’m also enjoying the quiet moments. Perhaps I’m being overly ambitious, but my priorities are in the right place. With Goofball, I wasted quite a bit of time while he slept – as newborns often do – watching television or browsing silly things on the internet. We have big plans now, plans that require me to use free time as more than a passive consumer. Every little bit we can do brings us closer to new freedom in the future. Of course, these efforts cannot be allowed to take precedence over heavenly moments of enjoying a little boy curled up on my chest, softly sighing, while I inhale his sweet scent.