We are a family of five. Many times over the past six weeks, Zach and I look at each other with awe and say, “How are we old enough to have three kids?!” It sounds so. very. adult. Three kids. In some ways it hasn’t sunk in. In other ways, it feels just right. I am still getting used to counting to three, instead of two. At times I’ll have a moment of panic that I forgot one (around our house), even though all three are in the room with me.
I love this little family. Even in the crazy moments, it just feels like an enormous gift to have this family created right around me. 10 years ago, this didn’t exist. Zach and I were the start, and these little people have added an exponential amount of joy to our life. Since Theo came right in the middle of the holidays, it kept hitting us over and over – this is our family now. Even more than the families we grew up in, these are the little people we get to shepherd and teach and protect. Maybe it is because we just finished the last season of Parenthood on Netflix, but there is this scene in the last episode when the Braverman family is taking pictures at a wedding and the grandparents are looking on. It’s as if they are taking in the family that grew up before their eyes. I feel that way when I watch my grandma at our family’s gatherings. There are 45 people that are pulled together into a family, thanks to her. It’s incredibly tender to watch the beginning of this for Zach and I. Man, I love them so much it aches.
When Theo was one week old, our friend Amanda came to take some photos for us. She blew me away when she sent these over. In general, the first month is really, really hard work. This time it was hard in a new way, as we tried to re-establish normal routines for Evelyn and Thomas, manage the expectations of the holidays, and the combination of postpartum hormones with lack of sleep. But that all disappears when I look at these photos. We made it. We had a ton of help from loved ones. We had a unique Christmas that we will remember every year from now on. I get to share this parenting job with my favorite person in the whole world. And it was 1,000 times worth the struggle.
++ photos by our dear friend, Amanda Elpers. I will treasure them forever. My kids love Amanda, and even though I feel like a hot, sweaty mess at the end of newborn photos, she somehow manages to capture each child perfectly and make me look calm and pulled together. She has a serious gift.