“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Two are better than one.
Whether it be displayed through a partnership in marriage, a friendship, a second child, or most importantly, a glass of wine- the good Lord KNOWS what we need. In fact, I would argue that two is almost always better than one. Except when we’re talking about what we’d rather be scrubbing out of our tub on all fours post toddler bath… then it’s definitely not two. Two is never better than one in that scenario.
Since my last blog, (which by the way, I’m going to pick back up like a crazy ex and pretend like I haven’t totally ignored you guys for over a year), some pretty huge life changes have taken place. Over the past year I have journeyed through another pregnancy, I have come to healthier terms with my mom bod, and I have found security in my new identity as a stay at home mom. We moved houses and I impulsively gave away our family dog (a story for another time), Barry has turned in his manhood for a minivan, and most recently, I have given birth to the sweetest baby of all time. I am currently coming to you live from the trenches of newborn/toddler survival mode, which has been our dwelling place for the past three months. Some of you might be thinking, “Wow- she’s so incredible. How is she making time to please the masses and write this blog? She really is a super woman.” The answer to that question is… yeah. I am incredible. But also, I have a case of the coffee shakes. I OD’ed on coffee this morning while taking Owen to Mother’s Day Out. I’m literally shaking with energy, and I’d rather write while Wes is napping than do the laundry or dishes. So whatever.
Anyway- let’s get to it. Life with two… an Ode to my sweet, sweet Wesley boy.
Enough time has passed for me to look back at myself as a brand new mother and want a complete do-over. When I think of the crippling fear and anxiety, the stupid decisions, and the intense vulnerability that made me believe that I was doing every single thing wrong, I can’t decide if I want to hug myself or slap myself. I can’t decide if I needed a big dose of grace, or a big dose of Zoloft. I look back at how I not so quietly resented my hardworking husband for being able to go to work and have adult interaction; feeling so jealous that he could feel useful and not used- to have a purpose outside of feeding, burping, changing, repeating. I can remember how his words of affirmation seemed patronizing rather than complimentary because I was struggling so much with accepting my new body. I want to go back so badly and tell myself then, what I know to be true now- but I can’t, and that’s part of both the joy and the sorrow of this season of life. I can’t even warn expectant mothers; which I want to be able to do so badly, but they just have to trek through the mud themselves.
Because I had such a hard time mothering Owen for the first year or so of his life, you can imagine how afraid I was to have another. The second time is way different than the first, because now you know. You know how uncomfortable and sacrificial pregnancy is. You know how fabulous it feels to push a 9 pound baby out of your body, and you know how precious and adorable it is to uncontrollably pee when you sneeze. You know how your heart feels when your child is sick for the first time, and you know how isolating it is to be stuck at home with a new baby. You are way too familiar with the monster that is sleep deprivation, and how it takes a toll on your marriage. But the great news is that because you know- you are now much better equipped to handle it.
Two are better than one.
I’m not saying that Wesley is my “do-over” baby, but I will say that it is completely different, and so much better this time. He is a happier baby because I know now how to foster healthy sleep habits from the beginning. This time, I prioritize feeding my marriage over feeding my child organic, home made purees. I work on speaking life into my toddler rather than speaking down to myself. The second time, I care more about what Jesus thinks and less about what other mothers say, and that, my friends, is a complete game changer.
I can appreciate the baby when the toddler sucks, and the toddler when the baby sucks. On days when Owen is screaming “No like mommy!” over and over in Hobby Lobby and I’m crying to my mom on the phone, I want to love and squeeze and just breathe in sweet, innocent Wesley even more. When Wesley doesn’t do anything but lay and stare, I count down the moments until Owen wakes up so I get to talk to and play with my energetic toddler again. When the baby is crying non-stop for what seems like no reason at all, I thank God for a toddler who can communicate and tell me what’s wrong, and when the toddler is crying because his foot won’t also come off when he takes his shoes off, I thank God for a baby that will sit silently in my arms. They are both constantly reminding me that each phase is as precious as it is fleeting.
They both make me love the other so much that it hurts and drives me crazy at the same time. I am starting to see tiny glimpses of the fruits of my labor in the way that Owen shares with, loves on, and speaks to others. Although I know it’s probably just in his nature, I like to believe that my hard work has helped in making him tender, caring, and super hilarious, and that is what pushes me to give 100% of myself to Wesley as well.
Barry’s papa always told his parents, who told us, that “your first child takes 100% of your energy, and your second child takes 100% of your energy.” You give your children your all, no matter how many children you have. Having two doesn’t mean you are totally dead to yourself, it means what is stripped away is replaced with something much, much better. To love and take care of your children with everything that you have is life-giving, even in the moments that seem life-sucking.
So here’s to you, Wesley Wayne, for making me love my Savior, my husband, my first born, myself, my child-less target runs, and the “occasional” glass of wine more than I could have ever imagined.
Two are better than one.