the kids are alright

When Ethan was a newborn (and I was totally spoiled by my husband having six weeks paid paternity leave, but that's beside the point), I would stay up until 2 in the morning making sure he was breathing and watching That '70's Show reruns. My husband would turn in early and then, at 2, pick up where I left off and finish monitoring Ethan's breathing until morning. Ethan and I had our nightly routine down pact then. It was always the same: after his midnight feeding, I would give him a massage with his Earth Mama Angel Baby lotion and swaddle him in a Miracle Blanket for bed. I can still smell that vanilla-orange scent of the lotion deep within my being and I can still feel the delirious levels of exhaustion that swirled around me as That '70's Show played boisterously in the background. My fingers were dry from washing bottles in scalding hot water, my mind desperate for rest -- and to just make sure, just one more time, that the rise and fall of his chest was there.

Four and a half years later and Carmen just finished her midnight feeding. That '70's Show reruns play quietly in the background as to not wake up Ethan who will be up with the sun regardless of how late I stay up ensuring Carmen is breathing. My fingers are dried and peeling from sterilizing bottles alongside the hum of the washer where I've been prepping cloth diapers all evening. The room smells like chamomile from Carmen's Shea Moisture lotion and she, wrapped snugly in her Miracle Blanket, is softly sleeping in her bassinet.

There are so many similarities and yet there is this vast divide where time and life tore through everything, whipping across my perfectly planned life and hurling the pieces back to the ground with anger. Most days I feel like I'm still trying to pick up the pieces, but Carmen is holding us all together pretty impressively. She is the glue we knew we were lacking and sought so desperately and, yet, couldn't prepare ourselves for how well she is able to piece us back together again.

The delirious levels of exhaustion permeate through every bone in my body, every muscle tired and desperate for sleep, for laundry to be finished, for floors to be steamed and Legos to make their way to the corresponding bins.

May I never take a single moment of any of it for granted.

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