With Will’s birth, I didn’t expect much to change, other than adding more love to our home. While his addition has provided proof of our capability to love more than one child, it hasn’t come without its challenges. I went back to work at the end of September, only to be in and out of the classroom regularly for a never-ending series of appointments – pediatrician, neurologist, orthotist, physical therapist, urologist, ECI, chiropractor, the list goes on. The stress of adding a second child who wasn’t exactly developing typically was overwhelming to say the least. I was constantly riddled with guilt — I wasn’t fulfilling my children’s needs, and I definitely wasn’t giving my students what they needed.
When Will got RSV in late November, it became increasingly obvious that we were going to need to make some changes. I requested to use the remaining 5 weeks of my FMLA leave when we returned from Christmas break, with the intention of focusing on Will’s developmental delays, and returning to my job with a better understanding of his needs, and a clear mind. Obviously, the plans that we make, and the plan that is made for us don’t necessarily always coincide, and after Will spent 14 days in the hospital with respiratory issues (and is still struggling), it was fairly clear that after a decade in the classroom, I wasn’t going to be going back to work.
So, that’s where we are. Obviously the circumstances surrounding my being home aren’t even close to ideal, but, I definitely feel like I’m where I need to be. Due to Will’s fragile respiratory system we have kept Caroline out of school for the last month (she returned part time, today – hallelujah!), so, entertaining a four year old, while taking care of a sick infant has been one of the more challenging parts of all of this. While Tate and I have the maturity and wherewithal to digest our current situation, I do feel for Caroline. Her whole world has been upended, and she has definitely had to adapt to our “new normal”. I’m hopeful that she understands how much she is loved, because I know I haven’t exactly been patient with her, and my expectations for her behavior and needs have been somewhat unfair at times.
The last seven months have definitely been difficult for our family — a seemingly endless rollercoaster of emotions and obstacles to overcome, but, I’m working hard to see it as a blessing as well. I feel extremely fortunate for this time with Will and Caroline — I know that once Caroline starts kindergarten, time is going to pass quickly, so, while occasionally stressful, I am soaking up these moments — and working to make them more meaningful. The obvious financial burden of losing a large portion of our household income has given us the opportunity to reevaluate our budget, and become more creative and resourceful with what we do have. I think I’ve cooked more in the last month or so than I had in the last year, which has also provided additional quality family time at the dinner table. And while I probably won’t always feel this way, there were a couple of times in the last two years when we considered moving into a bigger home, so, I am grateful that for one reason or another we decided to remain in the home I financed solely on my teacher’s salary, even if at times it feels like it is busting at the seams.
We’ve definitely experienced a lot of change, and each day is a new and different challenge, however, it has given me more confidence in our marriage, and has increased my faith exponentially. So, as one chapter ends, another begins, and I am hopeful for what it will bring for our family, and the opportunities that it will provide…and hopefully some more advanced cooking skills, too 🙂