We’ve been watching the Ken Burns Roosevelt documentary and, as I nursed and marched Oren through fussy time tonight, I was struck by Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote: you must do the thing you think you cannot do.
She said it in reference to visiting soldiers suffering from ptsd in a mental institution. But it resonated with me as I paused between travel trips with a newborn and two other young children. Coming home from St. Louis was the hardest thing I’ve done for a long time. There were many times throughout that journey where I thought I could not continue.
It’s important that I mention that Corey was in charge of Felix during the flight, where he learned the hard way that out middle boy gets motion sick. Corey spent an hour crammed in a plane covered in his kiddo’s vomit and then spent a long time on the jetway waiting for out gate checked bag so he could put on a non-vomit shirt.
Amdist all that I was in charge of Miles and Oren both, as well as the stroller thing, a car seat, a back pack, and a rolly bag. When Oren began to sob, I thought I could not pause to feed him, not right there so close to the car with four other starving family members. I also thought I couldn’t continue struggling through the airport listening to him cry.
And so I did a thing I thought I could not do. I held all 12.5 wiggling pounds of him with one arm and nursed while I walked, pulling the rolly bag with a car seat lashed to it with the other hand, pushing the strolder along with my hips, and verbally directing Miles along the way. We made it the long, long walk to the minivan and we all finally loaded up and drove within .8 miles of our house.
We could not make it any further, but we could stop in a parking lot while Corey nabbed a pizza and I put Frozen on the DVD player and nursed a baby again, catching his poop in my bare hands as I then changed his diaper too slowly and the other children cried for water.
I did all of those hard things. Then we made it home and I put the kids to bed and the hardness of it all faded quickly to the background. I did laundry and ate chocolate and drank wine and actually had a nice night with Corey watching Boardwalk Empire.
I can feel it happening to me, this thing I thought I could not do. I can feel myself slowly becoming capable of parenting three children all at the same time.