Hate to bust out one of my favorite redneck-isms on you, but there’s no other way to say it — it’s been hotter’n dammit lately. And whenever it’s hotter’n dammit, our upstairs gets a bit toasty. And the triplets had a tough time falling asleep last night thanks to all that toastiness. And, perhaps, to a bit of sassiness as well. Which meant that Caroline and I made countless trips up the stairs to tend to them on the very night that, as misfortune would have it, we finally crashed from the adrenaline high that Grand Finale’s arrival had temporarily provided us.
The extra-taxing witching hour was only compounded by the fact that Caroline and I would be up virtually all night taking care of our littlest one, a fact we both pondered as we sat across the room from one another exchanging blank stares, our bundle of joy sleeping in between us on the ottoman. After a couple of minutes, Caroline broke our exhausted silence.
“We spent all that time waiting for GoDot to arrive, and it turns out that this is what we’ve been waiting for,” she said with a general sweep of her arm.
“This?” I asked, making a sweeping gesture of my own.
“Yes. This. Overheated toddler trainwrecks, a nine-year-old holed up in our room because hers is too hot, and you and I staring at each other in total silence wondering what to do. This.”
It reminded me of an exchange I had earlier in the day with a friend of mine who was asking me the typical questions one might ask of a new father. “So you survived, huh?”
“Yep, I sure did.”
“And everyone’s doing okay?”
“Everyone’s doing great,” I responded politely thinking that would be the end of it.
“How ’bout the triplets?”
“They’re doing just fine.”
“Are they used to Grand Finale?”
Are they used to Grand Finale?
I didn’t know how to answer that one. I mean, I’m not even used to Grand Finale yet. So how can anyone expect three pint-sized toddlers who actually think his God-given name is Baby Osborne to be used to him by now? No. No. They’re totally not used to him. I mean, sometimes they’re used to him, I suppose. The times that they’re great with him. But other times they’re not, as evidenced by the garden-variety regression they’ve exhibited — regression that I’m quite certain can be found in the very first chapter of every single Psyche 101 book ever written.
I politely explained to my friend that while the birth was an event, the acclimation is a process. For all of us. After all, our family may have been changing its mentality for nine long months, but in the mere blink of an eye this past Thursday, we changed our number, our very appearance. And in so doing, our dynamic. And our roles. So to a certain extent, we’re going back to the drawing board and tweaking the formula that had been working so well for us in hopes of finding a new one that will work better for who we’re becoming.
Which means we’re trying. In fact, we’re more than trying. We’ve made some great strides in these first few days as we’ve begun to try on our new roles.
But no matter how comfy we may look in those roles…
we’re not there yet. None of us. Least of all, the tiny trio, a fact which likely exacerbated our witching-hour difficulties.
Human beings tend to think in such binary terms. It’s either black or it’s white. Things are going well or they’re not. Are you winning or losing? My friend’s questions sprang from such binary thinking. And so did Caroline’s “this is what we’ve been waiting for?” comment.
Things are seldom that cut and dried, especially things like this. Because this isn’t what we’ve been waiting for. This isn’t it. Not by a long shot. It never stops to be categorized as this. It continues to become. This is only the beginning of our new life as a family of seven. And while that beginning may have seemed particularly daunting last night, Caroline and I still have faith that all will be a-okay in the long run. So, as tempting as it might be, no need to get all worked up, I suppose.
Besides, Grand Finale doesn’t seem to be all that worried about it.
So we probably shouldn’t be either. Even if we can’t answer all of life’s little questions with a simple yes or no.