So here we are, three weeks out from our little Walker Cole making his official debut into our arms. I've been looking forward to these final three weeks for months now, because I know the end is always a little rough and I purposely scheduled some fun things while we wait for these days to pass. It's a little surreal to be in this limbo state, not knowing exactly how everything will unfold but trying to make plans and get ready for the inevitable. We do know his birthday WILL be in June, with a c-section scheduled for the end of the month. I feel like we've been talking and talking and talking about him coming but now we're close. Things are getting real around here!
Two weekends ago we got our beautiful crib out of storage and did what we've done twice before. This time we had two very curious siblings watching everything happen, getting excited at the thought of their little brother joining them and marveling at how a crib is put together. It was big news that day and they were anxious to tell everyone and anyone we ran into that Walker's crib was all set up!
My heart is all over the map right now. I'm anxious about Walker's birth, I'm excited to see him and hold him, I'm conflicted about our days of just the 4 of us coming to an end, and yet I'm thrilled at the thought of these two doting over a baby brother. I remember wondering how I could possibly love Ava AND Carter equally just days before Carter was born, knowing that everyone said you just do, but struggling to know how. Just as many parents who've gone before us know, the minute that little one lets out that cry and makes his/her way to your arms, there is no more wondering. All that you feel and cherish and embrace about your older kids is available for this newest one too. Just like that, the Lord floods your heart with so much joy and the capacity to love them all. I think the hospital is not only where your body gets to recover but also the place where your heart safely expands. I'm not spending too much time worrying about loving little Walker, Carter and Ava. I know God will give me everything they need. But I am feeling a little nostalgic as this chapter comes to a close.
The four of us have had some amazing adventures together over these last 3.5 years. When Carter was born we heard over and over again, "Now you've got the perfect family! One boy and one girl!" While that was fun, it wasn't entirely true. Balanced genders does not make a family perfect, but we did enjoy it! Travis tells people that we're about to go from man-to-man defense to zone defense now and he's right! It's been fun to have one boy and one girl, I'm so used to buying one pink thing and one blue thing, or a princess toy alongside a truck. But I know we will love all that comes with 3 little ones, 2 brothers and a big sister.
I get excited (and tired) thinking about two little boys and their Daddy and all the noise and fun they will make together! I'm so glad God has given Travis the gift of sons, as well as the gift of a daughter. He is such a great Daddy and I love to see him adapt to the needs of both a boy and a girl. His tender side is so well suited for Ava and all her emotions, although it is definitely something I pray he can pass on to Carter and Walker too. His adventure seeking, always moving, never turning down a challege side is already a great delight to Carter and I know Walker will tap right into that too. I love thinking about the "boys trips" and adventures they will have together while Ava and I get to indulge in all things girl! God has been so good to us and has knit our hearts together in these years of raising little ones, I know He will continue to be faithful and to give us everything we need as we get stretched a little more thin and learn to juggle the needs of three.
Being pregnant with two who are beginning to put the pieces together and who are understanding more and more of what this means to gain a sibling has been entertaining and sweet. They are both so eager to help out and to love on Walker. It dawned on them as we were putting the crib together that their little stools would give them the perfect vantage point for seeing inside that big bed.
All of Ava's natural "mothering" instincts are alive and well right now. She can't wait to help me, to hold him, to learn how to change his diapers, to have him sleep close to her room, to sit next to him in the van, and to enjoy being the "princess" of the family! Every day she asks me if this is the day that Walker is coming? The countdown is on now and she continues to take care of me as I slow down each day. She's learning to get things on her own, to figure out things that she's always needed help with and to do anything that I might need. She's still telling me she wants me to "sit down and rest because I have a baby in my tummy" and that she can just ask Daddy to get what she needs. I love her little heart and the way that God is using her two brothers to mold her and shape her too. I know she will be a wonderful big sister again and I really am excited about her help!
Carter is also beginning to embrace the role of a "big brother", something that is totally new to him. Almost daily he realizes something else that he can "show Walker" or teach him and it always makes us smile. Sharing his trucks and his trains and his toys is a big deal when you're 3.5 and I know every time he offers that up he is learning how to show his love too. He's started asking me if having Walker is going to hurt? Trav and I always laugh and say, "Well it's going to hurt Mommy a little bit, but you don't have to worry about that!" He then wants to know if the Doctor will "pinch him out?" which is a reference to me taking him to the doctor so she could get a splinter out of his hand. After she used the tweezers to "pinch it out" that's immediately where his little mind goes when he tries to think about Walker getting out of my tummy! Ha ha! When Ava goes to school this fall I just know it will be a good thing for Carter to have a little brother to distract him. I'll still get some great time with him while the baby is sleeping or just hanging out. His role really changes the most with the addition of Walker and I'm glad I get a little more time to help him transition.
We've got an empty crib, bassinet, car seat and all the other stuff ready for Walker. I keep trying to stay on top of the laundry and the cleaning so that if we need to leave for the hospital I won't come back to a disaster! However with an active family that's never totally possible. Just when I get something all done and ready I remember that we still have to live in this state of limbo and before I know it, it gets undone, again.
I've been letting myself work on Walker's nursery, tweaking it from what we had with Carter and making it unique for his little brother. I love this part of having a baby! I'm on the hunt for some vintage cowboy things to put in here, after all we are naming him WALKER and Carter has already called him Walker Ranger a few times now from all the people mentioning Walker, Texas Ranger! Ha ha! We've got two weeks of activities for Ava and Carter this week and next, and then my Mom comes to help me before my c-section. This is really the only time I've scheduled anything this summer for the kids, I want carefree days after the baby gets here, so I'm embracing the fun with Ava and Carter while also trying to pour in lots of quality time before I'm needed by someone else.
There are so many seasons of life that involve waiting. Sometimes you know what's ahead because you've been there before, other times it's a total walk of faith. In either case I'm so thankful that God is God, and I am able to rest in Him and His plan for me. He knows everything I don't and I can trust Him with all of my ponderings and questions and fears. I want to use this waiting time well and I want to look back on it knowing that we did our best to enjoy the end of this chapter while looking forward to the next! I am ever aware of God's abundant goodness and His faithfulness. He is near to me right now because I am wanting to draw so near to Him. Having babies is an unbelievable privilege and each child is a gift from His hands into our arms. The miracle of that is incomprehensible and amazing! We are excited over here, waiting, nesting, staying busy and trusting the Lord. I can't wait to share the journey of the weeks and months ahead! All is well with baby and with me, keep checking in over here as I will be posting lots of updates and news when it comes! The end is in sight and I am so grateful!!! Not to mention my weary body is SO ready to be out of pain and on the road to recovery too.
Happy Monday friends, I've got two little swimmers to get ready for their first day of lessons this afternoon so I need to run. Enjoy whatever season you are in and all that God has for you in it. The best news about seasons is that they never last forever! They come, they go, they bring change and hopefully eventual fruit too. Cling to the Lord through the ups and downs and know today that He will never let go of you.