I wish I had some seed of wisdom to plant within this blog post when it comes to writing about being a new mother of two. I like to feel that I have something good to offer when I share my writing. But truthfully, my husband has worked late, late late laaaaate the last few days, or at least it seems that way. And some days it feels like a struggle to simultaneously meet the needs of a 3 ½ year old and a newborn. And some days, like this one, motherhood feels like a breeze. There is certainly no consistency to it. And therefore, no wisdom or insight can I offer. I would, however, like to talk honestly about how things have been going.
. . .
I was holding my breath the entire month before our baby was born. I kept an eye on those early labor signs like prey watches its predator. Quietly. Hoping, praying for a little more time.
That may seem like a dooming analogy. Least of all for a mother awaiting the arrival of her new son. And I don’t mean for it to sound that way. But those who know me well know how much I love to feel in control of my environment. I knew a baby would throw a wrench in everything we had built for the past 3 ½ years. And I was afraid of all the feelings I would feel when our routine started to unravel.
I was also afraid of the helpless newborn stage. And I was afraid of the loss I would feel when my relationship with my 3-year-old son would have to change.
Labor came and went fast and our new baby son, Jude, was born. In the past 3 weeks, sure enough, every bit of control I had before has, like papery fireflies, slipped through my fingers.
For instance, we have been fed by our neighbors and my mother for nearly every meal. There is no longer predictable sleep for anyone. The dog has been officially kicked out of the house until further notice. And for the love of God, there is still no wine with dinner.
But. In the morning I am usually sitting in our blue rocking chair feeding his little brother when Porter (the 3-year-old) wakes up. Porter choses a place to wake up to the world in his own, slow way. Sometimes he squeezes in the chair with Jude and me. Sometimes he lies down on the quilt drifting around my feet. Sometimes he curls up on the couch alone and I can only see his blonde tuffs of bed head skimming above the armrest. And each morning, at the very moment they are both awake and the day is new, I look at the two of them and the fear is gone. Nothing fell apart like I thought it would. And regardless of routine and control, everything feels right. Like our lives just opened up and stretched to make room for this new little person.
And forgive me for taking the gushy-mom road, but when I pull Porter’s hand-me-down onsies over Jude’s head or roll the too-long sleeves up so I can see his hands, it feels very much like when I used to do it for Porter. It feels like I was doing it for Porter yesterday. And my chest feels small as I am struck by the cycle of life. Baby. Toddler. Mother. All under the roof of our home. Under the sky on a walk while toddler rides his bike and I push a stroller under the shady streets.
Don’t get me wrong. I can sense that this stage of life; life with young children and careers and home-owning and marriage can only get more challenging. That no future decisions, big or small, will be easy for me. But at least today I feel at peace with where we are. Our little house in a small town. Two beautiful, napping boys. A cup of coffee. And time to write to you.
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Seedy Almond Chocolate Squares
This recipe makes for a granola bar that is not so dependent on the oats, but rather, a variety of seeds and grains that make for wholesome crunch and texture. As with many granola and granola bar recipes, these are extremely adaptable. Just keep the proportions of wet and dry ingredients the same.
Yield: 15-18 squares, depending on size
Adapted from: A Sweet Spoonful
- 3/4 cup tahini, almond butter, peanut butter or I like to use a combination thereof.
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, plus more for the pan
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup raw millet
- 1/2 cup raw quinoa
- 1/2 cup spelt flour
- 1 1/2 cups chopped raw almonds
- 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 3/4 cup roughly chopped dark or semi-sweet chocolate
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9×11 inch pan with coconut oil
Mix the nut butter, coconut oil, maple syrup and honey together in a small heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to a low simmer over medium-low heat. Remove from the heat and set aside while you prepare the dry ingredients.
In a large bowl, mix together the oats, millet, quinoa, oat flour, almonds, sunflower seeds, chocolate, salt and cinnamon.
Pour the warm syrup mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well. If using chocolate, be prepared for it to melt! Press the mixture into the prepared pan using the back of a rubber spatula. Bake the bars until the edges are just turning golden brown, about 28-32 minutes (the bars will feel a bit soft to the touch at this point which is ok; they firm up as they cool). Let them cool completely in pan before slicing, about 2 hours.
Once cool, slice into squares. Wrap the bars in plastic wrap for easy snacking or store, covered, at room temperature for up to 5 days. You can also freeze them.