only for a moment, an empty row of seats

I wrote the following post last Monday, planning to post it Tuesday, unbeknownst that childbirth was in the day's forecast. I sat down to post an update tonight but have decided to post this instead. Mainly because I'm exhausted to the point of delirium (we live thirty-minutes from the hospital and I've been driving back and forth for the last three days because I can't not be with my babies, hello) but also because, with the girls still in the NICU, this post is just as relevant as it was a week ago. Except instead of waiting for my babies to be born, I'm waiting for them to come home.

***

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Last Wednesday was Archer's first day of first grade and our first time as parents packing two lunch boxes and backpacks and seeing off both children together. (Fable started preschool three months ago.) They stood by the door with their backpacks until it was time for us to go.

Hal loaded them into the back seat of the van one by one, seemingly a million miles away from us, two giant empty seats of separation.
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"Hello back there!" we waved.

"Hello up there!" they waved back.

We dropped off Archer first, walked him to his room and then waved through the window... so different from Kindergarten when all the parents huddled with their cameras in the back of the class. Dropped Fable off next. Kissed her goodbye.

The house was empty when we got home and when Hal left for work, it was just me at home alone.

Lovely to have quiet, I thought. Quiet, glorious quiet! And then, after a few moments... Quiet! Too quiet! Painfully quiet! Stop the quiet!

Nothing feels more empty than a house at the end of summer when the children have gone off with their backpacks to school.

"Enjoy it while it lasts, Bec, because pretty soon..."
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"...An endless summer."

GGC

30 comments:

Molly | 12:21 AM

Shew girl, what a journey! This time next week you'll have your babies home and forever that quiet big-bellied moment at your patio door will resound in your memory. The before ...
You're doing so well. Strength & light.

eggdipdip | 12:46 AM

What Molly said :-)

Keeping going girl, you're doing great.

Salli | 12:48 AM

Wow. Just, wow.
You are as always, amazing.
Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful, wonderful adventure with us!!
Sal xx

Ray | 1:47 AM

Love that last photo. Can't believe your precious baby girls are now with us. Time stands still for only a second. And then it zooms by, forever altering life. In this situation: Two simultaneous journey's from womb to earth. Amazing. Awe-struck. It's crazy how time flies by and how fast kids grow. Can't believe Fable is a pre-schooler! And Archer's the most kick ass first-grader, ever. My four-year-old (on Wednesday) cousin Alyssa, and four-year-old cousin Aiden started school this year. It's bittersweet.

If only they could stay little forever.

Dana | 3:18 AM

Oh, my heart is breaking for you. When my oldest was born, she was whisked right away and rushed to a better hospital and spent 10 days in the NICU there. We spent every day there, nearly all day. We'd come home for dinner then my husband would go back at night. It was 45 minutes away. I often think about that now that we have four kids. How on earth do you manage the hospital when you have babies at home who need you too? I'm so sorry you're being tugged like this. Luckily you have a strong network of dear friends and family to help you spread the love so no one feels left out. Let them love you too, Mama. You need it.

Anonymous | 4:36 AM

Beautifully written as always. What an amazing journey for your family of six. Thinking of you all. Take care.
- Jo in NZ

Sarah | 4:43 AM

Wow, your belly was like a house! I'm sure it's hard to have your babies away from you but, take this time to try and get sleep!!! I hope you can have 4 or 5 restfull nights so that you can get rested up for Bo and Rev as I'm sure they will be home soon!

vertigob | 4:57 AM

I remember that kind of tired. I am sorry they didn't come home with you. I can't imagine how hard that must be.

My children are the same ages as Archer and Fable. I am at loose ends when they are gone.

You are doing a beautiful job.

Maya | 5:20 AM

We went from four to six this summer too. It's an incredible thing, the hardest, most rewarding, amazing thing I've ever done.
But yes, that tired. It's a tired you never knew was possible.
And holding onto those "moments" of stillness is so important. They are so fleeting.
I've enjoyed following your journey. The NICU is so hard but it will be only a memory soon.
Wishing you the best.

SUPAHMAMA! | 6:55 AM

Amazing how appropriate your post is both before and after the birth of your sweet babies. So many milestones in just a few weeks. Hang in there! ((Insert cat hanging from a limb picture.))

Kristina | 7:05 AM

Oh Sarah...unfortunately it's not that easy to sleep when your child is across town sleeping in a platic box. I know....it totally seems like one should get some sleep when their child is in a hospital being cared by others, but trust me.....all you want in the whole world is to be the one caring for them. And until that happens....there is no sleep. Good luck GGC...this IS the hardest time in your life....but just wait....THE best day will be when they come home! > says the Mama of a premmie who spent 31 days in the NICU.

Kristyn | 7:54 AM

It was way too quiet around our house when the girls went to school. I tried to take it for a good few years, but.......my 2.5 year old boy is calling me from the other room. I had a quarter of my cup of tea and 10 minutes on the internet this morning and I guess that's it for now....I wouldn't have it any other way. Hold tight..you are doing so well... they'll be where they belong soon and you'll be wishing to finish your tea, but I know you wouldn't have it any other way either. Thanks for the reminder.

marlene | 8:17 AM

thanks for blogging during this hectic and beautiful time in your life. i look forward to each and every post :)

molly | 8:34 AM

I just came to check on you! I really really hope Bo and Rev can come home soon.

My best friend had twin boys in Jan and they were in the NICU for 12 days. I swear I didn't know how to help her but I wanted to.

So here I am saying I wish I could help. I want to. Maybe my comment will help in some small way just so you know I'm thinking of you during this hectic and hurtful time.

Blessed With a Boy | 8:39 AM

I guess you got what you asked for. You will have two beautiful babies to keep you company when the kids are off to school.

So sorry to hear the girls are still in the NICU. Praying they will be home safe and sound where they belong soon.

Anonymous | 8:40 AM

we're all sending lots of love and good wishes!

Casey | 11:20 AM

I had two older kids when my third was born and had to spend nine days in the NICU. We spent all day with her and then went back every three hours during the night to breastfeed. I was so exhausted I couldn't have told you what day it was. That fact that you're still writing at all during all of this is a testament to how kick ass you are.

Stay strong.

Anonymous | 11:39 AM

I've been neglecting blog reading and soooo.....WOW, stuffs been happening!! Congratulations to all of you. One looks like Mama and one like Dada...how nice.

Molly | 12:22 PM

Checking constantly on the girls' progress and sending you all warmth and good thoughts. This must be such a heart-wrenching time for you! May compassion from all over the globe via the internet surround you until your family of six is safe and sound together at last.

JodiG | 12:51 PM

Congratulations! What beautiful baby girls! Beautiful writing as always - Thank you

Jordanna Fraiberg | 1:00 PM

I'm sitting at Insomnia catching up on your blog and moved to tears. Your family is absolutely beautiful and I love how you capture the wonder of Archer and Fable meeting their new sisters. Magic. I hope you're feeling good and look forward to reading more...(and to seeing you back at Insomnia one of these days/months!)
Congratulations!!!!

Glenda | 1:05 PM

Beautifully written as always.

Your beautiful girls R&B are a week old today.

I'm praying that soon they will be reunited with their beautiful family and the 6 of you can bond and enjoy this journey of life!

Magdalena Edwards | 1:40 PM

I hope the girls can home from the NICU together as soon as possible - you certainly don't want one home and one there if it can be avoided. But you are in the thick of it and know that you have next to no control over NICU things. Ugh. I feel you. And the nurses are probably saying, "go home, rest while you can, rest before you take them home." And you say, "what?? how can I rest without my Bo & my Rev who are supposed to be sleeping on top of me and cuddling with me and talking to me all day and all night, how can I rest with my family divided?" It will pass. It is awful, but it will pass. I don't know what else to say. Lots of love, and thrilled you have such an amazing family and support network, and that you yourself are so strong. You are getting through this! xox

Red Stethoscope | 2:38 PM

Haha...the universe heard you and decided to end your boredom STAT!

The Lindsey Family | 2:44 PM

What a lovely post. The quiet is eery, yes?

As for R&B, they will join you soon. I had twins almost five years ago, and we had NICU stays of 11 and 17 days. It was the longest 17 days of my life, and I cannot even begin to imagine how parents cope with longer hospitalizations. I chose to think of those 17 days as a continuation of the pregnancy, as time they needed to become the thriving, booming children that I knew they would be (and are!). Hang in there. It was tough (emotionally, logistically, etc.), but thinking of the separation in those terms helped me a little.

Hang in there. You, Hal, Archer and Fable have done an AWESOME job over the last 8+ months. Hang in!

Cindy | 7:16 PM

I was born at seven and half months. I spent the first three months of my life in the hospital. When my mom talks about that time, she always puts an emphasis on the exhausting part, the traveling back and forth, the hours of worry. I know it was hard for her. I know it is hard for you. It will get better. Those babies will be home soon. And what an exiting first day of school for big brother and big sister?!

Anonymous | 7:46 PM

I love this post because I bet right after you wrote it, you went into LABOR!!!! I can't wait to hear the whole birth story!!!! Hoping those babies get to come home soon. Much love, Missy

Still Life With Coffee | 10:20 PM

lovely that you posted this now and yay for Archer. 1st grade is a wonderful wonderful time!!

Kait | 10:22 AM

We're currently in Uganda (week six of what we thought would be four but is looking like at least twelve) to adopt two little boys. For a few days before we left I installed our son's carseats just to get the full effect of a vehicle full of kids. It was wonderfully overwhelming. Soon you'll be home with your babies and have your own vehicle full of small humans. Can't wait for your girls to be coming home!

Anonymous | 5:42 PM

Can you get Fable into her 5 pt harness without moving the second row car seats? I knew a couple sets of parents who couldn't, so they ended up putting the babies in the third row, and opening the trunk to put the seats into the third row.

They're beautiful, and so fraternal! It'll be interesting to see what they look like!