My first fall and winter home with baby Elle and two-year-old Maya was intense. The demands of two young kids combined with my relative newness to the community of at-home parents in the area meant we rarely left the house.
I thought the rhythm of those days defined my new little family.
Now I know better how a family as young as ours can change dramatically from year to year, even moment to moment. I'm eagerly watching the fall routines set in, waiting to get a feel for what this moment's family will look like.
Last year when I was constantly worried about forgetting Maya at kindergarten pick-up in the middle of the day, I frequently longed for the days when I could run the kids to the zoo or the children's museum without being confined to a clock. Basically, I longed for the previous year.
Now, I'm looking forward to new freedom during the day, but because Maya doesn't get off the bus until nearly 4, I'm missing her company more than I expected. Of course, when I had that exact sentiment a couple of days ago, the nurse called from school a moment later, and Maya chatted my ear off all day while the four of us ran around town getting a diagnosis, drugs, and groceries... that moment's family was a bit harried.
I've learned to appreciate and respond to the needs and demands of the moment, even when they include unexpected detours (when do they not!) and with Max in the mix, this year will be unlike any other.