The End of Mat Leave

Sitting by the window, I watch Blake as he sets off in the boat. The bow cuts through the glassy water as the engine putters. The long evening light pushes its way over the tree tops and scatters its purple hues over the placid lake. I watch him pull around the point and disappear. Silence, except for the crooning sparrows. It is a perfect summer evening and my heart feels full. As the last few days of my maternity leave melt away into sunscreen-covered faces and tiny sand-encrusted toes, I am keenly aware of the significance of this time in my life. I likely will never have four months of uninterrupted time with my children. Although I am incredibly saddened by this thought, I feel overwhelmingly satiated with happiness.

Of course, let’s not kid ourselves here, my four-month maternity leave has not been a walk in the park and trust me, there aren’t cartoon butterflies and hearts buzzing around my head all day and night, but there are evenings like this that unfold before me and truly make me stop and take stock of all of my blessings. I know that I have many.

I have a husband who is by far the best Dad I know. Blake is infinitely patient with Henry, more so than I am. My heart melts when I catch Blake telling Henry that he loves him and I know they have a special bond together that will continue to grow each day. Every morning, Blake takes Henry out biking, and unlike other caregivers in our unfortunate generation, he isn’t staring into a screen while our son bikes. Blake gets on his bike too, builds Henry jumps and endlessly encourages him as they zoom about. Blake feeds Henry, changes all of his diapers, bathes him, goofs around with him and snuggles on the couch when they watch the Jays. They are truly two peas in a pod.

Having children is hard on any relationship, let alone having children 16 months apart. The sleep deprivation, the crying, the mess. Your patience wears thin and often the partnership with your spouse bears the brunt of the abuse. I’ll be completely honest, there have been times over the past 20 months where I felt like I could actually murder Blake. Times where we couldn’t even be in the same room with each other. Our marriage is certainly far from perfect, but when I count my blessings, our partnership is definitely one of them. We have worked very hard on our relationship and I know that I would not have survived these past four months without Blake.

Blake and Henry, holding hands, exploring Ruby Island

Now, I know I am biased, but I’m pretty sure I have the most amazing kids šŸ™‚ Henry is a riot and endlessly keeps us entertained. He hardly ever stops moving and is always on the go. The other night, I was nursing Alice and Blake had gotten Henry all ready for bed. We were all winding down for the evening except for Henry who was running all over the place, doing spins, jumps, etc. with his curls bouncing all over the place. He is pure joy. The best is when, out of the blue, Henry will decide to give out some hugs and kisses. He ‘hugs’ by gently touching his head to yours and ‘kisses’ by saying, ‘Muah!’ while pressing a slobbery, open mouth to your face. I love watching him giving Ada hugs and kisses as he chases her around the house – it’s hard to kiss a moving target! Henry also shares his love by giving high-fives and fist ‘pounds’ which he loves to do to Baby Alice. It kills me every time that he grabs her chubby little hand and ‘pounds it’ with her! So cute!

Alice, by contrast, has turned into a very, very chill and happy baby. She is content to sit in her chair and watch the world go by. She greets me each morning with the biggest smile that lights up her entire face. She is a mover too and is quite strong. She’s been rolling since 5 weeks old! Alice, however, is a sensitive soul and often will cry if she hears Henry wailing (the opposite is not true!). She doesn’t like loud noises and her adorable face will crumple if she is startled by Henry’s antics. That being said, she is one tough cookie and takes lots of ‘tough love’ from Henry!

Finally, as I count the blessings in our home, I can’t leave out our devoted pup, Ada. I swore our dog would never become neglected after kids, but poor Ada often is the scapegoat of my frustrations and doesn’t nearly get as many walks as pre-kids. Don’t worry though, her life is pretty awesome and she spends hours a day playing in the water and running around the yard. She is never far from my side, especially when the kids are around. We also knew that she would be a fantastic family dog and she hasn’t disappointed. Henry pulls her fur, her ears, her tail, sits on her and generally annoys her. She has never been aggressive and often takes much ‘abuse’ without a peep.

Henry and Ada at the beach

As I close this blog entry, I want to hold onto this feeling of happiness and love for when I come home from 12hour days, the house is a mess and I’m tired and stressed. I want to always feel thankful for all of my blessings including the many still to come!

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