This week my parents, who have been living with us for the past 6 weeks, left for their new homeland of Australia. They, of course, wanted to be here for the birth of Benjamin, but my mom also wanted to stay for 4 weeks after the birth, to help out with Colin and Caleb and the housework, allowing me to concentrate on Benjamin and myself. (When Benjamin came nearly two weeks early, we scored an extra 2 weeks postpartum!) Our home doesn't have a guest room or a pull-out couch, and they were such good sports about crashing on the two mattresses from the bunk beds, laid out on the living room floor.
I have been getting so many comments about how good I look so few weeks after having a baby, and I contribute it all to the amazing help I received from my parents, and James (who took the month of January off). Many people have commented about how "lucky" I am to have had such help. It made me a little sad. That is such a "North-American" attitude to have. In many countries and cultures around the world, it would be the norm for a family to swoop in and devote such care to a new mom. But in this, our land of "independence", we seem to have eschewed much of the connectivity in families in exchange for the idea that "I can do it myself." In fact, someone "doing it all on their own" seems to be the model example to which we aspire. When did we decide that helping one another out was such a foreign idea? When did asking for help become a weakness?
I am beyond grateful for my parents' sacrifice. They had only just retired and had barely gotten off the boat in their move to Australia when they turned around and flew back to the cold winter of Canada to be here for me.
You took night shifts when Benjamin couldn't sleep.
You changed an endless amount of diapers.
You smiled when dragged from your bed at 7 in the morning.
You tirelessly cleaned every inch of the house.
You tackled the mounds of laundry, leaving every item but the clothes on our backs clean when you left.
You encouraged me to get out once in a while.
You dropped off and picked up Colin from school.
You entertained a toddler and a kindergartener while holding a newborn.
You appeared to enjoy every second of it.
You ticked off every item from my around-the-house-to-do-list.
You changed diapers.
You rocked Benjamin when he cried.
You got down on the floor to play with the boys.
You took out the garbage and recycling.
You taught me how to install a furnace humidifier.
You made shopping runs to the store.
You drove Colin to school.
You seemed to love every moment.
I have pondered the thoughts contained in this entry for the past two months. I have sat down numerous times to right them down, never really seeming to have the right words come. Even these sentences seem inadequate in conveying how I truly feel. But if no one else ever understands the gratitude in my heart from these words, I hope they will always serve as a reminder to me of the emotions I feel today. And all this was summed up between my mom and I as we said our quick goodbyes Wednesday, and tears filled both our eyes, a rarity for the two of us.
Thanks Mom and Dad. I love you.