Four times in my life now I have been "on call." No, I do not work in the medical profession, nor any profession where I need to go to work at a moment's notice. I cannot imagine how stressful that must be and how disruptive to normal life. (Forgive me if this blog post wanders a little, I am extremely exhausted, so tired in fact, that I feel like my head only rejoined my body about two hours ago! Where was I again?!? Oh yeah, being "on call.")
Four times in my life I have had the opportunity to hang out with older siblings while they wait for a brother or a sister to be born. It is exciting to be a part of that moment in a family's life. It is also an honour and a privilege to get to walk that journey with them. Before Sam and Rachel were born, some of these babies were the newest ones I'd ever held. Getting to hold someone's three hour old baby is a gift beyond words.
On Wednesday morning at 2:08am, our phone rang. Some friends of ours, who want to remain blognonymous, had asked if we could care for their kids while their youngest child was born. I've been friends with these people for more than ten years and by happy circumstances (or God's timing!), our kids are close in age and all get along well.
I hurried to their house and got to sit with my friends until they left for the hospital. I then caught maybe two hours of sleep on their couch before their older children woke up. Shortly after that we received a call that their youngest sibling had arrived and we ate breakfast, made some welcome pictures, and played. Thankfully my friend's mom came over to meet her newest grandchild and was able to play with the kids while we waited. Let's just say that after too few hours of interrupted sleep, I was not at the top of my game :)
When my friends arrived home with their new baby, I realized, yet again, how special it is to be a part of that moment when a new sibling is introduced to the rest of their family. After a time of adoration (on the part of the older siblings) and picture taking, I took the kids to our house where Sam and Rachel were waiting excitedly for a play date.
If I could I would insert a picture here of some really happy kids loving their newest sibling. However, since I can't, just imagine what it looks like.
My big accomplishment was taking all four kids out to deliver flyers with me, dressing them all in jackets, snow pants, hats, mittens, and boots. The kids repaid me by walking very nicely for an hour, not fighting, and shoveling off the driveway. I figured it was a good deal although I'm very glad Dave and I decided that two kids was enough for our family. I can't imagine doing that every day! (Also, I haven't really talked about it on the blog but we've been hit with a winter blast the past few days and have gotten a ton of snow. And on Tuesday, with windchill, it was around -20C (-4F). (Why do I live here again?!?!?) Since I haven't yet put away my planters of annuals or emptied our rain barrel, I'm really hoping that the warm temperatures they're forecasting for this weekend arrive so that I can remedy those situations. Blah.)
Now all four kids are settled in for the night, I have written this (very circuitous and possibly incoherent) blog post, and I am going to sleep. I am hoping all four kids sleep through the night so that I can too. And if you ever need me to hang out with your older children while you give birth to their younger sibling, just give me call. However, if I could have a chance to catch up on sleep first that would be great :)
Have any of your ever had the chance to play this role in a family's life? How did it affect you? (Besides potential lack of sleep, that is!)