I cannot believe that today marks 4 weeks with our sweet Justus. It doesn't seem possible really. Although I'm sure every parent says that about the second, and probably the third, fourth, and so on. But honestly...it seems impossible that 4 weeks ago our innocent bundle surprised us and arrived nearly 4 weeks early. I could not feel more blessed by his presence...especially now that he's home.
Although it seems only yesterday that I labored all day and night, so much has happened in the last four weeks. It has been a whirlwind. First the NICU and all the uncertainty that came with that, to bringing Justus home to his big sister! Life with Justus has been...eventful....to say the least.
Upon bringing Justus home, Rozalyn (his big and fearless sister) welcomed him with open arms. After Justus was born, he was brought straight to the NICU and because of their strict policies with flu season, Rozalyn didn't get to see her baby brother until 9 days after his arrival. That being said, her grasp upon what had happened was very loose. She struggled to comprehend why mom was home with no baby in her tummy nor in her presence. Not to mention the fact that I was back and forth from the NICU everyday that she barely had but 30 minutes with me daily. It was a hard 9 days, that's all I can say. Everything seemed to throw her off and on top of it all she wasn't sleeping...day or night. This, I was not expecting. I NEEDED her to sleep! I needed to sleep...but up pumping every 3 hours wasn't really allowing that to happen either.
When we finally did bring Justus home, Rozalyn was thrilled by his "cuteness." Constantly exclaiming, "baby Justus SOOOO cute" while kissing his forehead with her innocent lips. I couldn't help but look at her in awe. How could she be this big already? I heard it so many times when I was pregnant but didn't quite grasp the truth behind the statement..."Rozalyn is going to seem so grown up to you once this baby arrives." I nodded and agreed every time but the truth of the matter eluded me. As I watch her now: jumping, running, TALKING (all the time...she never stops talking), I am fascinated at the young girl she is growing into.
A couple of moments with Rozalyn and I before her baby brother came into the picture.
I remember my oldest sister telling me that she wept for her oldest daughter the day her second baby arrived. I never understood that till now. I look at Rozalyn now, no longer my "baby," no longer my one and only and I weep. I sit here now writing this and I weep. It's not that I don't love this new precious life with every fiber of my being...because I do. It's that I now look at my daughter with the title "big sister" attached to her, with expectations attached to her and I can't help but feel sorry for the little girl that will forever have to be the "big girl." It's a weird feeling really, one that I can't adequately describe. I know that she is going be an amazing big sister and I know that she was born to be a leader and a protector but she will always be my first. She has taught me so much about motherhood, about love and what that actually looks like. She has given me life and laughter beyond my wildest dreams. She has breathed joy into the cracks and crevices that I didn't even know existed. She will forever hold a special place in my heart and the bond that we share can never be broken because she has given me a title that I am honored to wear...MOTHER.
The day Rozalyn came into this world...she showed me what REAL love looks like.
A distant memory now...I'm pretty sure this is the last time she snuggled with me. :)
Following the days of Justus' arrival to our home, Rozalyn went from loving her baby brother to...not exactly liking him. I was facetiming a family member when they asked, "Roz, do you love your new baby brother?" and she looked at them and sternly replied, "No." I couldn't help but burst into laughter!
Since then, it's been a mixture of emotions for her. Sometimes she loves him and wants to kiss him and hold him and other days she acts like he doesn't even exist. Her world has been turned upside down and for that I never try to force anything on her. It was probably two weeks after he arrived home that she held him for the first time and somebody remarked on how they couldn't believe we had waited that long to let her hold him. But to me...I wanted her to hold him when she felt ready, not when we wanted her to be ready. So I waited for her to ask me and I knew the day would come soon enough, but I wanted it to be on her terms. She deserves that after all the change that she has just endured. It's not easy becoming a big sister and I want to honor that in every way that I can.
This is a picture of a not so "joyful" moment in Rozalyn's struggle to understand what it means to be a "big sister." She was apparently having a melt down and to combat the crying we told her we were going to take a picture of her. This is what we captured.
As for Justus, he is such a champ. I cannot believe how laid back he is. I mean compared to Rozalyn, he is a walk in the park! He sleeps, eats, and poops like clock work and all the times in between he is incredibly pleasant to be around (Not to say that Rozalyn wasn't incredibly pleasant to be around...it just required a lot more bouncing, rocking, swaying, and patting.) His pathetic grunting is the only noise he seems to make since the day he came home and his appetite seems to increase with each day. I feel like he looks like a totally different baby then the one we met in the hospital.
I feel so incredibly blessed by my growing family. It goes without saying that, we could not have made this transition possible without the help and support from so many of you. Our family and friends have surrounded us in prayer and for that we are eternally grateful. Thank you for your never-ending encouragement, we wish we could give it all back ten fold. Love you all! XOXOXO