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  • Writer's pictureMary

A Leap Year Letter

New York City skyline at sunset over Central Park
Sunset from our hospital room overlooking Central Park

Four years ago on Leap Day, I officiated the wedding of one of my best friends. We grew up together and shared many formative stoop-kid summers. Yesterday was their first "official" anniversary. I cannot believe only four years have passed since that beautiful wedding, mere days before the world shut down. Since then, we both quit jobs (with nothing lined up, no less) and felt empowered by it. We found new jobs. We adopted new pets. We entered our mid-thirties.

This leap year, I'm home recovering from recently giving birth. Rowan Nox Lee joined our family on Thursday, February 15th at 3:02pm. He came one week earlier than his due date, and seemingly happy to go with the flow, arrived just fifteen minutes or so into active labor. We brought him home the next evening, ahead of a snow storm, and spent one night with just him before Jasper came back from my parents' and the dogs from my sister's and my in-laws'.

An impressive sleeper for a newborn, Rowan consistently gives us three hour stretches overnight, and so the sleep deprivation we'd dreaded hasn't been as bad as we'd feared - a very lucky thing. I know it's only the beginning, and that there's no such thing as a routine this early on, but I'll take what we've been given thus far.

My post-partum, hormone-driven big emotions have been wholly directed toward Jasper, who's suddenly so big and so grown up. I miss him as he was in those first days and long for sharper memories of the earliest chapters of his life that I will never get to experience again. They say that your heart doubles when you have a second child, that there's just more love to go around. I think that it's true, but I've also learned that this doubling comes from an initial cleaving of the heart. Alongside the love that grows for Rowan, there's also grief and longing for a time when Jasper was that small.

This time around, Kev has 12 weeks off from work. I'm so happy that we'll have a stretch of months cocooned from professional responsibilities so that we can both settle into our new identities has parents of two kids. I already know that I'm living some of the most precious weeks of my life and I'm trying to take everything in as best as I can, the wonderful and the overwhelming.

It's half past midnight and I hear Rowan beginning to stir in his bassinet, so I'll sign off for now as I tend to my nocturnal duties. Until next time.

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