When the weekend comes
So far, splitting my time between the NICU and home hasn’t been as much of a challenge as I feared it would be. During the week, my two older boys are in school most of the time that we spend at the NICU, so they don’t really miss us. My two year old, a newly middle child, is probably suffering the most from it, as he is left home all day with his Nana, often without a brother to keep him company, but this is just preparing him for his new role as the forgotten middle child. It has been just short of a week though since I’ve been home and we are about to face our biggest challenge of splitting our time so far, the weekend.
So far, my husband and I have tried to plan our days at the NICU to maximize time there and minimize time away from our older boys. My oldest is in school all day until almost 4:00 and since traffic begins to build an hour before that, we are usually home within minutes of him getting off the bus. My former middle child, who has now been bumped up to older-middle child status, has school three days a week in the morning. We try to get into the hospital not long after he has left for school those days, so that he is only home for a short time without us in the afternoon. On the days he doesn’t have school, we try to spend some time with him in the morning and then go in a little later, so he at least gets sometime with us. My poor two year old gets the shaft in this situation. He doesn’t go to school, so it doesn’t matter what time we go because he ends up missing us for several hours a day. There isn’t much we can do about this, but we feel it is good for him since he is the only child who never went to childcare and has never been away from mom for very long. We figure this will build some independence and healthy separation. We are also trying to figure out a way to make some of it up to him by giving him some special alone time with mom and dad, but he haven’t quite figured out when yet.
The problem now, however, is that the weekend is here and all the boys are home for the next few days and of course they are looking for some quality time with mom and dad. Just the thought of having to choose between my boys hurts my heart. I don’t want to miss a day with my little guy, especially now that I am able to hold him and bond with him, but I also miss my older boys who I hardly see all week and who need me too. On top of that, there are still the everyday errands of the weekend that need to be taken care of. We are coming up on a week since I came home and I still haven’t unpacked my bags. We need to grocery shop, clean, pay bills, and I’d love to catch up on some sleep. Doing all these activities take away from time with my boys though. It doesn’t help that the NICU is about 30 minutes away, each way, without traffic, so it isn’t a quick jaunt over there. I want so badly for my little guy to just be home so I can spend time with all my boys together, but we have many more weeks ahead of us like this and despite his great progress, I doubt he’ll be home in much less time than when his due date was.
So what do I do? Now that the weekend is upon us, how do I split my time and how do I deal with the guilt of not being with whoever is left out? I don’t have answers. I guess this is one of those things we just need to figure out as we go. I know I need to just remind myself that all of this is temporary and it will be over one day. I just need to make it to that day and hold my family together until we get there.