One of the driving forces behind the decisions Jarod and I make as parents is our desire to spend time together as a family on a regular basis. I think that in general this is easier since our children are both small, but I want to make sure that we start with good habits now that can grow with us as a family. I want to be intentional about all four of us being in the same space together every single day. While Elvie was in the hospital, I felt that it was important to continue to make this a priority. I think it was good for both Elvie and Zinashi to have time together, and it was good for us as parents, too. It wasn’t easy to make it happen, but we did it. It took a little bit of help from my mom, who was in town to watch Zinashi, and a little extra effort from both Jarod and me, but it was so worth it to see our girls together and to enjoy one another’s company as well. This is what we did to make it work for us.
Because family dinner is something we do most nights, that seemed the most obvious place to start. Jarod rides a shuttle to and from work, and instead of going home in the evening, he would come straight to the hospital. My mom would bring Zinashi around the time that we anticipated Jarod would arrive, and Elvie and I were already there. We would eat together, and then I would take off to get a head start on my shower at home. Zinashi got to stay a bit longer so she and Elvie could enjoy each other’s company, and then my mom would bring her home. This also gave Zinashi a little bit more time with Jarod as well.
When Zinashi left the hospital, Jarod had the opportunity for some one-on-one time with Elvie. Once Zinashi arrived home, I got the same with her as I did her bath and the rest of her usual bedtime routine. On the best nights, she’d be mostly asleep when I left, and I’d find Elvie slumbering when I arrived at the hospital. Jarod would then go home to sleep, and if Zinashi needed anything in the night, he would be right there for her.
On weekends, we did things a little differently. Saturday morning, Jarod would take Zinashi to soccer and then bring her to the hospital to get lunch. We’d have lunch and hang out as a family for a longer time than was possible on weeknights. Then I would take Zinashi home for the rest of the afternoon and overnight, and we’d return together on Sunday to spend more time together as a family. We all looked forward to the weekend because the time was so much more relaxed.
While our time at the hospital as a family wasn’t ideal, I think it made a big difference for both of our girls that we were able to do it. Seeing their faces when they saw each other for the first time each day was priceless, and Elvie seemed to rest better once she’d seen everyone in her family. Zinashi likewise loved the time that we were all together, with her only complaint being that she wanted that outside of the hospital. We all wanted that, too, and are relieved that we can now resume having family time at home.