As this thing one day may stand as the best recount of the early years of marriage and the early years with children I am tempted to delete any of my "reflective" posts over this past 10 months, well, really, over the past 2 years since we first found out we were expecting a child. I have never been that girl, possibly you, that sat around planning their happily ever after revolving around 2.5 kids, a membership at the country club for the kids to swim, and yearly family trips to the panhandle of Florida. I always knew I would one day have kids because I came from a big family and that was all I knew. But for many years after I left Athens my family would constantly joke me at family gatherings about how picky I had become and how there would never be anyone that I would give more than a 2nd chance, let alone marry which meant - let alone have my own family one day. And once, in my mid-20's, if you have been following this blog since the dinosaur age, you'll recall, I did have a pretty solid conviction that I probably wouldn't get married for another decade.......atleast. I wanted to live in Spain, find the career I had never found - at the time maybe even in a church, and I was wanting to find something to go back to school to really learn (because the 1st time just didn't "take" the way I would have liked it to......morale of that story - follow your own heart, not someone else's).
Needless to say, merely two years later to find myself carrying a new person inside the body that, to be honest, I had admittedly paid way too much attention to toning and perfecting, was truly dream-shattering. Like I said, I knew I would have kids but I had probably never thought about how or when....I just saw them in my future as I took my daughters to get manicures before prom and sat in the bleachers cheering on my very own star quarterback. I honestly never thought about what went into the years before those seemingly glorious bonding years. As you know my mama and I are about as tight as any mother/daughter duo could be. More so, my mom has that same relationship with all four of her children so all I ever really remember about child-raising are the fun times with mom-our best friend. Almost everyday over the last 14 months I have had some silent moment of adoration for my mom as I have come to realize really what went into developing that sister-sister type bond - four times over. Unfortunately, for me, my mom has always taken everything in stride. Whether it was a near-fatal sickness as a child, an unwanted move nearly to the top of the country with 2 kids in high school, or hearing the news of a life-long disease that would effect one of her very own children. She has always taken the cards she was dealt and truly made lemonade out of the yuckiness - even if she felt broken on the inside.
Without self-diagnosing all of my personality for you in a simple blog (and thus, boring you all the while) I can tell you two things. I envy my mother for her natural ability for a sunny-outlook and I am not like that. I try to be just like her in that way and that sure is exhausting but I do question a little more than she does and I do not easily accept whatever hiccup or bruise has come my way. My stomach turns as I even think this word I am about to type. Eh hum......control. As you probably guessed it long ago - much of my inability to accept my circumstances is my desire to control them first - or to have thought them through before they were dropped on me! And yes, that is straight from my daddy's genes. So, as you concluded on your own probably some long post ago - these two years have taken their toll on a girl who once was able to steer her big, imaginary ship in her own direction. Or so I thought at the time.
Secondly, I carry terrible unnecessary guilt for not either feeling the way I think one should (this is called the case of the "shoulds" and needs it's own separate post and counseling session) feel in a said scenario or for not being able to grin and bear it as my mother has so perfectly conquered. Let's use this crazy example, a bright-cheery newlywed finds out that she is in fact able to have children and a year and a half after her glorious wedding day she will be starting her very own family - full of hair ribbons, and play dates, and family portraits. This is a Southern girl's dream to most girls I know. And though this may, too, be a dream of mine, the timing wasn't my dream and I really had a hard time "willing" myself to be excited (that's yucky trait number one). But then, I also walked around for half of the first pregnancy (and all of this one) feeling guilty for not feeling the way the books says you should.....elated, grateful, and giddy.
Lucky for you and me this second dose of pregnancy has allowed me ample thinking time and more importantly, drawn me to my knees like never before. And here is finally the really good news........after much anxiety, guilt, and often sarcasm regarding this new baby, I am finally at a place of absolute peace (though you wouldn't know it by the few hours I've slept in the last 10 days) about this plan that wasn't mine from the start. I hate to leave you with such a long post about all of my smelly issues and than quickly tell you they are gone - goodbye. And they aren't gone, but grace has covered them and for the first time in a several years I can feel that very grace as it has calmed my heart over the last few days and brought to the surface so many things that I didn't know were down there.
Yesterday, after what I think I remember was a better night of sleep than the previous 8, I felt different. I felt calm. And I felt a little excitement bubbling up inside over the birth of this new baby. (In the very same sentence, I have still been very emotional as I watch Brooks - just knowing it's not just going to be me and him anymore but I know I'll get over that as soon as this all goes down.) This baby has already poured so much into me (including but not limited to heart burn, acid reflux, cellulite, itching sensations, etc) and grace - for myself and for others, and acceptance for any unplanned circumstances, and a sense of loss of control (and it feels good!), and gratitude that despite my not-perfectly-feeling heart God would have still chosen me to be a mom (hopefully the kind of mom my mom was and is) twice! He's absolutely crazy! But for once in a long time I know He is crazy about me, too, and I have done nothing (as you an see from the above) to deserve his affection. As Brooks and dad slept a little later yesterday I was praying that these next days or weeks Brad and I would both experience how wide, and, deep, and high, and long is the love of Christ - in a way that we had never ever known before this new baby. Not always are my prayers answered that quickly but yesterday as I waddled up the stairs to answer the little man's cry for relief from his barred-bed I truly felt a peace and love that I had never ever known before.....and I know that is just the beginning.
Editors Note: Sorry for all the sappy posts lately. Chalk it up to a little added hormones running free in me. You've suffered long enough with me so I'll try to throw something extra juicy and entertaining in the next few weeks. For now - the baby is on his way (as I lay awake seeing every-single-hour last night with a different pain than the hour before I was convinced it was the time) and as Brad has said over the last few days - "let's do this thing." So simple, Brad, and that's why I love you...let's go do this thing!
Beg God for the Miracle of Humility
3 hours ago