Thursday, August 30, 2012

By Tomorrow Morning

Writing for 5 minutes on "Change":

Nothing makes me want to freeze time like content little you.  I know by tomorrow morning you will have changed.  You'll be bigger, different.  You're my third wee little one.  So I know.  I know how fast it will go.  I want to bottle up every drop of newborness, to savor the sight of your milky lips, the feel of your fuzzy head, the sound of each baby breath.

Yes, there are dishes to be done, a toilet to be scrubbed, laundry waiting, but I think I'll just sit here a while and hold you forever in the nape of my neck.  And I'll memorize your newborn face, so as not to forget it when you all too soon grow into your boyhood face.  There's nothing like it, these first days and weeks of knowing you, of falling heart sick in love with you.  The very sight of you makes me achy inside.

Linking up with GypsyMama for a 5 minute Friday on "Change."

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Stretch of Birth

The belly skin stretches tighter than taut. 

The night stretches long into dawn.

And you are churning, churning within.  Time to emerge and greet the world.

My body heaves with you and stretches open inside.

Pain, pain, I must greet it, not fight it.  It's bringing my baby to me.

I meet the moment when I know I cannot, and then I do, stretching deeper than I know.

The stretching of all that is in me, my strength, my heart, my all, to bring you forth.

The blessed relief, then one more push, and you're here.

"It's a boy!" your dad gasps in awe. 

Then you're in my hands, on my skin, smelling of new life.

You are here.  You are here.

My soul sighs.

**Linking up with gypsymama for "5 Minute Friday" on the word "Stretch."**

Friday, August 10, 2012

Dear Baby, Welcome to the Family

Dear Baby,

You'll be here soon.  A few hours, days or weeks, I'm not sure, but I feel it.  I feel it in the crazy mix of exhaustion and excitement that's pumping through me.  You are coming.  Together you and I will work you out of the depths of me and into my arms, into our lives, into this family of yours. 

You know us all a bit by now.  You know we're loud, but you can't yet see we're messy too.  You know we love books, you've bounced the many that have rested on my belly.  You likely have Goodnight Moon memorized too.  You know I sing off-key to your siblings twice a day.  You know we love good food, shared round our table.  We also love the ocean's spray, the taste of saltwater on our lips.   We love to go, to travel, to do, to see this great big world.  We also love a whole day at home with no pants on.   

You know sometimes my patience runs thin, you've felt my heavy sighs.  You've heard me yell, and I'm sorry for that.  I will surely need your grace just as you will need mine.  This life you're entering, it will be crazy at times.  But you know there are those perfect morning moments where we all squish in bed together, nuzzling each other's necks, cozy, warm, and quiet, just basking in our love for each other. 

We are family.  We are yours and you are ours.  Nothing will ever change that.           

Here are some of our family phrases, core to who we are.  May your ears know them well, before your lips can even form them.   

"I'm sorry."  We will fail you, frustrate you, hurt you.  We are a broken people of this broken world you are entering.  But there's another phrase.
"I love you."  Know you'll hear that daily, no matter what.  May the words never lose their power, may you never for an instant doubt our love for you.  These words are fierce and true.    

"Thank you."  The secret to joy, my dear, is found in thankfulness ... always in all things.

"Yes, Lord."  These two simple words.  They are what lead us.  You'll have your own "Yes, Lord's" to make, but until then, we'll live ours out together.    

So, little one, you've felt us dance and you've heard us shout.  You've bobbed with our laughter and quivered in our tears.  You're already a part of us, but here's the official welcome to the family.         

Don't you worry, you will find your place.  It will be unique and needed.  You don't have to be like me or your dad or your sister or brother.  You be you, and we know that we will adore you. 

Awaiting your arrival,

Your family

P.S.  If your sister and brother ever brag about being born abroad, just tell them that you can become president and they can't.

Friday, August 3, 2012

This is What's Saving Me Right Now

So I'm told that "the glory of God is man fully alive."  But when the kids shout angry, and the belly hangs heavy, and the son's tooth is infected, and the nights blur into days, the life in me trickles out. And this longing for glory is left as a wee little puddle in the cellar of my soul. 

My husband knows this, reads me straight through, and this is why after dinner he sent me away.  He told me to leave.  God love him, he promised to clean and put the kids to bed while I'm gone.  Only a fool would turn down that offer.  So I left.  I packed up some books, headed to the Tea Leaf, drank a glorious rooibos chai latte, and ate up some scrumptious reading time.

I came back more fully alive, my mind quieted, my soul centered.  I came back noticing.  Each moment holds something.  I'm just usually too distracted to notice. But it's the very noticing of the moments, the living fully in them that is saving me right now.   

Pinned Image by by Conrad Knutsen
There's the moment my toddler boy stumbles into my arms, smelling of sleep, hair all askew.  This alone is worth waking for.  

Each morning I open the porch door.  There I see the blasted black cat that thinks he lives on our porch.  He's killed my potted herb basket, making it his nightly bed.  He can't be shooed or scared away.  Believe me, I've tried.  I'm quite certain I hate him.  But after the moment when I saw my daughter whack him with a broom and my son give him a fierce tiger roar, I realized feline hatred may not be a trait to pass onto my children.  So here's to learning to love (or at least tolerate) my enemy.  

There was the moment in the waiting room, as I listened to the screams of my two year old while daddy held him down for his tooth pulling.  I tried to choke down the pain in my heart, to hide behind the book I was reading to Ellie, but everything in me felt it deep and the tears fell.  Motherhood makes your heart all mush but demands the strength of steel. 

There was the moment I laid down on the kitchen floor (at 36 weeks pregnant) to get a good look at my son's tooth gap, him rolling his cars across the hard surface.  After a satisfactory check, I attempted to get up.  Like a walrus carcus washed ashore, I just sort of flopped there.  "I can't get up," I heaved.  My four year old erupted into a fit of unstoppable giggles, apparently finding my situation hilarious.  Her laughter was catching, so now I lay jiggling in stitches on the hard floor.  Nothing cleanses like belly laughs.  After a few deep breaths and a herculine effort, I somehow managed to get up.  And my daughter and I looked at each other, no words, just twinkles in our eyes and aches in our sides.  We'd just lived gloriously. 

Each moment a gift. A choice to fully live or muddle through.  To glory Him or trickle dry.