Thursday, September 17, 2009


Down to just the last few weeks... maybe days... maybe hours as a family of three.

This morning I woke up to a beautiful misty fog. It's my day off. It dawned on me that this morning could be the last alone with my first born, who, until the birth of baby #2, is the light and joy of my life.

After daddy left for work, we bundled up and headed to Riverfront. I love mornings like this because, surprisingly, the park is bare. Only the very few brave moms who don't mind their kids getting a bit wet and muddy show up. (Kind of ironic considering we live in Oregon.) So the park is pretty much ours. We ran to the river to look at the water ("wadoo") and the lone speed boat that zoomed this way and that. Then Picklebean remembered the slides. So, we ran (well, he ran, I waddled) back to the play structures so he could climb and jump and slide. The slide was, of course, covered in water droplets, with a bit of a puddle at the bottom, which Jeffrey slid right through - jeans soaking up pretty much all of it. At one point, he ran full speed across the playground and tripped, sending him face first into the bark mulch. Being that it was wet, every piece of mulch that touched his body stuck there. He came up, face, lips and body covered in mulch. He tried to spit it out, but it just made it run a little down his lips. It was a moment I wish I had on camera. There's something very sweet about a dirty little boy.... Especially one that hates to be dirty.

After 40 minutes splashing in puddles, looking at fallen leaves, climbing slippery ladders and jumping off steps, we headed back to the car. It seemed like the perfect morning for hot chocolate and a donut. I called daddy to see if he needed any coffee. (He would never turn it down... Actually, it was just an excuse to see him. We miss him on these mornings.)

I mentioned hot chocolate... Jeffrey responded, "Chocolate milkshake?" I said, "Hot chocolate?" He repeated, "Chocolate milkshake?" Now, normally I wouldn't dream of feeding my child a milkshake at 10:30 in the morning. But... we don't have too many left together. And this morning just screamed for something special. So, chocolate milkshake it was... Oh, and a donut, which he finished in about 30 minutes, just about an hour from nap time. (Note to self: You know better to feed your child large quantities of sugar and fat just before a nap.)

When we got home, we both stripped down to our tees and undies. Jeffrey watched Veggie Tales' Heroes of the Bible as I cleaned the kitchen, did some laundry and vacuumed. I kind of wanted to continue cleaning - cuz once this baby comes, I won't have much energy to scrub toilets and mirrors, etc. But I also wanted to cherish the moments I have left with my Picklebean. So, I just stood in the doorway to our living room and watched my son for a while. It brought a tear to my eye to think that it won't be just the two of us any more.

So, I grabbed a pillow, put on the Praise Baby CD and snuggled up close. As always, he leaned into me, and put his arm around my neck, playing with my ear. I breathed in his warm breath, closed my eyes and just enjoyed the moment - his soft hair tickling my cheek and eyelashes. He giggled... I giggled... and we snuggled closer. I could tell he was close to drifting off, so I picked him up, he tightened his legs around my waist, as he does only when he's ready to sleep, and I carried him to his room. He let out a tiny whimper - as if to tell me he didn't want to be alone. I had no intentions to just leave him there. I wanted more time with him. So we laid on his bed, he snuggled into me like a tiny little spoon, and I could feel his body relax. I just rubbed his back until I heard his breaths deepen, and his little body jerk as he found his peaceful sleep. It was hard not to squeeze him and weep. He's such an angel.

It's hard to imagine another child owning my heart the way that my son does. I can't understand the depths of my love for my one child, much less having enough love for two. I fall in love more and more every day... and soon there will be another. And yet I know that God has created us to love in this way. There's always enough, even when you think there isn't enough room just for the one. Sometimes I feel my heart stretching under the pressure of my love where it could burst from my chest at any moment. It's such a beautiful feeling. No other human has ever made me feel this way. And I don't believe any other human could. I think these feelings are saved - special for those we call our children.

God loves us in this way - and even more. He loves us in ways that cannot be expressed by words alone. I believe He gives us a special gift of love when we have our own children - either by birth or adoption or foster care, or any other method we welcome a child into our life and home. I remember contemplating this when I held Jeffrey in my arms for the first time. And for the first time, I understood what God meant by unconditional love. I understood what He meant when He calls me His child; made in His image. And I look at my son and think God used me and my beloved to co-create this little person in our image. In HIS image. It's wonderful.

And God has blessed us with another. The journey has been far from easy. We wondered if I would ever experience this precious one's first movements... I remember God asking me if I was willing to give up everything for Him. And I remember humbly opening my hands to Him saying, "Yes, Jesus... Everything I have belongs to you," which included the life in my belly. And God answered our desperate prayers. I don't take this gift lightly. In fact, I often feel undeserving - especially in light of others who have lost babies along the way, or are dealing with difficulties in even getting pregnant. I can't imagine the desperation of those prayers, and the longing in their hearts to hold their own little darling, or the hole in their family that they so eagerly wish to fill... Their dreams of examining those tiny little fingernails, caressing those soft earlobes, and breathing in the sweet breath of a brand new infant.... I wonder why God allowed us another miracle when others have been waiting so patiently for one of their own. I can't answer these questions, but it makes me incredibly grateful, even amidst the pains and aches and inconveniences of pregnancy.

I am so grateful for this morning; for the time I got to spend with my son; for his laughs and hugs and sly glances. And I'm grateful that soon we'll be welcoming the fourth member of our family into our life. I pray it would be so. And I pray for all the love that I will need - that is so far beyond anything I can comprehend - to just abound and overflow. I know it isn't something I manufacture on my own, so I look to my Father to teach me.

To my baby girl (assuming the docs are correct): I can't wait to see your face. I can't wait for your big brother to give you gentle kisses. I can't wait for your daddy to hold you safely in his arms. I can't wait to call you by name for the first time. I'm scare to death of what it means to mother a daughter, but I promise to fall to my knees daily and ask God to show me how. I loved you from the time you were just a glimmer of hope, to the time I had to loose my grip around you, to the time I felt your first kick, to the time we learned you are our first daughter, to now. Every day a little more. I've shed many joyful tears (and a few painful ones) over you. You are not mine alone. You belong first to Jesus, and I pray that I will be His hands and His voice until you come to know Him personally. You are a gift, and we willingly accept this gift with the utmost humility. I pray for your safe journey. We'll be here waiting for you with open arms. - Love, Mommy

Monday, September 14, 2009

Good Cry

Maybe it's just cuz I'm super pregnant, which means I'm irrationally emotional. But today I just feel like throwing myself on the floor, kicking and screaming in a two-year-old-style fit and bawling my eyes out. Trying to get through a difficult pregnancy, balancing my home, my marriage and my family, raising a toddler, and trying to take care of work stuff all at the same time is stressing me out. I'm feeling very alone...

I have no idea who reads this (if anyone) - ok... that's not entirely true. I know of some people who read this (and even one person who reads this who doesn't know that I know reads this, and I'm not altogether sure why she reads this since she has ignored me for the last 2 years). But for the most part, I don't know who reads this... And I don't want to come across is being whiney or ungrateful. I'm not whining, and I'm far from ungrateful. In fact, I'm incredibly blessed. There are, however, a lot of things going on simultaneously and most people in their right minds would feel stressed about it. I just don't really have a place to let it out... (Gosh, I miss friends.)

Excuse me while I get some chocolate.

I'm back. Chocolate in hand (and in mouth).

Never mind. Chocolate has made it clear that this is not the venue to vent.

Sometimes you need a good cry. Maybe it's just a girl thing. (I don't think I've ever heard a dude say, "I need a good cry." Well... once, but he was gay, so that doesn't count.) So I'm just going to keep it all to myself, but hopefully have a good, long, private ugly cry alone.