Wednesday, August 31, 2016

My Daughter is Going to School

I have not been looking forward to this day.

The past few weeks, every time I went into a store that sells school supplies, I've had a little weepy meltdown.

I wasn't able to buy Vava anything for starting school because it was shattering my hormonal pregnant heart.

(My daughter is going to school!)

Each time, I tried to steel myself and reach for the lunch boxes and water bottles, and each time a giant aching wave surged right behind my eyelids.  I had to walk away.

I didn't expect to be such a wreck.
I thought Pascal would be born in good time for us to enjoy much of August preparing together.
I thought I'd have had a chance to fill our days with reading The Kissing Hand and cuddling and being silly playing together until her heart was filled with security and confidence to carry her through.

But I spent most of August in a waddling haze, lumbering from one nap to the next in overdue exhaustion. I didn't feel like cuddling anyone, let alone a knobby-kneed squirmsicle who seemed to find the most painful places to put her bony elbows.  No, August wasn't what I'd hoped and all of a sudden I wasn't at all prepared and my daughter is going to school.

So when last weekend arrived and I realized I had to buy what I needed or Vava would truly be missing out, I didn't quite know how to manage.  I figured I'd have to endure the embarrassment and just shop with a purse full of kleenex for the tears.

But then we watched The Good Lie.
(If you haven't seen it yet, do! It's on Netflix.)  It follows the story of Sudanese children, who walked almost 800 miles through war zones and deserts and unbelievable loss to find refuge.

And as we watched it, God reminded me, as He so often does, that I have been given an opportunity that moms all over the world battle for. 

My daughter is going to school.

She will pick out her clothes every day from a full closet. She will take more food for lunch than she needs. She will learn from educated and kind teachers who care about her. Her school is warm and dry and safe and just around the corner from home.

My daughter is going to school.

So when I finally went shopping and reached for the lunch boxes and water bottles, my heart surged with gratitude. My eyes filled with tears, yes, but tears on behalf of children who aren't able to attend school this year.  My heart ached for mothers who long for a day like this day, when their daughters might go to school.

And I thank God for this good gift:

My daughter is going to school.

Xo.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

You can! You can! You can!

There was a moment - right in the last few seconds before Pascal burst into the world - when all the pain seemed too much. Like I couldn't be strong any longer.

I like to close everything out, when I'm hurting.  Close my eyes, clench my teeth and fists and toes, close my attention to the world, and zoom out away from it all in my mind.  Sit up on God's shoulders and just know it's happening from afar.

But I couldn't, right then.  I needed to listen to my body, to be completely aware, to push along with the contractions.

So instead of bracing myself and squeezing my eyes shut, I found myself wide awake and present, looking up into the eyes of the two people who were waiting and hoping and labouring along with me. 

"This is the hardest part," I gasped, feeling the fear start to rise, "I don't think I can do it."

And my mom's eyes shone like a lighthouse, so full of assurance and believing in me and - most of all - joy. "You can!" they sang, "you can! You can! You can!"

And with that, I did.

My mom's joy was my strength - and oh, just when I needed it.

You might not have your mom standing beside you in your hard moments. You might not have anyone physically present at all. But the scriptures assure this: the joy of the Lord is your strength.

And He rejoices over you with His song.

Wherever you are, whatever you are facing, I pray that you will open your eyes and look up. Look into the eyes of one who knows you - loves you - rejoices over you.   Let Him be strong and joyful for you, when you fear you can't.

And see His eyes shine.
You can! You can! You can!

Xo.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Pascal Has Arrived!

I want to share the funny moments and the crazy moments and the sweet moments and the heartachey moments but for now I need to sleep.

So I'm just popping over to share that baby Pascal Laurent arrived on Sunday, big and beautiful and astonishing.

We are all, of course, wildly in love.

Welcome, darling!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Waiting

If there's one thing I've learned in the last few weeks, it's this:

I stink at waiting.

I have been uncomfortable and Pascal has been low for 3 months.  That definitely adds to the difficulty. But the hardest part, I think, is not knowing when he will arrive.

It could have been last month. It might not be til later this month.  And while I know he WILL come, I don't know when. 

And I'm dying to meet him.

Yes, I want relief from the discomfort.
Yes, I want deliverance from the constant burden.

But most of all I want to meet this darling and see his face and cuddle him all soft and nuzzley against my neck.
I want to get to know his personality and watch him carve his own niche in our family.
I want to see him interact with his siblings and see their lives and habits change as they become his big brothers, big sister.

I am longing for and eagerly anticipating his arrival.

Technically I've been ready for him to arrive since August 3 - hospital bag packed, with his homecoming outfit and soft blankets ready to go - but every day or so I think of something else to do to become even more ready.

I boiled the soothers.
I opened the box of newborn diapers.
I found the playpen sheets.
I peeled the tinfoil cover off the Penaten.
I asked Dad to cover the important but forgettable chores of emptying the dehumidifier and putting out the garbage if I'm in hospital.

And along with all that, I've chafed against the waiting.

Every morning I wake up thinking this might be the day!
Every night I go to sleep thinking this might be the night!
And as tossing night follows humid day I groan. 

A few years ago, I read an article that pointed out the best quality to find in a spouse is the ability to suffer well ... and that's not really me.  I'm okay when things are going well, and I'm actually pretty good in a short-term crisis.  But suffering well? Not my forte.

So when I realized I was turning into little more than a grumble, I asked God for help.

And I heard His great heart laugh as I asked what I could learn from Him in the waiting.

Because He waits for His children always. Like the father of the prodigal son, He waits for us to come to Him. He yearns to shelter us and celebrate with us and welcome us to our long home.

And He has built waiting into our journey too. When we receive salvation, we aren't wooshed into heaven.  We aren't magicked into perfect versions of ourselves.  Our characters are formed slowly, our Father's traits developed in us through trial and effort. Sloooowly. We wait. And while we wait, we feel it - all of creation, groaning for redemption, aching for deliverance.  The dissonance between what we want and where we are is only known in the waiting.

It reminds me of what Paul wrote in Romans 8 when he described waiting for Jesus' return and the redemption of all creation: all creation groans together in the pains of childbirth.  The ache of waiting and the groans of longing will be more than worth it - more than worth it! - for the glory that waits.

So maybe the gift in my waiting for Pascal is this reminder: good things are worth waiting for. Jesus will come. And He will redeem this aching creation in the freedom of glory.

So I'll take a breath and try to suffer well in the waiting. Sooner or later, this baby will come - and oh, he will bring so much joy with him.

Remind me to wait in hope, friends. 
Thanks for your prayers.
Xo.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Hopefully, Selfies

I've got a little growing collection of unpublished selfies.

Not because I'm addicted to taking pictures of myself.

But every night lately I go to bed thinking "what if this is the last night?"

The last night I'm pregnant.
Maybe ever.

And that's a pretty big moment.
One that I want to remember.

Especially because cameras seem to do magic over time, and turn ordinary moments into something softer and lovelier.

I'm guessing that I won't be looking back on this picture and feeling the ache of weary bones, the stretch marks, the heartburn.

And hopefully I will forget the sheer impatience I battle daily.
Hopefully I will forget the twelve weeks of Braxton Hicks and the soreness of carrying this baby in my tired body.
Hopefully I will forget the heat, the humidity, and the way I'm maybe longing for a cool quiet room and some time alone face-to-face with my new miracle.

Hopefully I'll remember that my body curled around my darling boy, this vivid, living surprise, this evidence of grace.
Hopefully I'll remember that clothes and skin and family all stretch glad in welcome.
Hopefully I will soon take my last belly-selfie and start filling up my memory card with pictures of Pascal himself.

Every day begins
And ends
In hope.