This is entry #3 leading up to celebrating 15 years of marriage.
Spring 2006: Learning about Abundance
The third baby we conceived gave me heartburn like you wouldn’t believe and wanted to arrive 12 weeks early. To keep the contractions from coming, I went on modified bed rest, which basically meant I could lounge around the house and watch TV or read but I couldn’t do laundry, or cook, or clean.
It was rough.
The meals from families at our school arrived every other day – salads and rolls, entrees and sides, always a potato and always a dessert – enough to feed a family of five. Love came baked and steamed and tossed and creamed, sometimes so delectable we asked for the recipes, with the occasional flop we felt guilty not eating.
One Sunday in church, our daughter rolled from one side of my abdomen to the other, back and forth, her cantaloupe-sized body trying to get comfortable, excited by the cinnamon sugar bagel I maybe ate that morning. I squeezed Brandon’s hand and stopped listening to Pastor Coffey talking. We watched the magnificence of movement, the results of cells coming together and binding, staying together, growing, deciding which ought to be an eye and which ought to be a toe, cells committed to growing a beating heart, breathing lungs, limbs to kick and punch, all growing, growing, miraculous and ours, hidden by my own skin. She shifted once and twice and again a third time, and we watched the bump distort from left to right and back, almost there, almost born, almost done, almost ready but not yet, not yet.
Summer 2006: Learning about How We’re Wired
All my life I thought I’d be exactly like my mom when I grew up. There aren’t many women in my world I admire more, and Mom was the stay-at-home variety, for the most part. She served as the behind-the-scenes engine of my parents’ business, paying bills and processing paperwork, handling the finances of their excavating company while raising my brothers and me. She was ever and always there for me, so reliable I rarely appreciated her presence until after I left home.
Leading up to Lydia’s birth we calculated the costs of staying home with her because of course I would; it’s what I’ve always wanted to do. Maybe I could work part-time here and there, but of course I’ll be at home, I’ll take her to the zoo with her cousins, we’ll read books and take walks and naps and make meals and crafts and it will be glorious.
And then she arrived, beautiful and sleepy. I lost routine beyond feedings. I read her all of the Chronicles of Narnia while she nursed. I left half my brain in the hospital, felt disconnected and separate in conversations with nothing to say except how happy Lydia’s sleep patterns made me. Who the heck will I be if I’m not a stay-at-home mom? I called my boss and asked for my job back. Lydia came to work with me, and whatever had dimmed in my engine relit.