Monday, April 25, 2011

Pregnant for 10+ Months

If you've been following my story of this in-between time, you may remember this post, one of my first, about "expecting" versus "waiting," that I wrote back in September. I just thought that I was antsy about moving on, back then! The best analogy to how I feel is something other moms may understand--you know how you feel that last month of your pregnancy, or even the last week? Words like tired, anxious, achy, come to mind.

In addition, though, you're unable to focus on anything else besides the strong physical and emotional need to have the pregnancy over! Of course, you would never want it over prematurely, risking your health and the baby's, so you remind yourself you should be thankful for carrying the child full-term, but there is still that incredible restlessness, unease, angst that overshadows every thought.

That's how I feel, lately. But unlike pregnancy, there is no due date, due week, due month--no promises that this "transition time" will end anytime soon. And as summer approaches, I find myself grieving, in a way.

We'd planned to buy a porch swing for last summer, and we'd planted strawberries in the garden. We never got to buy our swing, though, and we at least hope someone else besides the squirrels enjoyed the berries we'd planted. Jonathan was going to build a swingset for the boys, too. Not only did he not get to do that last summer, but he won't get to do it this summer, either.

And we'll be moving again, because this apartment was a good choice for the short-term sublet, but not for the long-term. It's so hard to make wise choices while in "temporary mode." Just when the weather will be warmest, and I'll be wanting to take advantage of the pool that's in the complex, we'll be spending hours packing boxes once again, probably to a smaller place, instead.

I'm mailing out another intro. packet to a church tomorrow, and Jonathan's boss seems hopeful that he could get Jonathan in on a next-level-up position that would mean decent pay. A church with which he had a phone interview 4 weeks ago tomorrow still hasn't contacted him back, even though they said they would, either way--par for course.

The writing contest was a fun diversion, and I'm not ashamed of coming in 2nd out of 120 or so writers, even though it turned into more of a popularity contest than a writing contest. (I was encouraged, too, by how many friends helped me out, and I credit them with my placement, which doesn't make sense considering the winner had over 1,000 more FB friends than I!) Some other writing gigs seem to be coming through, though, so some extra funds are coming in. Just nothing regular like the Momsquawk position would be. But the issue isn't just financial.

In the mean time, we can't plan on any kind of vacation, even an inexpensive one, because Jonathan wants to save any vacation time he has in case a church asks him to visit. 

I just want something to look forward to, some timeframe that gives me hope that this tunnel will end.

The Resurrection gives me hope, and I'm glad this world isn't all there is, but I can't help wanting something to change for now, today, this month, this year.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The ER on Good Friday

Our first trip to the ER for one of our boys just happened to occur today, Good Friday. Caleb, our firstborn, just turned 2 last week and checked out just fine at his well-baby (or well-child?) appointment. This week, though, he's been running a temp, on and off, since Sunday. Nothing major, though. Probably teething, I thought, despite the medical community's insistence that teething does not cause fevers.

Anyhow, yesterday, he was so sleepy all day and miserable by evening. And warmer. I finally took his temp, and it registered at 103.7. I called the after-hours doctors' office number, mainly because that was easier than looking up the magic temperature for this particular age; the nurse on call said that if it went over 105 to take him in, right away. Otherwise, she suggested trying to get him in to his primary care physician the next day (today). After his second night waking, I resigned to sleeping on the couch, holding my precious boy. I missed the comfort of my own bed, but I delighted in comforting him--don't all parents?

Around our normal waking time, I checked his temp again: 105.4. Yikes! I called to see if I should take him in to the doctor's office or urgent care, and the nurse said to head to the ER. "If he has no other symptoms of influenza, he likely has a urinary tract infection, and they'll need to use a catheter on him. They'll probably have to sedate him for that, so you should just go straight to the hospital." Not words I wanted to hear. The idea of a sedative on one so young scared me, but I did as I was told.

It's bad enough to have to hold your happy, healthy child's arms down while he gets his innoculations, but to hold a sick kid still and in position for a poke, an X-ray, and then a catheter insertion is just miserable! (We were relieved that they did not sedate him, though.) The only reason my husband and I could do those things was because we knew that it was for his good, and it could lead to less pain and discomfort for him, later. Would I do it to ease your discomfort, or anyone else's? Probably not. I love my son more.

Between the pokes and other tests, Caleb wanted a "boo"; of course, I had brought a few of his favorite books. We read about bacon, ham, and pork (Jonathan's pet names for "The Three Little Pigs") and then read something more significant: a story about another Dad who let His Son suffer. Here's an excerpt:

"Papa?" Jesus cried, franticaly searching the sky. "Papa?" Where are you? Don't leave me!"

And for the first time--and the last--when he spoke, nothing happened. Just a horrible, endless silence. God didn't answer. He turned away from his Boy.

Tears rolled down Jesus' face. The face of the One who would wipe away every tear from every eye. . . .

The full force of the storm of God's fierce anger at sin was coming down. On his own Son. Instead of his people. It was the only way God could destroy sin, and not destroy his children whose hearts were filled with sin.

The comparison is weak, but for me, as I read that story today in the ER, I seemed to understand and appreciate God's sacrifice for me a little more. As much as any dad hates seeing his boy suffer, God had to hate it, too. He just loved something even more than He hated that, and that "something" is me, and you.

Well, our story has a somewhat happy ending. By the time we left the ER, Caleb's fever was down, and we had been assured that it was nothing serious. Daddy even got him laughing at the trash can that mysteriously opened on its own--and talked! (The link is to a quite amateurish--and wrongly positioned--video, but I think it's sweet!)

On the 10-minute drive home, Caleb fell peacefully asleep. His dad and I smiled at each other when we noticed the long eyelashes of our sweet boy resting on his cooled cheeks. The pain was over. I imagined God's relief when Jesus said,"It's finished." Their story has a happy ending, too. Will yours?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Soon Spring Will Come

I've been so crazy with this contest that I haven't spent much time in reflection on this most holy of weeks. Or blogging. So I'm taking a little break here, to praise the One who gives us hope, even on icy days, both literal and not.

Here's a little piece I wrote as part of an application for another writing gig:

The first day nature hints that spring is on its way sends energizing sunlight through my veins! Deep down, I know I’ll have to clear snow off patio chairs and cover my brightly colored toe nails with socks and boots again, but I still celebrate spring’s first appearance each year. Why do I love spring so much? It’s the anticipation, the promise that soon summer will come; soon I’ll feel warmth smiling on my shoulders and taste fresh -picked berries. Spring’s first glimpse offers hope for life: It may be cold and dark right now, but soon the sun will shine.
And here's a few more eloquent lines from one of my favorite non-canonical writers:

If Holy Week is icy, and snows your flowers enfold,
Remember, His last night was brutal, bitter, cold.

That little piece of poetry is based on John 18:18: "Now the slaves and the officers were standing there, having made a charcoal fire, for it was cold and they were warming themselves; and Peter was also with them, standing and warming himself."

May His Resurrection hope give you warmth that shatters even the darkest, coldest memories and thoughts you hold, this Holy Week.

And even when your earthly hopes are dashed, may the saints of old remind you to take heart, because if you know God, you will enjoy a warm spring day, eternally, someday. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dancing Like No One Is Watching

I love teaching my son Caleb new words and activities! I never knew that watching a child climb up stairs or make an animal sound could bring me so much joy! He loves books, and favorites are "Three Little Pigs" and "Alice in Wonderland." (Here's a picture of his famous "Cheshire Cat grin"! I love it!)
Helping develop his character (yes, already!) is quite rewarding, too. I love it when he obeys at times when he does not want to do so. And not just because it trips my ego, but because he's learning something valuable. Maybe you already saw this video I posted to my Facebook wall a couple months ago, but I just love opportunities like this one! However, I never thought about all that he'd teach me.
You know the phrase "dance like no one is watching"? Well, he's teaching me to do just that. I love the lack of self-consciousness he has! When he's excited, he makes all kinds of loud, happy sounds and flails his arms and runs all around. He doesn't care if people see him or what they think. He just expresses himself.
He also dances. Now, I know that may not be a winsome quality for a conservative Baptist preacher's son, but he just does it naturally, when he hears music. (Trust me, this kind of dance isn't likely to elicit any kind of lust!) I can be in the most uptight, frustrated mood, and he'll gesture toward my iPod dock to let me know he wants to hear some music. Wether it's VeggieTales, Patch the Pirate, Sara Groves, the Steve Pettit Evangelistic Team, the Cosby Show intro., or Dean Martin, that kid just smiles and moves to the music and has a blast! 

(The Pettit Team, you ask? Seriously, one of my favorite times of seeing him dance was at Northland's Freedom Celebration last summer. If you've been there, you know how they keep the driveway to campus clear. Well, we had our seats right behind that, as you face the stage, and it seemed to him that he was on stage, as he danced in the driveway to the bluegrass rhythms. Priceless!)

Anyhow, my son is teaching me to take time to enjoy life and, yes, even to dance. Maybe we look silly, but we have a lot of fun and even get some exercise. I just make sure to close the blinds.