I sit again. This rocking chair. It is not the first time I have spent all night in it. It probably won’t be the last. A little lump dozes restlessly against my arms. He is burning up, cheeks ablaze as he lays there trying to get comfortable. Holding him here my own arms ache. My neck is stiff and my shoulders are tense. He is heavy. Actually, this is heavy. This whole thing.
I gently try to lay him in his own bed only to be met with crying. Standing there alongside the chewed up rails feels familiar. How many times have I done this? Patted the back of a sad little thing in footie pajamas? Through the fleece I can feel the heat of the fever and the rapid beat of his heart. And despite my aching back and sleep-deprived eyelids, I pick up him again. We walk. We sway. We doze sitting up. We do this all night long.
Soon morning will arrive but we are still a ways from that. There is a relief in knowing that the dark is almost over. Light has a way of bringing hope, even if nothing has changed. We are both exhausted. The feeling is familiar…almost rehersed. My feet know the path to his crib, well worn through the dark hours to tend a crying baby. My arms cradle him just so with the bouncy rhythm he has known since his days as a newborn. This feeling of exhaustion is startling not because it is so real, but because it is so old. As though it’s been there since the beginning. And I realize it is the same feeling I began the whole journey with.
The labor does not stop. The contractions pass and the baby arrives. But the labor goes on. It is real work.
I find it strange that nearly seven years have elapsed since I first became a mom, and yet I still do not fully see how it had shaped me. It has made me stronger and more patient. It has certainly pulled to light selfishness I never knew I had and a level of determination unmatched by my pre-child days. But most days, I don’t really know where this is going. My days are too full of the work. Three children in three different stages with three different personalities, all needing me in different ways. Like labor I just focus on getting through it. I breathe. I pray. I deal with each moment as it comes like a wave. And like labor I know at the end there will be a beautiful person, unique and ready for the world. And I know I will love them beyond belief and forget all the work it took to get them here. It will all be worth it in the end.
So I go back to rocking my baby. Soothing his fever, pacing the halls, praying for sleep or morning to come. Either would be fine.
Fridays tend to be busy days. I clean the house, make a fabulous dinner, run a few loads through the washer, and tie up any loose ends with school. I like having the house all polished and spiffy for the weekend. He comes in from a long work week to a tidy home, a beautiful meal, and music in the background. It’s a wonderful way to close one week and begin the next.
But this one was of those days where the laundry was piled high and the house looked like three small tornados had whizzed through it. I should have been whipping up dinner or reorganizing the art cabinet without my helpers, or at the very minimum, scouring Amazon to find a good deal on the new math book we would need in just a few weeks.
“He has told you, O man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
It was not long ago that I was the oppressed, the downtrodden, the poor. I was the one who needed help when it was difficult to find and even harder to accept.
There is an album on my phone where I keep favorite photos. Little snaps of my life, forever preserved under glass. These photographs have nothing on the images I used to create. Once upon a time I made beautiful pieces of art, losing myself in the creative process for hours. With fractional movements I pieced together delicate 2-dimensional interpretations of the beauty before me. Time was not an object when presented with something as complex as a flower. I could spend hours exploring a single petal. Continue reading
A gunman opens fire on hundreds. A driver crushes dozens with a truck. Fires rage threatening life and ways of life. Rains beat down leaving thousands homeless, stranded in knee-deep filthy water. The air fills with smoke. The water oozes from every crevice. The blood pools at our fingertips.
Outside it was only late afternoon, but already dark in the mid-December sky. Tremendous amounts of snow silenced our our neighborhood, downy banks lining the streets. And as the sky cleared, bitter cold set in. This snow would stay a while.
My dad bundled us up, zipping us into snowsuits and tieing our boots to ensure our feet would stay toasty through the long walk he had planned. Out we ventured into the dark. Stars lit our way, aided by the occasional streetlamp. Through the snow we trudged, crunching along the street. Dad led the way, two girls and a dog shuffling along behind him.
My husband often travels for his job, and his work is such that when he travels, he is mostly unavailable to me. He tries–God bless him he tries! He knows how tough it can be and how much I just need to hear his voice sometimes. But the demands of his job are high, his schedules are brutal, and the pressure is intense. Mess up, slack off, crumble under pressure and you are done in his line of work. So, when he goes off on a trip, it’s crunch time. Often he comes home to tight deadlines and high expectations, which means the pressures of a job generally follow him home, into his office, and it can be several days before he comes up for air.
And so lately I find myself at home, more or less solo-parenting my children for various stretches of time. Funny how I never really ever thought about this part.