23 November 2011

Sometimes the Answer is Another Question

I put my order in for this week and, like those times when you ask for an Egg McMuffin and end up with a Cheeseburger, somehow it got garbled in the process. My requests were simple, I thought: 1 baby (born, healthy); 1 mama (healthy, no longer pregnant); 1 toddler (healthy, happy, loving baby brother); 1 daddy (healthy, proud).

Instead the tally seems to be 1 baby (still inside, presumed healthy); 1 mama (sick, still pregnant); 1 toddler (sick, grumpy), 1 daddy (healthy).

I keep wondering if it would do any good to go back to the drive-thru and try yelling this time.

They're little things, the ones I didn't get this week, and yet I keep finding myself upset that I didn't get them. I want this baby out like you could not possibly believe (except you can, if you've been there), I want to be able to breathe through my nose, and I want my girl to regain the ability to deal that seems to flee when she's ill.

This week, these little things mirror larger things that I prayed for over months and years when I felt like God was ignoring me. Now that things seem to be on the upswing for us, I can look back on those times with a little more clarity. A little more, but not too much.

I thought there'd be a moment of truth, a time when I'd realize why we walked through difficulty and uncertainty, when I'd see a purpose behind it all and suddenly understand. But just like I don't understand how this week turned out so opposite what I'd hoped, I don't understand why our lives had to go all topsy-turvy for 2 years.

Maybe I never will know. Maybe I'll never be able to explain to my girl why her first impressions of the world are probably so mixed and confusing. Maybe there will never be words.

I can say that, but can I live it? Questions rise up, more and more of them every time I try to make peace with that. Not just "Why?" but more detailed questions. Did I miss something? How do I know when life is just like that and when there's some sort of method to be found? I wonder why my girl's coming into the world seemed to usher in a time of pain and confusion, and my son's looks to come alongside peace and routine and rest. And on, and on.

So right now I'm sitting with questions. They're fragile, or maybe I am, because if I think on them too hard, they'll break (or maybe I will). So they sit in my hands. I poke them a little, then I walk away and come back later, only to poke again.

Will answers come from the prodding? Peace? I don't know, but I know that, just as I can't look at them too hard, I can't leave them behind, either. They're pieces of the future, I think, even though I can't see how they all fit just now. So I'll hold, look, poke, leave until something rises from their ashes.

Come, Lord Jesus.

10 November 2011

Loving the Sharp Places

It's easy, when the beautiful is her smile and the sun reflecting off her blonde hair as she runs ahead of me. And it's easy when she dances on the living room floor, just-learned jumps still wobbly but nothing half-hearted about them.

But it's different when the beautiful is tears at dinner because her olive fell apart and demands to get out of the car while it's still moving. It's different when naps don't happen and they dare change the clocks and she doesn't want to wear diapers but refuses to use the potty.

We think of beauty as the round and the smooth, with graceful edges balanced by straight lines. But beauty can be pointy, too, and sharp, and hard as a rock. Some say that isn't beauty, but when it's a little heart trying to figure out what it means to be human, what else can it be?

And so I try to love her like she's beautiful, even the hard parts. I wrap my arms around all of her, even the points and the prickles, and I hold her close to me even when she's sharp. How else will she learn of love, that it has more to do with the lover than the condition of the beloved? Because to be human is to be loved, and that's what I'd have her know more than anything else.

03 November 2011

When Love is Enough

At the end of a day when she didn't sleep and I needed her to, tomorrow looks like a long haul. I keep reminding myself that we're all still in transition, but what to do when I need 10 minutes away from being mama and she needs her mama now, and now, and now. The pressure is on, to get us settled before her baby brother arrives and to still meet her needs and make her smile.

Little eyes, little nose, red from crying and I can't give her what she wants because neither of us know what that is. Not up, not down, not bunny or bear, not the book, nor the baby, nor the markers and paper.

It's the intangibles that get us all, even when we're small, and sometimes being offered love just isn't enough. Sometimes we all want to run away, want to bang our heads against the wall or hold our hands in front of our faces so the world can't get in anymore. Sometimes stress settles around all of our shoulders, even the smallest ones, and we can't rest for the pressure we can't see.

I didn't want her to be like me, didn't want her to absorb emotional energy like her skin is an emotion-permeable membrane, not always able to distinguish what's mine and hers and yours and someone else's. But I think she is, dear little sensitive soul, and I feel the need to be okay so she will be okay.

There's also truth, though, and when the truth is something other than okay, I want to learn to hold that for her, as I hold her and let her fall apart in my arms.

Tiny love. Not so tiny anymore, not even the tiniest in our family, but always my little love. May you find your sleep, and may we both remember that love is enough, even when it feels like it ought to be otherwise.