Monday, January 12, 2015

As is customary around this time of year, I've been spending a lot of time reflecting on 2014. It was a whirlwind kind of year, to say the least. We moved four times to four different states and spent over half of the year staying in other people's homes, accepting the generosity and hospitality of others, but never being able to give any in return. It was adventurous and it was unforgettable and it was hard. It was trying. It was draining. It was taxing on our family, finances, and hearts. Brooklyn was completely worth it, but I'm relieved to be on the other side, looking back at all of it and forward to a fresh start. After all of the change we've been through, heels dug in the ground and my hands over my eyes for most of it, I just don't have the energy to join in the new year hullabaloo with a list of goals and such. Realistically, I'll be spending the majority of my energy and thoughts on birthing a baby and falling in love with said baby and helping my people get our life sorted out, and that's ok with me - or at least I'm trying to make that ok with me. Anyone who knows me knows that I don't lay down goals and walk away from them lightly. Before I birth said baby, I'm trying my hardest to enjoy being three. I'm thrilled at the idea of meeting this new life, but I'm equally terrified at the thought of staying at home with two, the possibility of battling depression again, having a challenging time breastfeeding again. It was all so unbelievably hard the first time around and though I'm entering into this new phase of motherhood with more experience and perspective, the fear is there and makes me wonder whether its always a companion for mothers when adding another to their home, whether its their 2nd or 6th?

Along with the fear comes a touch of sadness at it no longer being just the three of us, or just Ev and I the majority of the time. I find myself grasping for the time to cherish her, but facing disappointment instead. The life we're headed back to in March is not the life I want for her, and this is not how I wanted to spend our last months together. The defiance that comes with being almost three has been a regular companion most days and my desire to cherish it all before we're a family of four makes for a horrible match against parenting and discipline. I swing from high to low each day, from overreacting and being overwhelmed to checking out completely and doing nothing out of defeat. I make lists to try to make sense of our lives when there's no sense or solution to be found. I know that no matter how many lists I make, it won't all get done in the two weeks we'll have to prepare, it all can't be afforded, and my experience will probably be nothing like what I'm imagining and hoping for. It will be good; nonetheless, because there's always good to be found in a new life, but I'm afraid it will be filled with more disappointment. I have no idea how I will manage two kids in all the circumstances that await us when we head back to Albuquerque. I have no idea how I will love another kid the way that I love Evie, how I will have enough good in myself to give to each of them.

If there's one thing I've learned through five years of marriage and (almost) two pregnancies, it's that life is uncontrollable. There's nothing like the change of seasons or the arrival of a new year to remind us of impermanence. I used to live under the assumption that it was in our control to bring a baby into the world at just the right time, when it would be the most convenient for us and our plans. Being (unexpectedly) pregnant through the holiday season has been a special time for me. It's given me a unique view through Mary's perspective - through all the wanderers' of the Bible. I'm sure giving birth in a manger wasn't what she had in mind. I wonder if she had thoughts along the lines of, 'Really? Right now? This can't wait until we're home? Or at least until we find a place to stay for the night?' When groups of the Bible were led this way and that, did the mothers long for home? Were they all just desperate for a place to rest and nurse their babies, for a normal life? Sometimes I'm thankful for the sporadic life we've lived, but oftentimes it has felt a lot like laying things down at each place we leave - my plans, dreams of home, financial goals, hopes of security, jobs, memories of my child. It feels a lot like closing the door on all of that and oh, how that begins to hurt after you do it repeatedly and how obvious it becomes that I'm holding tightly to things that I don't want to relinquish control of - things I think are important, but are just specks of dust in our lives.

I imagine there's a special kind of freedom that comes from giving it all up, from unclenching your fists, laying it down, and walking away - the perfectly decorated house or even a home of our own, the baby brought home to a space that is ready for them, the defiant toddler who is battling her own wills and desires, the job you've been hoping for. When all of that is stripped away, I imagine you can really begin to live because you aren't wasting a single second planning and worrying about matters that are uncontrollable. I've learned many lessons in patience and perseverance and letting things go over the last year and that's been a hard road to walk for a perfectionist.

When I was pregnant with Ev, I couldn't imagine us as a family of three. I had no idea how two kids who like to sleep in and go on sporadic adventures were going to figure out life with a baby. While it didn't feel like our normal at all in the beginning, we came to be comfortable together, effortlessly in love. How I long for that learning curve, that awkward fumbling stage, to be shorter than the last. These three years with Ev have changed me beyond recognition and I will always cherish our memories together. She will probably never remember a time without her sibling, but I will. In 2014, I learned that big changes often bring hard times with them, but there is always beauty to be found. While I don't look forward to the difficulty that might await us, I do look forward to the inevitable beauty and joy that will be found in this new season of life. I know that the fumbling feeling of a new person joining us will wear off and will all settle in to our effortless love once again.

So here's to 2015 and letting it all go and falling in love with a brand new person.


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