Friday, November 13, 2015


I ran into a link for a blog post the other day entitled, "When you are not Excited about Having a Baby".  I ran right over there, not passing go or collecting $200!
The woman shared, graciously, about her ambiguity over her recent surprise pregnancy, how her current children are 6 and 4 years old and how far apart this next one will be.  After I stopped laughing about that, I read the comments that followed from other readers.

It seems she and I are not alone.
I never wrote about my own experiences here in that regard.  I think with Julia I could not admit to myself how conflicted I was.  By the time Ellie arrived, I was barely functioning, let alone processing why I was barely functioning.

It isn't that I did not want them!  We had wanted another child for some time.  We had just given up.  We were having the "I guess the Lord wants us to be content with what we have" conversations.  After all, we had tried!

But when Julia and Ellie came along, I was not as ready as I thought.
I did not expect the difficulties that a pregnancy  in your forties entails compared to one in your twenties...
I did not realize how attached I had become to my "when I am done homeschooling ...." muses and dreams. 
I did not realize there would be things to grieve.
I did not know how lonely I would feel when my friends were moving "forward" into their post-kids phase of life while I started over.
I did not expect the number of negative comments I received about my pregnancy from friends and acquaintances, or the embarrassment I felt when they did come.
I did not anticipate the number of strangers who would query as to whether the same father had sired this third one as the first two, and whether we were surprised, and "may I ask, how old ARE you anyway?"
I did not expect such a beautiful concept as adoption to be so hard.
I did not think I looked old enough to be any one's grandparent, but apparently I did, and I do.
I did not think these blessings could knock my marriage almost completely over.
I did not realize how isolated and incapacitated one could be when they are burdened with shame over such feelings.
This Fall I have been working on making baby books for the girls.
I decided that if we were to home school next year (and no, I don't know yet), I should work on things during preschool time that would be difficult or impossible to do if they were home.

Baby books definitely made the list.

It has been an emotional battle looking at all of these pictures.

I am reminded of some dear friends of ours.  They picked up their family and moved to India to work for International Justice Mission, an organization that aids in the freeing of slaves and of women sold into the sex trade business.  John left a six-figure, stable-future kind of job for this undeveloped country.  They were rock stars in my Christian world.   I remember a correspondence with them about a year into their stay, after the birth of their second child there and a near death experience for his wife, Linda, in which he wrote that he wished he had handled it better.  "What?!",  I remember thinking, "What more could you have asked of yourselves?"
In Mark 4:35-41, Jesus and the disciples are crossing the sea of Galilee when a storm comes upon them.  Jesus is asleep.  Being seasoned fishermen I am thinking that the storm must have been quite fierce to send them in to a panic.  They wake Jesus to ask him,  "Don't you care?" - that the boat is filling with water and we are about to drown.  Jesus gives them what I have always thought to be a pretty crummy answer, He chastises them for their fear and lack of faith.  I always pictured this scene like a small child waking in the middle of the night from a frightening dream and having their father tell them not to be an idiot and go back to sleep.
Let's just say, it was not my favorite Jesus story.

I understand why Jesus was frustrated.  He had told them they were going to the other side, that should have been enough.  He was there, and that should have been enough.  He was completely at peace, that should have told them something.
I have spent a large portion of these first years with Julia and Ellie asking God if he was asleep.  Not in so many words mind you, but it is where my heart has been.  (Actually maybe I did use those exact words...)
God gave us Julia, knitting her together perfectly from a very old egg in my little old womb.  That should have been enough.  And he gave us Ellie after years and years of being stagnant in the adoption queue.  That should have told me something.

Looking through these pictures, I think I understand more deeply now what my friend John meant. 

I wish I had handled it all better.
I wish my response had been one of faith and not fear.
I wish I had trusted the Lord to work all things together.

I can not change the pictures, or really the stories behind them is what I long to change, but I hope I will walk the next six years with greater faith, than I did the past six. 
I hope I can let Jesus sleep in my boat


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Dear James

So I tried to figure out how much longer we have you here at home ("OK Google, how many more days do we have James?")  It looks like about 7 more months as I start this letter, depending on where you end up heading off too.
I have never wanted you to leave, I know some people are "ready" for their kids to leave when they go off to school, but I am not.  It isn't that I think you should stay. 
You shouldn't.  This is right and perfect. 
I am just saying I can not think of a time when I wanted this time to come.  I never said, "I can't wait until he leaves for college".  Truthfully I wouldn't mind freezing this time and savoring it a little longer. 

I keep thinking of things I want to make sure I tell you before you go, or tell you again more likely.
But the one of first most importance is this:

I love you no matter what.

I don't know if it is the way of all mothers' love, but it is the way of this mother's.
My love will follow you to JMU or Virginia Tech or wherever you decide to go (even if it is UVA).
It will hang on even if you commit a crime, get a tattoo, join a band, get addicted to drugs, vote democrat, decide you are gay, get a girl pregnant, drop out of short, if you blow it by anyone's standards.
I want you to know that there is no hole deep enough that I would not still do everything I could to pull you out.
I have heard of kids thinking that there is a place of no return.  Thinking, "I know I am drunk and I should call my parents but I don't want to tell them".  Thinking, "I have been arrested for something, maybe I can keep this from them". 
This is my loud protest to those kinds of thoughts. 

I can not promise you that I won't be sad.  I will be sad with you, when you make a stupid decision, or some great plan doesn't turn out the way you had hoped.  I will try, however, not to make it worse by making dumb mother comments.  I will try to love you without my agenda, because I want always to be a part of your life, a good part.  No matter where you go.
No matter what.

Oh, and if you are having any anxiety about leaving, can I just say, you are going to be fine!
I, on the other hand, am going to be a basket case.
But you should go anyway.

love, mom