When I opened the computer a few mornings ago, the start of an unfinished (and long since forgotten) blog post was sitting on my screen. I don't know how it got there, but it seemed to be saying, “Hey, remember me? Remember how you were writing me and saying things about labor like: “never”. And all the while your little baby was planning on coming the very next day? And now, she's been here four weeks. Funny. Huh?”
Here it was:
Tonight I made two shakes. Raspberry. Thick (like I like them). I brought them into our room to share with Mike. Alas, he had fallen fast asleep on our bed. I was a bit surprised. Not so much because our bed was still awaiting freshly-washed bedding to be spread; and not even so much because Jesse had left Magna-Tiles all over our mattress (some of which were likely under Mike); but because, if Mike accidentally falls asleep before it's “officially” bedtime (you know: teeth brushed, prayers said, etc.), it almost always happens on the couch.
Yet, here he was: accidentally asleep in the spot meant for . . . really going to sleep.
I couldn't blame him though. After all, he would be turning 39 the next morning. It must be difficult at his age, I reasoned, to stay up (or fall asleep) quite as intentionally as he could back when he was his youthful 37 or even 38 year-old self.
So, I found myself a little spot near him on our unmade bed (preferring his sleeping company to not having his company at all) and ate . . . both . . . of our shakes while I googled things like: “Signs of Labor” and “False verses True Labor”.
Of course I know enough by now to know that nothing I read or think or feel even will ever actually give me any concrete idea of when I'll go into labor. And I should know enough by now to know that I will never go into labor two weeks before my due date. Still. It's one of those things that are difficult not to read and speculate about at this point – particularly because it is so uniquely strange to me to wrap my my around the fact that . . . I actually WILL be going into labor one of these days. Everything about this pregnancy has felt so . . . not quite real, that it's difficult to remain convinced this is actually going to happen.
And that was it. The post was never finished.
But life just . . . moves right along, doesn't it? Things happen whether it ever seemed they might or not. That little baby who I wasn't fully convinced actually existed? She did. She does. She's here – if not yet in a way that feels fully routine, then at least in a way that feels unmistakably real.
And . . . things are good. They are hard. I can see that when I step outside of myself and just – look in. But circumstance doesn't always dictate . . . what? What doesn't it always dictate? I don't know . . . how overwhelming hard feels? How hard . . . hard is?
My sister recently told me about a time at the start of her mission when she was momentarily hit with utter panic. “Wait!” she thought in slight terror. “When do I ever just have time for myself?”
She then heard a calm but matter-of-fact voice answer, “You don't.”
It was as if it gently said, “Don't get all worked up. Right now you are doing this. And so you won't really be doing anything else. And that's OK.”
And, oddly enough, that soothed her panic. It allowed her to let go of all of her notions about everything she was accustomed to doing and just give in to what she currently had in front of her to do.
I think I'm in a similar place right now.
“When do I just get time for myself?!”
“You don't. And that's OK.”
“Oh. Well. That wasn’t quite the answer I expected, but . . . I suppose it is OK. I'll just . . . settle with myself that I'm . . . doing this for now.”
I remember another friend telling me a similar thing about her experience having twins. She had to just sort of . . . surrender to motherhood more completely than she had before. And, surprisingly, in doing so, the panic and struggle seemed to lessen. It's the difference between clinging frantically – strength exhausted and arms shaking – to the reeds and branches at the side of the rushing river you are currently in and . . . just letting go and flowing along with it (wild current, unexpected rocks, and all).
So it's hard. It's wild. My days are pretty consumed with house needs and baby needs and other kid needs. But . . . that feels, for the most part, . . . OK. Not easy. But something I'm just going to be all right with doing right now.