I, without much thought, committed myself to an ongoing saga of my “rebirth.”
That’s really cute.
I need another commitment like I need another kid.
So, as much as I very neatly want to write about parts 2,3 and 4 … and then be “reborn” - probably not how this will happen.
Don’t get me wrong. I have a lot of old that needs to be new. As I sit in the middle of all the noise of three humans figuring out three years on this planet (turns out the planet is theirs to have at this ripe age of three – inspiring, really – if you like that kind of aggression), nurturing a 9 month old that is convinced she was the fourth musketeer, staying present in my marriage and somehow picking every detail from the color of grout to the last piece of trim and countertop and ceiling color in our new house (no pressure), I just have to pray my rebirth saga can wait.
If I had the time I would dig in and write about things like this…
I really would love to shed light on my weirdness and uncomfortable memory of many, many other people holding my first babies before I ever touched them. The sadness that overwhelms me when I think how that perfect warm and thin skin on the side of their wrinkly newborn faces touched so many other things before it touched my chest. The way I must have felt delivering them, watching them wheeled away and then being left to shiver and wait in the OR. And how when I finally held them close, I was confused and out of body.
Or I would love try to and dissect my awkward obsession with my second labor & delivery. That pregnancy and firework finale of meeting the mystery baby that ended up being Josie all along, took me to a place free of ego. It introduced me to what it is like to trust and trust and trust my God, for He truly brings you to, and then carries you through.
And I think I need to talk about my lonely planet of how natural yet uneasy it’s been to make the choice to nurse/breastfeed my very food sensitive baby for the first year. People, I’m starving. And I feel guilty for all the time that breast feeding takes away from the other three kids. But I love the boob. I do.
And how I know we were supposed to have another baby, but how I just feel like I’m barely connecting with one child, let alone all four, most days. There are days I sit seriously barely awake on the floor with a cup of coffee and let it swirl around me, hugging each one of them every chance I get. I know moms are doing crafts and doing play dates and making organic snacks. And reading lots. I always try for more books and less TV, but Jake and Sophia win a lot… but I am hugging?
And last, but not least, just remembering the ancient practice of being still and living in the total and complete present moment. I know some day I will brush my teeth, we will be in the new house with a fantastic mud room and the kids will sleep through the night and Scott and I may actually connect on something other than house colors and toddler teachable moments. But I know the truth. That future moment isn’t real. The future and past aren’t ours to have or hold. It won’t be any better or any worse in a year. Next year only exists in our fantasies or fears. Four year olds, a walking one year old and a new house won’t change my heart or who I am. That’s the hard part, when the moment you are in feels so rough and tough and tired, you don’t really want to be there, or even be yourself. But truly, I’ll say it again, because so many much smarter people than me in history have said it, the only moment we ever really have is the present. Just like yoga and prayer, showing up to this moment is not an ability you possess, but rather, something you practice. Like a free throw. Over and over and over again. And if you quit practicing, you will miss the basket.
(No baggage at all going on here…nope, clean as a whistle, this one…)
I see this cycle of CONTROL in my life. Now, in our lives. It sneaks up on you. I think I am being all “what will be, will be” and then I’m reminded, I can’t sit down and decide I’m going to write a series of blog posts titled something really earthy and self-reflective and come out on top. Nice try, control addict.
As mentioned, I have been a little sick. I started getting crazy digestive issues around November and a few doctors and a colonoscopy later, I’m left with no real diagnosis and just me and my mind & body to figure it out every second, minute and hour of the day. I went to see our NAET (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique) doctor out of desperation. I took Josie when all of her issues started. (Eczema and green, runny stools with blood – from weeks 8-12. It was super fun. Let me tell you.) I was determined to breast feed because my gut told me any and all formula wouldn’t help her anyway. So I found Karen. She is one of those people, that if you could look at your life from an aerial view, you would see bright lights flashing around her, because God put her there in a really dark time to be a harbor. You may have not needed anything but God himself at the time, but at that really, really dim and scary time you couldn’t see past yourself. So those people show up. They just get you to the next minute of breathing sometimes. Anyway, Karen is awesome but extreme. She had me eat only potatoes and rice for a 24 hour period. Die. I know. But it was the only thing that made Josie stop having bloody diarrhea. Then we knew it wasn’t all allergies, it was digestion. So, anyway, that’s who she is. She has helped our family a lot these last 9 months.
So, of course, I trust her because she has helped us when no one else could. Recently, while in her office, my kids were seriously tackling each other, yelling in that special three-year old pitch and throwing themselves on the ground while Josie was crying because she was cold and confused with no pants on. (I always have an extra outfit for blow outs…in the dresser at home.) I’m trying to write a check because one of the kids got in my wallet and misplaced my debit card … and during all of this, while Karen and her office staff were watching, and without any shame at all, I looked at the kids and said “I AM GOING TO SNAP. STOOOOOOOOOOOP FIGHTING.” Like in that gritted teeth, wide-eyed demonic voice that leaves a vibrating aftermath in your throat. The one you didn’t know you had inside until you have a toddler. The voice you heard a mom do at Babies R Us when you had a newborn and thought “I would NEVER talk you to like that my little perfect pumpkin.” Oh you will. You will. And someday it will be in public.
Karen looked at me and said, “You know, colon issues are symbolic for ‘feeling out of control’.”
Hmmm. My colon is a hot mess. If you lived with me, you would know what a hot mess it is.
It has been on my mind since. My mighty Quinn, at 3, when things don’t seem to be going his way (you know the big stuff – like the girls won’t play pirates or he can’t have his 9th cereal bar for the day) — often will say “It’s all wrong.”
Most days, somewhere along the way, it just feels like that. It feels all wrong. Out of control.
When I am in those moments everything feels tense. I feel like a trapped lunatic. And I know all those blogs say “It’s OK to just be enough even when you aren’t enough” or “slow down and live and just let the laundry sit there” but when you are living the dream and sometimes the dream feels more like a foggy walking night terror with kids that need baths and they call you mommy, it’s just hard. Even harder because you have those amazing, “I love my life, even if it’s messy” kind of days, and then bam, those lunatic days come back and you feel even more out of control…like it’s your fault you can’t MAKE IT A GREAT DAY. I tell my kids this when they don’t want to go to school, “make it a great day.” I just realized that’s a lot of pressure. I’m not going to say that anymore.
I remember being in Paris almost five years ago. I had a horrible sinus infection and was exhausted as we tried to battle the traffic of the first day of fashion week, to get to the airport to fly to the next leg of our trip, Italy. We got there, just in time to see the gate close on our flight. The attendants spoke French to our confused and depleted English speaking brains. We could see our plane sitting there, yet we had missed it. Our $700 flights I had splurged on so we wouldn’t “waste a second of Italy.” Missed.
It was all wrong. And then, something really crazy happened. I cried my eyes out and put my head on Scott’s chest that was t-shirt soft and smelled like home, in that huge, cold and confusing French airport. I don’t do this often. If you are close to me, you know that I don’t dump out cries easily or willingly. I can still remember the way it felt to let Scott take care of my sad self. I once read a good cry is baptismal. Trickling with hope and soft to surrender. And to this day, it’s one of my best memories of Europe. In my discomfort, there was comfort. It was all wrong, but from it, something was born.
Josie was baptized last month. The days leading up to her baptism were rough in our house. She had a really high fever, the kids weren’t sleeping and everyone was cranky from lack of fresh air. I really wanted to cancel the whole thing. However, somehow we all got up that snowy Sunday morning, got dressed, packed the van and made the trip 2 hours north, to my hometown church, where I, too, was baptized. Our family members had made the same trip in the cold & filth that morning, just to be there, smiling for us and with us. We all stood at the front of the church, showing up as the village. Josie in my mom’s almost seventy year old baby gown, and me standing in awe and shock that she is still even here. We were all silent as we watched this new life be celebrated and dedicated. Hope and surrender. Again, it felt like home.
Even in tough seasons, there is always hope somewhere. The dream is unfolding in it’s present moment day after day.
Talk about a slice of rebirth.
I am good at finding ways to miss the present moment that actually carries all that hope. I beat myself up instead of taking a look around and letting the sights, smells and sounds create comfort. Over silly things like how I let my kids have “picnic lunches” often. (This means they have something frozen on a plate in front of the TV so I can tend to Josie or actually eat my lunch). I feel a deep loss for not being able to get out of the house socially. I usually say no if asked. Yoga is my fuel, I’ve gone once in 9 months. I sat next to a mom today at ballet (attending ballet class is a whole other ball of self despair for me) that said “Well, I try to make it to the gym six days a week.” I wanted to find her kid in the class and hope that she had major issues from the withdrawal she must feel from a mother that actually puts herself before her child like this. Oh, wait, I was just a jealous. Her kid was normal and cute. As my counselor would say I was “making her the ‘plus’ and me the ‘minus’.” Or lets talk about the time you thought ”one baby will be easy” and it just about kills you. And how “if I breastfeed a year” I will be exempt from guilt. Nope, already in the boxing match that I want to quit after a year. Oh man. Nothing is sacred anymore.
When you’re not looking or trying, rebirth happens everyday. In the present moment that will always be peppered with our past and made sweet by the promise of the future. Thank you God for the amazing grace offered to all of us wretches that live in our past lives of freedom and are fooled into thinking that new house or new job or next age will be bigger and better. And that’s all for now. I’m off to tend to three kids at 6 am who are using that special voice while slamming and flushing the toilet over and over and over…and the day begins. But it’s the only day we have, right?