Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Another last in a new beginning

Our big ultrasound was yesterday, during which we found out we are having a healthy little girl.  Wow!!  Big news!!  Huge!!  In fact, this is basically the culmination of our family planning.  If someone had asked us to look to our future and pick the perfect family, we would have said "Well, it would be really wonderful to have 4 children....2 girls and 2 boys."  And now, that's what we'll have.  Two boys, followed by two girls.  I couldn't have arranged it better myself. 

You would think I would be beside myself with excitement....absolutely ecstatic!   I am pleased, don't get me wrong.  The very second the words were out of the ultrasound technician's mouth, a tear of joy was running down my cheek.  Yet, here I sit, almost in a state of shock, pondering it all.

It makes me think of the time leading up to a wedding.  You get so caught up in the excitement and nervous energy that builds up.  The wedding day itself becomes this pinnacle....a high peak for which you have striven for years, spinning to a near frenzy in those final weeks and days.  When this appointed day arrives, it spins by in a blur, and at the end you are married.  It feels surreal to be sure.  Then you whisk away on a honeymoon vacation that prolongs the abnormal, but a few weeks later - there you are, back in a day to day reality. Yes, your hopes and dreams are all before you, just as they were.  Yet, now you live them out day by day, just like everyone else. Is it exciting?  Sure!  But the wrapping has now been taken off of the gift. Because, you now are officially married. Christmas morning has passed, and you're cleaning up the wrapping paper, staring at your new presents and wondering what to do with them.  The illusive concept of marriage is no longer an unknown.  Of course, this says nothing about the many adventures, joys and challenges that you will face together.  But passing from singleness to marriage?  Done.  

Well, I think I'm in a similar state.   Jason and I have always spoken of having four children two years apart.  We dreamed about how fun it would be to have two boys and two girls.  But, that was always just a unknown for which we knew God was aware of, but of which we didn't want to beg for our way.  After all, His way is better and higher than ours, right?  How our family would turn out was the big unknown.  Yet, here we are, a family of six.  All of the cards are on the table. Two boys and two girls.  All two years apart, within a month.  Wow.  The lead up time has passed, and now our future lies ahead of us.  That pinnacle of the unknown has passed. Our ultrasound yesterday was that moment.  

But now, other emotions are kicking in.  Jason's first and steady reaction yesterday was a heavy heart for his baby girl, Anna Ruth.  She is no longer the littlest one, the only girl......Papa's only little girl.  "Where is her special place now?" he wonders.  He was jealous for her, and clung to his little Anna Ruth yesterday.  

As for me, I am in somewhat of a stunned silence about it all.  As much as I had hoped for a little girl, I am now mourning the fact that I will no longer be the Mama to a baby boy.  I have experienced all of the one year and two year landmarks of a baby boy that I'm going to experience in my life as a Mama. I have loved being a Mama to my Caleb and Emet, and it's hard to let go and say goodbye of that stage in my life.  Good bye to the little train pajamas I loved so much.  Goodbye to the favorite overalls and football shirts my babies will not wear again.....the fireman rainboots and raincoats, the beloved footed pajamas.  I can clearly see each of my boys in those clothes, and up until now, I haven't had to say goodbye.  As I would tuck each little item into the bin, I would be sad to know it was not to be worn by Caleb or Emet again, but there was always a possibility that we would use them again for another little baby boy. And now, that door has closed.  

I know I can pass these things on to friends who will use them, and that brings me happiness.  We certainly benefited from the hand-me-downs of others who no doubt shared similar attachments to their belongings.  However, I believe at the heart of the issue, it is not about the clothes at all.  It is about moving on.  Change. The plain and simple fact is, change is hard.....even good change.  It doesn't really matter how much you anticipated or desired it.  

If you've read my blog much at all, you know that I tend to cling to things. In a sense, we probably all do.  When God gives me a gift, I want to hold on tight with all I have in me.  Yet, God teaches us in scripture to keep open hands.  He gives and He takes away.  Gives and takes away.  I have just experienced a giving and taking away in a single moment of time.  I have been given a healthy baby girl, and have lost the opportunity to be the Mama to a baby boy.  I will get to experience the joys of raising two little girls together, just as I have, and still am, raising two little boys.  It will be a different experience altogether.  This I already can tell in how different Anna Ruth is from her brothers.  

Ironically, all of these feelings of moving on and closure is based on a decision that Jason and I have made together to stop having children after this baby arrives.  I guess in that sense, we are a part of the closing of the door. And, though it is not in our plans, we are open to whomever God may clearly place in our family's path, if that situation ever occurs.   Yet, that is part of that unknown future.  What we know now is what we are working through.....rejoicing and weeping at the same time.  

"O LORD my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them." Psalm 40:5

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

God can do anything....even dance ballet!

Tonight during bedtime, Jason chose to read the story of Hezekiah to the boys.  Afterwards, he said.."Did you hear that boys?  The prophet Isaiah told King Hezekiah that God said he would die, yet King Hezekiah prayed and God extended his life. That was a powerful prayer, wasn't it?"  In a very knowing voice, Caleb replied: "Well, Papa, God can do ANYTHING!  I learned that in a song.  He could probably even dance ballet!"  :-)

Boy, that's sure a good song...

Last night, we were finishing up our bedtime snuggle routine with the boys.  Jason has sung hymns with the children since they were tiny babies, so last night I asked if we could sing Blessed Assurance as a family. There is nothing sweeter to my heart than to hear 4 voices in 4 different keys singing along together.  Listening to a choir singing in such a way would drive me to distraction.  However, as our little family sings together, it's as if the very sounds themselves bond us together in a way that seems almost tangible.  For those moments, we are one before God as a family, and His very presence can be felt.

As the song came to a close, there was silence.  Then Caleb's little voice began to sing Jesus loves me, so we all joined in.  Again, silence, followed by Caleb shakily starting to sing Jesus Loves the Little Children.  He and I sang that one alone.  We finished the song, and he snuggled in closer to me.  Following another minute of quiet, Caleb said, "Boy, that's sure a good song."  "What makes you say that, Caleb?" I asked.  He replied, "I just like how Jesus loves all of the children of the world."

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."  Matthew 19:14