on beautiful things
There are 2 things no one told me when I was pregnant. (Actually, there were a lot of things no one told me, and for that I’m mostly grateful.)
The first was the having a baby is pure magic, utter joy, uncontainable laughter, and the most humbling and heartbreaking thing ever.
The second was that a bomb was about to go off in the middle of my very happy marriage, and I would be left hanging on for dear life.
It’s funny how we laugh more than we ever have before, and yet we cry way more too. We fight. We don’t make up as often, but we just gloss over it and leave whatever argument it was to simmer under the surface, and we pray for enough grace to forget today tomorrow. We hold hands when we fall asleep and somehow that makes up for all the kisses we’re missing in these full-of-everything days.
We thank the Lord for small mercies, like Veep on Amazon Prime and the last-minute stop on the way home to get a bottle of wine, half of which we’ll drink after our munchkin falls asleep and we’ll unwind our spun-tight minds enough to rest … at least, we’ll rest as much as she lets us.
She won’t remember these days and perhaps that’s a gift, to her and to us - a gift that she won’t see us spitting selfishness at each other over the dinner table, which is piled high with books and beer and Amazon packages and paper towels and all the artifacts of life with a little.
She won’t see us sharpening our words and pointing them like daggers … ready, aim and firing away into our insecure hearts. I complain more than I ever have, and I pray that the Lord will take away all this fear and frustration and fill my mouth and mind with goodness and love and kindness before she’s old enough to understand.
No one told me about sleeping, or bells palsy, or trigimenal neuralgia … no one told me about postpartum anxiety and that almost a year ago today I would be sitting all dressed up in a hospital bed, because maybe if I put on makeup they wouldn’t think I was quite as crazy. One person told me that it was ok to take medicine, and for the peace of mind and saving grace of that I will forever be grateful. (Hil, I’ll never thank you enough.)
No one warned me that a baby was the best and worst kind of bomb, that reorients everything about you … and your marriage.
How many times have I told myself “you can do this, you can do this, you can do this” instead of “we can do this”.
How many times have I measured the number of dirty diapers he changed and assumed they were the measure of his love for me.
But they aren’t, and they can’t be. Because the truth is we’re surviving. He’s giving up more sleep than he should ever have to, and I’m giving up just as much. Because what a baby demands is more than you have, and I am so lucky to have another half to help. Together it feels like we still don’t have enough, but at least we’re in it together.
And I hope one day she does see this, that being in the trenches of dual-career parenting … or even that being in the trenches of life has knit us closer together. That maybe we find in each other the ability to be weak, to complain, to argue and to cry - and we love each other even more because of it.
I hope she sees him every morning, slipping out of bed while I’m in the shower and slowly pouring hot water through the good coffee grounds, turning an ordinary thing like making the coffee into a ritual of care.
I hope she sees us fail well and forgive more.
I am thankful for life with this man, as messy and broken and difficult as it is. A delightful, magical, impossibly adorable bomb went off in our marriage almost 18 months ago. I wouldn’t trade her and this journey for anything in the whole world. She’s our everything, and together the three of us are fighting our way to a new normal, picking up the pieces of me and him and her and weaving them together into a new and precious thing.
When I first found out I was pregnant, I would sing Gungor’s Beautiful Things all the time, half praying that He would make a beautiful thing out of us, no better metaphor for creating a child. And now I look back and think how naive I was to assume that she was the beautiful thing. And of course she is the most beautiful thing, but God was doing more - and the beautiful thing is all of us, together, as a single unit and as three separate ones. What a season. What a gift.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.