I really don’t know what has happened to me. In the past few weeks it seems that at the drop of a hat my eyes fill with tears. Sure I’ve gone through some heart wrenching circumstances already in 2010, but I have never been one to cry very easily. Even my dad and my sweet hubby cry in sad Little House in the Prairie episodes before I do!
But my goodness I’ve had a lot of tears lately. Yep, I’m admitting it….I’ve already had tears in my eyes this morning. I found tears in my eyes this morning as I walked around a park in this beautiful May weather with my daughter. As I watched her play, I kept thinking, “where did the past five years go?”
You see, I chose not to ‘share’ my daughter with a preschool teacher. She has learned how to write her name while we sat together drinking coffee at Starbucks. Her love for reading has come from our hours spent laying in bed together reading before she took a nap. And of course her running ability has flourished as we have raced each other miles and miles around the park.
I had the thought this week…This is not at all the life I had planned for myself 15 years ago. I know this will sound terrible to some of you…but I never really liked being around kids. Even when I was a child, I hung around older kids and the adults. As a teenager, I realized very quickly that I hated babysitting and volunteering in the preschool/children’s areas at church. I dutifully volunteered to help in Vacation Bible School each summer, but counted down the days until it was over.
I’m not sure how theological the phrase “God has a sense of humor” is, but it IS quite hilarious that God led me to marry a man who would be a children’s minister for 6 years. I had always told everyone that I wasn’t a ‘kid’ person and that IF I married I would adopt kids that were at least 12 (naïve statement, huh?)…but actually I was quite serious about it!
When Joe and I had only been married a year, I found out I was pregnant. I can remember taking the at-home pregnancy test and calling my big sister first (the baby/kid lover) and asking her “What do I need to do? Does this really mean I am going to have a baby?” I don’t remember her exact response, but I’m sure it was sarcastic (that’s just how our loving family rolls when someone asks a silly question!).
At my sister’s advice, I sat up a doctor’s appointment and he confirmed the fact that I was pregnant. I had such mixed emotions. I couldn’t really decide what I was feeling. Disappointment….because this changed all my plans. Excitement… would he look like me or she act like Joe! Nervousness…I hadn’t a CLUE what to do with a baby.
Within a few weeks, all the emotions turned to sadness. The pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. After I saw the sonogram and there was no heartbeat I remember going home and sitting on my front porch with my journal and pleading with God for the baby’s life. I remember asking God to forgive me for having been disappointed that my life’s plans were going to have to change because I was going to have a baby.
It is at that point that my heart began to change. God began to place in my heart a deep desire to have a child of my own. I knew this was from God because it was a feeling I had never had before.
Joe and I decided that indeed we both wanted to begin having children. What we didn’t know is that the next two years would be filled with many tears as we went through two more miscarriages in our attempts to get pregnant.
Finally after over two years of waiting…we held our son. I remember looking into his eyes and telling him that we had been waiting such a long time for him!
I could fill a book with funny stories of my first year of motherhood….quite a lot to learn for someone who had never changed a diaper before! However, I grew to love being a mother. I had found contentment in my new life as a mom.
Why is it that when someone has their first child, it only takes about 6 months for people to begin asking, “So when are you going to have number 2?” When people asked me this question I was very serious in my quick response of, “at least 5 years!”
So you can imagine the shock when in the same month our son celebrated his first birthday, we found out that indeed there would be a number 2 much sooner than planned.
Another baby did not fit into our plan for that year. We had it in our plans to buy our first home. After having worked for six years on a Master of Divinity from seminary, I was on track to graduate by December (just a few days before #2 would be due!).
Once again, the pregnancy brought mixed emotions. Again I was nervous. I had learned how to mother one baby, but felt very inadequate to take care of two babies under the age of two. Again I was a bit disappointed. I did not see how I would possibly get to graduate like I had planned. And there was excitement mixed in the emotions…will it be a boy or a girl? Honestly I was hoping for a boy…the frugal side of me knew it would mean I wouldn’t have to buy much and being a tomboy I just seem to click better with boys than girls.
By the sheer grace of God, that December I was able to graduate seminary and the next week I gave birth to my daughter (so much for hand me downs!).
That was five and a half years ago. Not the five and a half years that I had planned they would be. But today as I watched my daughter play at the park, I was reminded of what wonderful years they have been. As I thought toward August and her first day of Kindergarten, my eyes began to fill with tears.
Though I am a planner and feel very secure when things go according to plan, I must admit….most of the best things in my life are things for which I did not plan!
By the way…my parents weren’t planning on me either! I was reminded of that today as I drove around in a Volkswagen Beetle rental car that I’m driving while my car is in the shop. As the story goes (you never know how much of it is true because those of you who know my dad know that he likes to embellish things!)…..My parents bought their family of four their very first new car…a Volkswagen Beetle. And an ‘unplanned’ baby #3 (that would be me!) forced them out of that car they loved.
So, today as things don’t go the way you planned, remember…Life’s biggest joys often come in the things that weren’t a part of our plan. I tell my parents that all the time…I’m much more fun than a Volkswagen!