Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Oh, Baby!

I had a flashback the other day, sparked, interestingly enough, by a birthday notification on Facebook. Most of you know that Ben and I have known each other for essentially our entire lives. We were always in the background of each other’s lives. If you look through pictures of each of our childhoods, you’ll see glimpses of this—there Ben is standing behind me on the bleachers during a Christmas play at church, there I am on the sidelines in photos of Ben’s AWANA years. Church was our common ground, so when we made the decision to begin dating we wanted the church to be a part of our relationship. The easiest way for us to do this was to get an important role model to both of us involved—our youth pastor Jeremy Nelson! His recent birthday brought back a sweet memory, although one that was not always so fondly remembered. I went in for a meeting once with a Jeremy and a few other people and I was the first to arrive. Ben and I had only recently begun dating and Jeremy said something like this: “So, you and Ben are dating now, huh? I think that’s great! I think it’s awesome that you’re ready to look forward to being a wife and a mother!”

Now, those were not his exact words, but I do know that he mentioned both marriage and parenthood, which at the time completely freaked me out. I was only fifteen, for crying out loud! Thinking about walking down the aisle and having kids with someone I had only just begun dating terrified me—but it did get me thinking. We all know that relationships—especially high school relationships—end in one of two ways: eventually it ends heartbreak or it leads to the wedding alter. With this in the forefront of my mind, I began to wonder if it was worth it to jump into a relationship. My dad had spoken similar words that had me thinking along the same lines, words that up until recently didn’t make sense to me.

Date for marriage.

My fifteen year old brain did not understand this. Did he mean date with the intention of getting married? Who would tell their fifteen year old to do this? It wasn’t until later that I understood that he meant to date in such a way that my eventual husband would be honored. We had no way of knowing that Ben would one day become that husband, of course, but I think all of us are glad he did!

The thought of being married and a parent is of course not so terrifying to me now. Well…the married part isn’t…the parent part is still a foreign concept to me! God has richly blessed us in the last year with a wonderful full-time job for Ben and a new house, and with these two blessings we began to plan. We planned for foster children to enter our house soon. We planned to build a fence in our backyard and bring a puppy home to run around and make messes in.

God planned for us to have a baby, instead!

We are of course thrilled to welcome this little Whitley into our home. Being a mom is the one thing I have always been sure that I wanted to do. Before I wanted to be a writer, before I wanted to be a social worker, I wanted to be a mom. (Ask my own mother how many hours were spent rocking and tucking in baby dolls in our house!) But this does not mean we’re not overwhelmed and scared—but I suppose every new parent to be feels the same way! Things are going to get tricky. I have one year of school and an internship to get done in the midst of being a new mom and I am overwhelmed by the decisions and purchases that need to be made before we can bring our little button home with us. I will be the first to admit that I dip slightly into the “Type A” Personality Type. I love lists and being organized. I am a planner, which if you’ve been watching my Pinterest activity over the past few weeks you’re probably smiling and laughing. I’ve pinned so many lists and plans about baby needs and delivery that I’ve lost count. I just want to be prepared! I want to be organized and on top of everything.

God always has a way of bringing just the right amount of chaos into my life to help me balance myself out, however. Last week Ben and I discovered quite a bit of water seeping into our newly carpeted basement, which forced me to reevaluate how I respond to negative events in my life. We have two girls living in our basement this summer, and the water caused the girls to take residence elsewhere—one of those places being my living room floor! Suddenly four people were stuck upstairs, using the same bathroom, and we were all a bit frustrated by the situation. I could have easily whined and pouted (okay…maybe I did to my husband just a teeny bit) but what would have been the point? I watched my dad, Ben, and a good friend tackle the water and I knew the queen sized ben laying in the middle of the floor wouldn’t be there forever. Sooner or later things were going to go back to normal—and it wouldn’t be because of me stressing out and being upset.

Guess what? The basement is dry and everything is back in its place! Well, sort of. I have been experiencing some of the worst days of pregnancy so far, and I am just not feeling like myself. Remember how I told you I like to plan things? That includes our meals for the week, but being so sick and tired and has made doing so much harder. Pregnancy brain is a real thing, folks—I am forgetting things left and right. Normally I would stress all day if I knew I didn’t have a dinner plan, but recently I have been able to shrug it off and say “Ya know, I got through this day in one piece and I kept everything in my tummy! That’s good enough for me. Pizza Hut is on speed dial anyway!”

It has been freeing to allow myself to relax. To let the clutter in the closet build up and be able to just shut the door and make the decision to not let it bother me. To forget about dinner plans and tell Ben to take me out for the second time this week. To realize that when a baby comes into our home, the organized life that I have planned for us on Pinterest is probably not going to be a reality.

But you know what? I am so happy that organized home will probably never be a reality for us. Because when I think back on the life my mom and dad gave me, I don’t remember organized closets and Tupperware that had matching lids. I remember sitting around the table laughing and sharing meals that had most likely been thrown together by my amazing mom after a day of laundry and loving on her kids. I remember snuggling down to family movie nights and thinking, “This is what the word ‘security’ means. I remember my dad tickling my nose with my pink blanket and teaching me how to pray to Jesus as he tucked me in at night. I remember love. Chaos. Clutter. Security. Safety. Jesus.

I want to give our little button those things. I want to forget all about what I think I need to do and focus instead on what God has called me to do. To love the little life he has blessed us with and raise this child to bring glory to his name.

I can hardly wait to get started.

 The actual due date in January 15th!

 Mom has nooooo idea that in a few weeks she will feel very much not like herself! Still enjoying lots of energy and a good appetite at six weeks

Baby at 7 weeks old! We thought you were a bit older and are bummed we have to wait a few more weeks to meet you. You'll be worth the wait, though!

Still smiling despite the exhaustion and morning (wait, no. It's ALL DAY) sickness! Baby is 11 weeks on tomorrow!

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