My daughter brought me to tears today. We were sitting eating lunch and discussing going over to a friend's mom's house later in the day. It was a normal conversation, but her simple and sweet statement left me needing to "get something from the kitchen" before she saw that I was about to lose it.
You see, the friend we were discussing lost her dad when she was sixteen. A parent's death is always a horrible tragedy, but she lost him in one of the worst ways you can lose a loved one. Knowing this and the pain it has brought my friend I was left scrambling when my two year old innocently asked, "Where her daddy?" I recovered quickly and told her, "He's gone, Baby. He went away." She thought about this a moment before replying, "He's probably at work." In her world anytime a daddy isn't around he is at work (now and then he is playing golf, but only rarely). She then went on to say, "She misses him...sometimes she cries for him." Knowing how true those words were broke my heart. Knowing my little one hasn't had to begin to understand that sometimes daddies go away and don't come back is bittersweet. I'm incredibly thankful she doesn't know it and yet I know the day will come when she has to learn that heart wrenching truth, even if it isn't first hand. Her words crushed me anew for my friend's loss as well. I know she has grieved and grown immeasurably from the girl who first lost the most important man in her life, but I don't think anyone finishes grieving a parent's death. It is a continual loss. I heard that in the little voice of my toddler today as she spoke those words, "She misses him...sometimes she cries for him."
I've been remiss. I'm sorry to those of you who follow this blog. Most of you already know why. I've been incredibly busy chasing my precious toddler, going back to work one day a week to help out (the center was having to close that day for lack of a counselor supervisor), and enjoying (for the most part) my pregnancy with our second child. It has been a very exciting time! I am 16 weeks along right now. This pregnancy has been a wonderful, but very different experience than my pregnancy with our first. I can laugh about it more now that I'm in my second trimester, the "sweet spot" of pregnancy. What I've learned so far is:
Being pregnant and the stay-at-home mom of a toddler is exponentially harder than being pregnant with your first while working. I told Peter that being first trimester exhausted while mothering a toddler was the hardest job I've ever had.
Lesson one was very concerning to me considering I want more children so I asked a mom of four how she did it. What I learned was very valuable. She said, "Some days my husband would come home from work and I would tell him, 'Everyone is alive. That's all you can ask of me today." The lesson? You do the best you can and you honor God.
Each pregnancy is different. This can be scary, but it can also be wonderful. It means just because I had some complications last time doesn't mean I'll have them this time. Each pregnancy is similar in other ways. Knowing what to expect this time meant I got to start feeling my little one move weeks and weeks earlier this time. That is one of my favorite parts!
As with all of life, you don't know what you don't know. Be open to learning.
I'm enjoying this pregnancy and trying to take in little moments here and there to enjoy it. This time around I know how quickly it flies by.
Now and then I wonder if I'm doing the right thing staying home and being, as I often hear, "just" a mom. The overwhelming conclusion I come to again and again is yes, this is exactly where I should be and what I should be doing. Recently that answer came to me in the form of a beautiful legacy. On December 28 my friends Phil and Tim (and really Theresa too) lost their mom. I didn't know Phyllis well. I only met her a handful of times, but I have seen and heard the amazing impact she had in her sons' lives and in the lives of their friends. She was a woman who loved the Lord and so she loved others as He did. Phil shared that at Phyllis's memorial friends of his older brother got up and shared how in times their own families turned their backs on them Phyllis was there with a meal, a kind word, or a place sleep. This is the kind of mom I want to be. I want those in my life to know how deeply loved they are. As my daughter (and any other children the Lord may bless us with) grow up I want their friends to know that I care for and support them.
As I thought about this I realized more and more that the women who have made the greatest impact on my life have often been mothers. I don't have the words for all my own mother has taught me and done for me. I can only say that all that she sowed in tears, prayers, and long nights with a broken heart have been used by God to draw me to Him and make me the woman I am today. Some of you may also remember Aldeana who I wrote about last summer. She is impacting lives in new ways even now. These moms remind me why I fight through days I'm exhausted to chase a toddler who is running away in part to learn who she is. I have been blessed to be entrusted with one of the most demanding, challenging, and rewarding ministries out there. I get to be one of the most influential people in my daughter's life and in countless other lives by extension. Thank you, Phyllis, Mom, Aldeana, and all you other remarkable moms who taught me the beauty and unending value of being a mother.
Happy 2010! The new year has begun and the Christmas decorations are coming down. This marks the end of one of my favorite times of year. I love Christmas, but no, that's not what I'm writing about. I'm writing about the week after Christmas. The time that begins late in the day on Christmas and lasts until the decorations are coming down all around town. I love that window of time when the hustle and bustle of preparation is over. When we can breathe easy, have little do do, and just enjoy the Christmas decorations as the old year comes to a close and a new one begins. This little snippet of time each year (or years since it often bridges one to the next) is my favorite time to take my daughter out for a walk. The streets are quiet and the few people we see seem at peace. I think as a rule the decorations should stay up until January 7th. That way the joy of Christmas is carried into the new year and we are able to begin the new with the reminder first of Christ and then of the beauty of just being. Truthfully, I wish it could be this way as Christmas aproaches, but we seem too focused then on the doing & getting of things. For now I'll sadly watch as the lights come down, stubbornly leaving mine up a few extra days, and I'll rejoin the business of life. As I do, I will carry with me the joy of Christ, the wonder in my daughters eyes as she took in all the beautiful Christmas decorations, and the lessons I learned in 2009.