So we are officially looking ahead to what our family will be like when it becomes a four-person household. We are only 10 weeks into my 40-week pregnancy, and other than the same easy early pregnancy and mild symptoms, not much is the same about the experience this time around. No nightly conversations and pouring over websites about fetal development and what to expect when you’re expecting. Even limited amounts of speculation about the sex of the baby, other than to mention how easy it would be to pop out another girl. If its a boy I will need to start gathering clothes and redecorating the nursery asap, all that pink has got to go! Its not that we’re unexcited, but the novelty certainly has worn off. A year of basically being a one-income family has left its stain. I spend more time worrying about our budget, me not being able to bring in a little side income with two kiddos at home, tweaking by on Aaron’s income, as if we’re not already scraping by as it is. I’m woebegone about the fact that those first four months of sweet, quiet infancy will be gobbled up by a babbling, running, jumping, laughing, hitting toddler. (sigh) Life was so easy the first time around – Eyre was an angel. We are destined to balance the scales with Baby #2. Sometimes I worry that I will never get out of the house for coffee or some time to write, because it will mean leaving Aaron with a toddler and newborn. Then I have to hit pause because I realize that I’m worrying about things that I can’t control and welcoming negativity into my pregnancy which is something I swore that I would never do. Having children is the best gift in life and such a blessing that there should never be an aura of negativity or a hint resentment around their birth, intentional or not.
The fact that I have been living in emotional survival mode the last several months has taken a toll, and I realize that living in a constant state of fear is no way to live, especially when we are living such a beautiful life together and have so much to be thankful for. A lot of unfortunate things have happened, mostly financial, over the last few months and I can see that I have been gripped by fear of the inevitable unknown and unable to control what is happening to our family. We had been living the insulated life of a two-income household long enough to get used to the security. And I don’t know about you, but I NEED my security blanket. It is the one area of my life that continues to be my struggle against self. I need to feel safe against life. Even if it is a mirage, its a comforting, assuaging mirage. So I am back in that place of self-modulation – shifting the paradigm back to a healthy place, off of my shoulders and back into God’s hands. I had forgotten the discipline of gratitude – that my thankfulness CAN transcend my circumstance. I heard a quote this morning by G.K. Chesterton that said “Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” I have let my fear inhibit me from feeling the awe of what God is doing in my life and the lives of others. My disappointment or feelings of being out of control made me often incapable of being moved by the beautiful love of my husband and the joy of my one-year-old daughter. As I begin to crack the surface again, I can see that this brief season has forced me to walk closer to path of others who struggle financially or feel like they can’t seem to get a break in life.
Even something so minute as our dryer being broken for months has put me into the realm of other families who live paycheck to paycheck and spend hours at the laundromat each week, dragging their kids behind them. I began to appreciate that I was doing life alongside people whom I might otherwise never come into contact – the people that sometimes fall out of view when people move to the suburbs or start shopping at Whole Foods. There was a moment as I was folding my bedsheets that I thought the woman talking on her cellphone and putting a dollar in the change machine could be thinking, “Why is everything going wrong? How am I going to pay for that?” and feeling forgotten by everyone, even overlooked by God. It takes being intentional to be close to the needs of other, but life without compassion isn’t worth living. I’ve been expending so much energy on worrying about myself that I haven’t been thinking about others. Self-preservation does nothing more that cause you to focus inward instead of outward. Its a tough lesson to learn – again. And Lord willing, when a day comes that life deals us a good hand, our family will already have learned the importance of keeping our eyes and our hearts open so we don’t forget what it is like to struggle.