Is this your first?
In the past 2.5 weeks, I’ve been asked five times. Always by strangers, of course. Once was a door-to-door vaccuum salesman for Kirby. (Those things are impressive! I didn’t know what I was getting into when I let them in, and I had been home all week while Curtis was at school, so I was bored. It killed time before I picked him up from the airport. I still wish I’d bought one.)
I’m sure it’s happening because I finally look pregnant and not just squishy, but it catches me off guard.
Sometimes, I lie.
Sometimes, I feel awkward and make it more awkward.
But in my head, I know.
Not our first.
You might think that holding on to Riley as our third could diminish the celebration of his coming arrival. Not so. There is a multiplying effect that happens, I think, with people we love, instead of a division like we might fear. Nothing is split into thirds, there’s just three times as much as before last year.
When I shared our nursery plans here yesterday, it didn’t take long before I felt a little worried. Mostly I worry for any of you who, because of your own journey, might find nursery planning painful. Because I rarely write about foofy mommy stuff, I could see it catching you off guard in the worst way. And if that happened, I am sorry.
Since the ‘first’ question began coming my way I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea of taking steps of faith. It’s not a phrase I usually use. When I was a kid, we’d go to camps with high ropes courses, and I remember the ‘leap of faith’–a trapeze set several feet above and away from the top of a telephone pole. You climbed the pole and jumped for the trapeze. But I don’t know when I last said something was a step of faith.
It took me more than a month from the time I found out I was pregnant again to pray for Riley. I prayed about him. But I was praying for us. I prayed, “Please keep this child growing until December. I want to hold this child, alive (in case that wasn’t clear, God), in December. December. Got that?”
The closest I could come was one line, “Use this child’s life to glorify your name.” No matter how long or short that life is. That I could pray.
Then God, very gently, nudged me to actually pray for my child. Now, if you hear God’s leading in complete sentences every morning over a cup of tea, good for you. That is a rare thing for me, friends. But God said, “Stop praying for yourself in case this child dies and start praying for your child.”
So I did. For their friends, their vocation, their future spouse if they should marry.
Then I went back to the one line I could manage. But I allowed my heart to expand to the idea that maybe this child’s life will be as long and full as I hoped.
Step of faith.
One day I started looking for some necessities on Craigslist, just browsing, tip toeing into the whole idea of baby stuff. When I found exactly what I wanted for a deal that couldn’t be passed up, I debated. This was a big baby purchase, and it was as early as before. In fact, the weekend I went into labor, I had planned to buy our car seats and double stroller, also from Craigslist. Was I crazy to pick this stuff up now?
But we bought the car seat. And the stroller. The exact kind I wanted with adjustable handles for our height (I’m 5’11”) and a cup holder for Diet Coke.
And then we needed to have a shower when I was only 21.5 weeks pregnant, just three weeks further along than last time. But our hosts had a six year old promise and they would be leaving for college soon.
I debated about that shower, worried it was too early to celebrate like that. One of the hardest parts of losing the girls was undoing the pieces of my life that were caught up in the hope of them, especially the tangible ones. Mail still comes from the list I got put on when I bought my first maternity pants.
So to have memories of a party for a baby I might not get to keep, to bring home presents–tiny cups, blankets, onesies–it just seemed too risky. I wasn’t sure I was ready to let those objects in again.
But we had a shower.
Step of faith.
Now those gifts, love in the tangible form of a bear or a baby wipe or a board book, are in my home. And I debated about putting them in the nursery-to-be. We had very few things in that room last time, and I sobbed as I hid them in the closet and closed the door, blocking at least one source of pain. This time, there’s already too much stuff to be tossed in a closet in a few minutes. Maybe it should stay in the garage?
Taking a step of faith isn’t some sort of divine bargaining tool, something I do that lets me say to God, “I’ve stepped out in faith so you have to come through how I want you to.” God does not owe it to me to work how I want him to in this world. And if he does not, he is not less good or less faithful or less kind.
But it can feel like that, when it happens. Taking a step of faith, for me, means living my real life on the ground as if God really is as good, faithful, and kind as I claim in my head.
So the nursery is happening this weekend. Art on order, crib in a box, furniture moving from one room to another, paint on the walls.
Step of faith.