Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Embracing the chaos

Since I got pregnant back around December, I've had a difficult time picking up a book.  During the first trimester, the thought of reading made me nauseous.  Weird.  Then after that, I just couldn't get into any book.  I started several over the next few months, but never finished any.

But finally, after seven or so months, I've been able to get back into the enjoyment of reading.  It's kind of a silly time, though, because the baby is due next week and I'm sure I'll be laying my books back down for awhile!

Right now I'm about halfway through the book Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry.  It's about a woman looking back on her life.  The book is very calming and quiet; there's no action or adventure.  Unless you count just the day-to-day living, which, when you think about it, is the adventure of life.

Let me take a detour.  Like most of you know, our third child is due soon.  It's been four and a half years since we've had a newborn in the house.  So, you can probably understand that I've been thinking a lot about the coming weeks and months.  The crying, the sleepless nights, the general chaos of having a new baby, in addition to two other children.  There are moments when I feel overwhelmed thinking about it because I know there will be many overwhelming moments.  I remember.

Anyway, as I was reading Hannah Coulter, I came across this:
"This is the story of my life, that while I lived it weighed upon me and pressed against me and filled all my senses to overflowing and now is like a dream dreamed."  (p.5)
How perfect the author describes life.  While you're living it, it can feel so full and chaotic, especially when you're raising children.  And raising children is such a huge chunk of our lives.

But, like I've heard a thousand times, the moments are fleeting.  At the end of our story, we'll look back and it will all seem like a dream.

My mother-in-law pointed out recently that, looking back, some of her most memorable moments were the tough, seemingly chaotic times.  This is so true.

I think back to when Izzy (6) was a baby.  She was a very fussy baby early on.  I remember we had a big exercise ball and sometimes the only way to get her to calm down was to bounce on that ball while holding her.  At the time, it was frustrating.  But now, we look back on that memory with fondness.  It's a memory that we've shared with Izzy, smiling and laughing about it.

Izzy was also a terrible car rider (terrible may be too strong a word, but I can't think of a lesser one at the moment).  I remember driving home at night from visiting family, Izzy wasn't quite one yet, and we had to stop at a dinky little church and get her out because she had been screaming and screaming in the car.  The minute we got her out, she was fine.  Another fond memory we've shared with her.

Addy (4) tested us a lot at bedtime.  When she was between one and two, we would check on her to see if she was laying down in her crib.  We would walk in, she would be standing up then BAM!, she would see us and dive down onto the mattress.  Oh, how irritated I would get!  But now we laugh.

I remember so many of those nights when the girls were newborns.  I would get up with them in the middle of the night, change their diapers, feed them, pat them back to sleep, lay them down in the bassinet, then WHAAAAA!  Nope, not asleep.  So I would pick them back up, and it would be like starting over trying to get them asleep again.

I could go on and on, but you get my drift.  These moments are not easy.  But this is life.  The good, the (seemingly) bad.  These are the moments that we remember.  These are the moments we share.  These are the moments that help shape us into who we will become.

And these are the moments to be cherished and embraced.

(Now, somebody remind me of this in about two weeks, HA!)

Oh, and since some of you will complain that I didn't put any pictures in my post (you will remain nameless, but you know who you are), here are a couple of pics from back in the day: