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Saturday, September 19, 2015

10 Years of Pain, Joy, and Miraculous Motherhood

Ten years ago today I lay waiting in a glaring white room for a woman in blue to pull life from me.

I wondered what motherhood would be like. Why I, a clumsy 34-year-old graphic designer, should be deemed capable of carrying a tiny mind and body into the world of sunshine, rainbows, money, cancer, fast drivers, prejudice, snobbery, class wars, and hate speak.

I had practiced opening complex strollers, I had installed car seats according to regulations, I had taken breastfeeding classes, and read the books about what to expect. But could I adapt to another human’s needs, to the actions, surprises, words, and expectations that waited in the millions of minutes ahead?

My body stretched flat, with a giant hill rising. My eyes stared at the sheet, shielding me from all that I should not see, and my ears prepared my mind for the sound of cries. My husband stood wondering, fingers wrapped through mine, as the woman in blue prepared the surface for her knife.

Ten years ago, when I saw my boy’s screaming lips enter the light, when his cheek brushed against mine for the first time, my laughter played like a violin in that white room.  My tears were honey. It was as though the essence— the miracle of life and truth grabbed my shoulders and shook. My uncertainty about God and goodness flew away as swiftly as the cries of my boy, disappearing on the horizon of the spinning planet. 

But as the winds blew outside the big window of my hospital bed, I did not know.

I did not know about the heart surgery, the medications, the snobs, the clicking heels, the big cars, the teachers, the rejections, the pastor, the relatives, the liars, the lawyers, the tutors, the therapists, the bullies, the judges, the shame, and the fingers that would point across classrooms and soccer fields and playgrounds, pulpits, and the internet.

I didn’t know about the humbling, the wanting, the needing, the hoping, the praying, the angels, the laughter, the joy, the inspiration, and the grace of compassionate teachers, pastors, friends, husbands, sisters, mothers, schools, charities, therapists, and God. 

I did not know about the words, the ideas and the passion that this baby would scrape, and cut, and yank from me.

As my boy meets this 10-year-mark, I kiss the back of his messy head. It is moving along its own path now. And I’m praying. May I watch and learn and listen to all that I do not know, like I would if I were to observe a dove hovering over my heart. May I wrestle with the struggles that meet me with certainty, while I keep site of the magnificent gifts stamped within them.

I think the beauty of motherhood, and babies, and children is in the pain, the quiet beauty, and the hope that is revealed to us, especially as we struggle.

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