If I'm going to be able to blog at all in the coming weeks (and then months and who knows, years), I must begin to practice the art of "write and post," which is sort of along the lines of "wash and wear."
This will be in contrast to my usual method, which has been to write and agonize, re-write and agonize. Sleep. Re-read and post. Agonize.
I won't have the energy or the time for all that agonizing- which isn't necessary anyway- and I do want to continue blogging, so I will try this way of doing it. Naturally, this means the quality of my blog posts will go down, this post being case in point, one.
Baby is still right where she should be and growing, and we all have hopes she will remain there for the next week and a half, most importantly. After that, whenever she arrives is fine by us.
I have purchased a Moby Wrap. This is an anaconda sized wrapping that is primarily used to torture aspiring moms who wish to "wear their baby."
Clearly, I am one of these crazy dreamers. I have practiced the art of Moby wrapping with a teddy bear and I remain optimistic that I can at least get myself swaddled- I am not entirely sure about Baby.
Seriously though, I want to spend as much time as possible holding Baby, not just because, at this point, I cannot imagine ever wanting to put her down, but also because I want lots of bonding time.
She's spent all this time getting to know her birth mother- her heartbeat, her voice, her moods and rhythms, but soon after birth will be presented with a completely different woman. I know this will be a jarring and painful experience for Baby to go through, so I want to keep her close so she can get to know me. I want to grieve this loss with her and assure her that I love her, just as she is.
We had our preliminary walk through of the house yesterday. It looks beautiful. The paint needs to be touched up and some of the doors stick. Still, the downstairs is full of light from two huge windows and a glass inset into the back door that all look out into our flat, sunny backyard.
I came down the narrow stairs and saw a glimpse of the landscaping through the oval window set by the front door. I realized that if all goes well, I will be seeing that same view day after day as the seasons change, as I carry Baby down the stairs each morning.
We thought we'd be fully moved in the house by this point, when we were looking ahead, so we are way behind schedule and at any time, we could get that call and drop everything and head out of state for the birth.
It amazes me, sometimes, how well Keith and I are managing everything, considering. It would be easy to turn into the calico cats and tear each other to shreds under the stress, but so far we have managed not to do that.
We did have a major argument a few days ago, where we each thought the other was being ridiculously unreasonable and mule-like. In these cases, I have learned to take my anger into the kitchen, where I can vent my frustration without him knowing it.
My husband's anger has an orbital quality to it- it propels him out of the atmosphere where conversation is possible and into some private place of his own and there he remains, circling the issue and burning up rocket fuel until he begins slowly to re-enter earth's atmosphere.
Then we can talk about it. In the meantime, I've learned to validate my own anger privately- this took some time to learn, but it works out better this way, especially because his anger usually triggers my old flight or fight response and I need some space to tell myself that neither of those options are necessary.
Yesterday, Keith came home for lunch and stole one of the chips off my lunch plate.
"If I were in elementary school, I would have taken them all," he told me.
"And that would have meant that you liked me!" I pointed out.
Keith grinned; he stealthily reached over and pulled my entire plate over to his side of the table and then raised his eyebrows at me. I smiled and batted my eyelashes at him.
He can be thankful that we are, indeed, not in elementary school anymore, because if so, my response would have been to leap from my chair, chase him down and pummel him- that's how I would have shown him just how much I liked him in return, back in the day. I was a war-like and yet dreamy little tomboy in my youthful years.
As I was putting things away, Keith came up behind me and put his arms around my waist. "I don't just like you," he murmured, "I love you, you little kitten."
My mother in law called yesterday. During the conversation, she began to tell me about a beautiful experience she had with the love and presence of Jesus- she felt Him draw close and speak lovingly to her.
"....maybe you think I'm crazy," she finished shyly, her voice trailing off, on the other end of the phone line.
Love and good humor rose up in me in the most delightful way. I thought about all the things I could say in response to this, considering my own inner life.
"No, I don't think you're crazy at all," I assured her, my voice rich and sure. "I completely believe you. He does say the most loving things."
"It was... incredible. That's one of your words," she said, shyly. "You use that word a lot."
I burst out laughing. It's so true; I do- that and the word, extraordinary. But I can't help it. So often life is beautiful and incredible and extraordinary.
I watched a TED talk yesterday about a woman who hears voices. All day long, I avoided watching this talk, for fear that I would hear her story and be forced to come to the awful realization that instead of having a rich, inner life with God, I was simply insane, delusional- not that there's anything simple about that.
In fact, I forced myself to watch it just to face the fear, realizing that it would be the only way to be free of it. Five minutes into her story and relief had already filled me. Her story was moving and inspiring, and I could relate to many aspects of her healing journey, but her way of experiencing herself and the world was nothing like my inner spiritual life with God.
Life is just mysterious, full of beauty and pain, brokenness and healing. But I believe the beauty and the love go deeper- this beautiful and living Love is first and will be last, and sometimes, we are drawn into this beauty, this love that is written right into life. Love can open up like a landscape and take our breath away.
When we were in Indiana, my mother-in-law gave me a long belated birthday card- she hadn't been able to send the package, due to the cost. In the card, she'd written that she was so grateful to have a daughter-in-law who "loved the Lord with all her heart," as she had written in her looping handwriting, inside the page.
"Thank you so much," I said gently, putting the card down. "But I was wondering- how do you know? How did you know that I love Him with all my heart? I hardly ever talk about Him."
She leaned across the small card table in her little apartment, her face earnest. "You don't have to say anything," she said firmly. "I can see it in your eyes. It's just the way you are."
I suppose that is something like Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation:
"We all slowly learn how to live in what Thomas Merton would call the True Self- who you are, and always have been, in God. Who you are in God is who you forever are. In fact, that's all you are, and it is more than enough. Everything else is passing away. Reputations, titles, possessions, and roles do not determine our identity. When I hand out the Eucharistic bread I love to say to the assembly, "You become what you eat. Come and eat who you are- forever!" You access Great Truth by absorption and digestion, almost never by analysis or argumentation."
-Richard Rohr, Adapted from Eucharist as Touchstone