18 September 2014

In the thick of it

It was a sobering thought I thought last night, but a true one:

If parenting was a marriage, I would be divorced already.

Not because I don't love my kids, but because it is so hard. And if I could get out of it somehow (without anyone getting hurt, you know), I totally would. Right now, as Ezra adjusts to a new normal (that is also constantly changing, since infants never stay the same for long), and Judah adjusts to life on the outside, I am trying to remember how to be underwater and not drown.

I lost myself for a while with Ezra. I don't think it was a hormonal depression; I think it was the new levels of grace required to be a mom. I am fine with accepting grace and mercy for the things I do to me, because it's my life my sin screws up. Even when I sin against my friends and family, they're adults; they can take it to me and/or the Lord. I may reopen old wounds, but it's unlikely I can hurt a grown up in a way they've never been hurt before.

With my kids, it's so different. I make wounds where there was wholeness. And, while I know there is so much mercy and grace available to me as a mother to my boys, I don't want to take it because I deserve to be miserable for hurting them. So self-condemnation is my food, and despair clothes my days, because how can I undo what I have done?

This root goes so deep into my life that I don't think it will come up with one firm tug. But I don't want dreading every tomorrow to be what I look back and remember from this season. Instead, I'm trying to memorize Psalm 134:

Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord who minister by night in the house of the Lord.
Lift your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.
May the Lord bless you from Zion, he who is the Maker of heaven and earth.

God (and every mom of a newborn) knows I am ministering by night, and our house may not be a temple, but it is a house of the Lord. I need to remind myself that I am:
(1) a servant of the Lord, and not of my children. God is my master, and I look to him for direction and affirmation.
(2) ministering to the Lord. It is hard, so hard for me to remember that it matters to God that I make Judah's wipe solution or help Ezra put his underwear back on. It ministers to his heart when I do the thousand mundane tasks that make up my whole life right now. I need to remind myself to wear my invisible ephod (and tassels!), because these hands that wipe bottoms all day are holy.

04 September 2014

New Mom, Not-New Mom

Ezra is three and a half now; it feels like a long time since I was the mom of a newborn. So it's been fun to step back and think of ways in which is feels like old hat and ways in which it feels totally new.

Old hat: I never forgot nursing all the time and it taking forever
As if it had never happened to me before: the pain of beginning to breastfeed again. I didn't forget, but I DID NOT REMEMBER. Probably bc the horrors didn't even last a week.

Old hat: not leaving the house for days. Days. And having to find new times to do normal life things, like shower and put on deodorant.
Completely new: putting my newborn on a pillow in the bathroom because I can't trust my preschooler to not hug him to actual death.

Old hat: newborns are so tiny, but still pretty sturdy.
Never before would I have said Ezra was big, but over the course of a weekend (the one after which Judah was born), he must have grown a foot and like 20 pounds, because he is enormous now. He's still in the 20th percentile for 3 year olds, but apparently 3 year olds are huge.

Old hat: no schedule, no routine, just the whims of an infant.
Bewilderingly new: why are you crying? Stop crying, please. Just fart or burp or poop and feel better. Or are you actually hungry? You don't even know, do you?

Old hat: new parent doting. [srsly tho, my baby's beautiful.]
All new: being super in love with Judah and still really focused on our adoption. Like, now that we can do something, let's get this thing done.

Part of that new parent Crazy is trying to make me feel guilty, like "why isn't Judah enough to focus on? He's going to be hurt forever because you weren't satisfied with him right now." No, Crazy, we're not playing these games this time. You can just shut up.

26 August 2014

Judah

I laughed as Judah was born; I didn't remember until my midwife's apprentice reminded us. That is NOT to say my labor was peaceful or joyful or even positive. It was intense to the point of overwhelming for several hours (for those who understand these things, I went from being 3 cm dilated to Judah being born in just over 4 hours). I told Stephen during my labor (I believe shortly after vomiting) that if we were ever to get pregnant again, we're going to the hospital and they're stabbing a needle in my back (I've since begun to reconsider, but I make no promises either way).

 Judah was born "en caul": with the amniotic sac ("bag of waters") unbroken. That wasn't because we made a decision not to break my water; there just wasn't time - the contraction I had just after my midwife checked my dilation was the same contraction during which his head was born. Luckily, I was able to wait for another contraction for the rest of him to be born.

And that's why I laughed - the joy of a thing completed, particularly something inconvenient (he was born at 3:41am in the worst time of year for people who minister to college students), painful, and long-awaited.

It's weird to have a new baby again, when we've been so long expecting our next child to be adopted as a... not-baby (could be toddler or older, but not a baby). It's also a strange feeling to be elated that he's here, and yet still feel the lack of our little A. Judah has two older siblings, but one is missing from all the photos. It's hard to wrap my heart around sometimes.

Still, it's a comfort, really; it reminds me in my heart that God hasn't closed the door to adoption for us. We don't know if we'll have more biological children, but our family is certainly not complete. As we adjust to being a family of four (as in, wait, when do I take a shower now?), I confess I already think of us as a family of five - and expectant family, still. We are still in gestation, and there is no estimated due date yet. As one wait is over, my earnest hope is that I'll continue to wait well on this much longer-deferred hope: to cast my cares at God's feet; to be thankful for His many ways of protecting, loving, and caring for us; and to receive God's peace (instead of being petulant. Yes, petulant).
Judah Titus; 8/15/14; 7lbs, 14oz; 20.5"; ours.

16 July 2014

Umm, oops. . .

Sorry for the radio silence. In the past two months, I've decided to make a career change, started and finished a college class, gone to Colorado with my parents and Ezra, gone to Crystal Beach with Stephen's family, and organized (and prodded and kept Ezra out of the way) the addition of a dishwasher into our home (which didn't have a dishwasher before, making it quite the job). All of this while Stephen has gone out of town to raise support at least ten times.

I have also been CRAZY nesting. Pushing my body to its limit moving stuff and cleaning and organizing and finally having an epiphany about it. I am trying to make myself feel ready to have a newborn and a rambunctious three-and-a-half-year-old at the same time. The transition to motherhood was very difficult, and only in the past nine months have I really been working through the issues that surfaced after E was born. They generally revolve around me feeling wholly incompetent to parent, so having another kiddo is. . . scary. We'll leave it at that.

On top of that, we should receive the referral of a child we are considering adopting any day now (though it's been "any day" for a week and a half already). So much change and upheaval and uncertainty; no wonder I'm trying to control the one place that I can.

That being said, I'm off to the baby room, to throw more things away and make more space (for a person who won't measure two feet long. Hormones are crazy pills).

29 April 2014

Parenting Insight.

I got it this morning: why staying at home is really hard for me, especially right now. You see, of the five love languages (words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch & closeness, acts of service, and gifts), acts of service is the one I speak least. Like I do not speak it at all. [so if you do something to serve me but don't cue me in that you're doing it out of love, I'll probably thank you but won't feel loved by it.]

But acts of service is all I do for this kid, you know? And man, it's awesome when he says thank you, but it is horrible when he can't even be happy about it. Not just not acknowledge it, but seems to look for something to be unhappy about it. YOU SUCK ALL MY ENERGY, CHILD. Not just because you're rambunctious (I pretty much like that, except when you hurt me), but because you require me to constantly go against my personality with almost nothing in return.

To top that off, gifts is my #1 (luckily I speak other ones, or my marriage would be a shambles; Stephen is not a natural-born-gift-giver). And a 3-year-old is not really capable of thinking of something I like and then giving it to me.

And on top of all that, I'm very fun-oriented. I'm not a particularly driven person, not a high achiever (it seems exhausting, honestly). And it seems like this 3-year-old is intent on finding ways to not have fun. He asks me to stop the water in his bath, and when I do, he falls apart that I stopped the water. What am I supposed to do with that? YOU LOVE BATH TIME. HAVE A GOOD TIME. WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU. You need to stop spitting/screaming or you'll have to get out of the bath.

So whew this stage is particularly hard. I am glad I had that insight this morning; it doesn't change my situation, but still, more awareness can help me manage my own behavior when my son clearly is having trouble managing his.