Dodging the details and waiting for change

On the second level of our farm house is an unfinished room, all honey-colored studs and rough edged planks. It smells like wood and quiet air that doesn’t move, and when we first moved in, we spent hours talking about what it could become.

The empty room is the upper level A-frame to a kitchen/bathroom/laundry addition that was put on the original farmhouse years ago, but never quite made it onto anyone’s list of priorities. It’s a big space, relatively speaking, and an uncommon find in a house its age.

After we found out baby number four would be joining our family, we did a few calculations. We currently have three bedrooms, only one of which accommodates our average-sized adult bedroom furniture. The other two are modestly minimal. (That’s a nice way of saying TINY. My eldest’s room won’t even hold a queen size bed and allow the door to shut.)

Bear with me. I know this is a privileged problem, and that numerous configurations of brothers and sisters have shared bedrooms since the beginning of time. But the empty room across the hall seemed like such a simple, obvious solution.

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Decision by decision, things came together. Our architect’s original plan to include a bathroom, play room, and bedroom (a roof bump out would be necessary) was pared down to a bedroom and a walled off space for a bathroom… a few years down the road.

Tradesmen walked across the spongy wooden floor and pulled our their measuring tapes, plotting light fixtures and heaters, support beams and closets. My belly began rounding out, and I started pinning nursery and A-frame bedroom ideas. Financing came through, bids were agreed on, and helpful family members assisted us in carrying the miscellany out of my handy, hoarding-prone space.

But, as with any project, there are variables. Schedules. Quiet times. Dreams that can only flesh themselves out by waiting the way this fourth baby waits, suspended in the strange in-between space of darkness and light, emptiness and existence.

That’s how it goes these days. We dangle our toes off the edge of change, my husband and I, bantering about life with four and how our daughters will adjust. We peek in our empty space and try to imagine what it will look like, what will go where. Meanwhile the baby traces his feet in wild patterns against my stomach, as though he too is tired of running in place below my ribs.

Transition is never easy. Waiting requires a certain release, a letting go of when, and how, and what finished will look like. It demands that I have no answer to the question “how is this going to work” when I think about the next year of our lives and the logistics of preschool and shopping carts  and navigating months of sleeplessness.

Change demands that we adjust what we’ve become comfortable with, gulping faith and air alike in the face of the unknown.

It demands trust in a Father God working for our good. 

It asks for belief that even when we feel hard-pressed on every side, we are not crushed. Confused, but not abandoned. Thrown down, but not broken.

Baby boy is due in 25 days. Both his being and bedroom remain unfinished – each in their own stage of becoming – and it’s hard, some days, to let that truth hang in the air. I want to know when. I want to see how.

I want to plan and prepare and paint. I want to lay on my stomach and say yes to jumping on the trampoline in the sprinkler with my giggling wet tribe. I want to hold a baby with my arms instead of my hips. In true Scandinavian fashion, I want to get on with it.

But today, there’s no getting on with anything. Today there’s a floor covered in toys and laundry that’s been haphazardly stacked on the dryer for days. Today there must be something made for family supper. Dishes. Bedtime. An evening meet-up with a friend. None of which has anything to do with having a baby or finishing a bedroom.

And maybe that’s the answer. Because when change comes, it asks us to simply do what needs to be done, until it no longer feels like anything has changed. Maybe this waiting period, this plodding of one foot in front of the other, provides the momentum we need to keep moving once change arrives.

Maybe there’s grace to be found as we release the details and simply wait for our hands to be filled with what comes next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Baby Boy

29 wksSURPRISE!

Today you are 29 weeks and 1 day! Together we are third trimester official, which is kind of a shock even to me. People say time moves at a different pace concerning all things baby. Mostly, they are right.

You are due on July 4th, which means I mostly make corny jokes about Independence Day and your arrival. But seriously. Your daddy and I listed out all the pros and cons of having a birthday on the 4th of July, and as it turns out, everything is pro, and nothing is con. You always have your birthday off of work, as do your family and friends, the weather is awesome, and fireworks.

I know none of my other babies were concerned about their actual due dates, but buddy, I think you should at least consider it.

But before you arrive, I feel like I should talk to you about a few things. Namely, your family. Just so you know, it’s a little wild at our house. You might want to start preparing. I know you can hear us talk (and laugh, shout, sing, and yell) now, but I’m guessing it’s a little hard to tell which sister is blowing fart noises on my stomach as a means of communication with you, so let me make a few introductions.

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You’ve got an oldest sister, Ellis, who’s going to be five in July. She’s going to take her sister/protector role fairly seriously, and she’s going to love you with all of her wide open, nothing-hidden emotions. She’s also going to want to hold you. A lot. I promise to provide pillows.

You’ve also got identical twin sisters, Gabby and Lucy, who are going to be three in July. This might be confusing for a while until you learn how to look for Gabby’s freckle, but don’t worry. It doesn’t take long to see the wonderfully unique parts of their personalities. Gabby, for instance, has a killer dinosaur growl. She’ll be an amazing playmate. And Lucy can sing you ALL the lullabies and nursery rhymes you’ll ever want to hear. If her stuffed animals and dolls are any indication, she’s going to be your personal, nurturing mother bear.

Side note:  Gabby and Lucy are going through this thing right now called the terrible two and threenager years, and enduring it is a little like chewing gravel some days. The good news is we’re going to get through this. The bad news is that we might have mild, family-style PTSD. I promise to take lots of pictures to make up for the fact that I probably won’t be able to remember when you got your first haircut.

jr2If that lineup of affection wasn’t enough, you also have a mama and a daddy who are CRAZY excited to meet you, and to learn the ropes of having a little boy. Raising your three sisters is an amazing thing, but to be given the chance to love and parent a little boy as well is a blessing we are pretty grateful for. Plus, someone has already given us pee-pee tee-pees, so at least we’re prepared on that front.

You also have a village of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends who are eagerly waiting for you to come. These people are basically our tribe, and I know you’ll love them too.

Just one more thing. I haven’t written much for quite a few months, which is kind of strange for a person who processes life through writing. But don’t worry. After you figure out the whole sleeping outside the womb thing, and I remember how to function without an afternoon nap and a 9:30 pm bedtime, we’ll spend more time telling stories together at the computer. I promise.

Sweet baby boy. You are going to be the best bookend to our family. And though it might not look like we are ready, you do have some clothes in a tote, plenty of (mostly pink) baby rockers, swings, play mats, jumperoos, and other crazy gadgets waiting in the basement, and an unfinished attic bedroom that may or may not be done by the time you arrive. Someday we’ll pull it all together.

In the meantime, you are in the process of being knit together, wonderfully made. Your Creator God has plans yet unseen for your life, and your daddy and I are honored to be a part of them, whatever they may be. We’ve chosen you a name, which means strong in faith. We’re praying for grace and wisdom to help you grow into it.

Lastly, I want you to know that being your mama is a gift in the truest sense of the word. Carrying your healthy, judo kicking legs is a blessing. Being able to actively (oh so actively) parent your sisters, go on dates with your daddy, and grow veggies that will hopefully become your baby food here on our little old busted up hobby farm are the earmarks of a life I do not take for granted.

I hope you like it here as much as we do.

Love,

Mama