Thursday, October 31, 2013

What it Takes

2nd Trimester started this week.
The nausea (in particular, the middle of the night nausea), aversions and gagging unfortunately have not left with it. That's been disappointing. Though I do seem to recall that 14 weeks was not the magic number during my pregnancy with Aquaman. It was 16 weeks. So there's still hope.

"Freezie Friday" at the pool
But something wonderful DID happen at the start of the 2nd trimester.
The brain fog began to lift.
For the first time in a long while, this Monday morning I came to work  with a clear head.
It wasn't just the lack of caffeine all this time (still can't stomach even the smell of coffee).
That was a relief, and a sign of things to come.

The weather was hot, and it cooled off beautifully, and now it's kind of hot again.
But the end of that is in sight too. The humidity is all but gone. And another cooldown comes round by the end of this weekend. All in all I am nothing but excited about the prospect of November.

How is it November again?

A hug that Aquaman didn't want. He gets those a lot from his little brother.

Last week, Aquaman came home with his first report card, and this week, JT and I attended our first ever parent/teacher conference.
There should probably be a rule about having your first parent teacher conference when you're pregnant. It's not a fair representation of who you really are.
The teacher did nothing but talk about how wonderful Aquaman is, and all I could do was try to keep the tears from spilling out of my eyes, and my voice from cracking.

It was about as great as any first conference could go. I am so proud of our little guy. I am relieved to know, that at least with the first one, though there will certainly be moments and times, school seems like it's going to be a rather smooth process.

I dreaded public school. Almost from the moment I knew I was pregnant, and that I would have no choice but to be a working mother.
Especially from the moment I knew I would be having a boy. I still have my serious doubts in the overloaded system, but so far it has been nothing but a positive experience for our son.

He is good at fitting into what is expected of him.Though many many things have not been easy for him, school, for the most part, is not going to be hard for him. That's a relief.

The growth I have seen in him since he started is breathtaking. I go back and forth between wondering if he just hit some magical age of maturity, or if being in this structured setting is what is bringing all of this out in him. I think it's both.
But there is something about the independence of it. His realizing he is capable of standing on his own two feet. Of being someone outside of just our son. He's always been shockingly confident in who he is as a person, what he likes and dislikes. He's also always second guessed his actual abilities. Now he's finding that he can stand the test.

His teacher said she handed him a book and told him he could read it. He turned bright red, and told her: "but I CAN'T read." and then proceeded to read the entire thing to her.
He complains that his writing is slow, but that is because he refuses to rush through and do it haphazardly. He erases and works until it looks good, even if he misses some free center time.
I admire him in that. I never had that kind of patience.
playing with crab bait with his friend from school.
Last week he chose the art center, and made his teacher a purple heart, and left it on her desk.
"hearts mean love", he told me later.
This week, she said he asked for it back, and then proceeded to write: "I love you!" on it. She said he "put an exclamation point at the end because that means you're really excited about something."
How would that not make a pregnant mother cry? I mean, seriously, not fair.
I love that boy, and all that he is becoming.
But one of my favorite parts of the night was overhearing JT talking about the conference with Aquaman afterward. He was telling him all the good things the teacher had said about him, but at the end he said "but you know, even if school was very hard for you and you weren't good at it, we'd still be so proud of you."
"I KNOW!" said Aquaman, and I could almost hear the eye roll.
I love my family.

I love the way Aquaman colored his toenails with a blue pen.

And the way the Dude so painstakingly painted only the very top of his pumpkin.

I love that after we finished painting our pumpkins, and set back to look at them, they admired my swirled up colored pathetic looking pumpkin as if it was a work of art, and said they wished they could paint as well as me, even though mine didn't look any different from theirs.
Just because I made it, so it must be something special.

I love the way JT let the Dude ride on his back while we carved our goofy looking pumpkin that ended up growing mold after 3 days, and didn't even make it to Halloween.

With the lifting of the brain fog, the lingering pukey feeling, and the unpredictible emotions, this week I fully entered the "am I good enough?" phase of pregnancy.
You know, the one where you wonder if you have any right to have another child.
Are you providing well enough for the ones that you already have? Will you be able to care for them all adequately? Give them the proper attention?

Keep them all clean?? (especially if it's another boy, no wait, especially if this one's a girl!)

I also exited that phase this same week.

I'm not good enough.
And I don't have to be.

We considered briefly a move to a bigger home on the mainland when we found out we were expecting this one. By briefly, I mean about 5 minutes. Thankfully we were on the same page about that. We love the schools here. We love our neighborhood. Our proximity to our church. We love our little cozy townhome.

It's not for everyone to live in a 2 bedroom with 3 small children.
But for us, it just feels right.

All it really means is you have to have less stuff. And we don't have the money for much stuff anyway.

We always said we were going to fill our home with people, and not things.

I do struggle sometimes in finding the balance between wisdom and faith in these things.
But as in parenting in which I choose to err on the side of grace, in life choices, I have chosen to err on the side of faith.

It seems that the more we step out, the more reassurance God gives us.
Maybe it is just my emotions, but I have been seeing over and over again the gift of God's provision lately.
Some of it has come financially: a paycheck I forgot was coming the same week my car had to have some major repairs.
Some of it has come emotionally: an email from my boss, copied to her boss, thanking me for the work that I do under the radar, at the exact same moment that I was sitting at my desk, battling the nausea, wondering if anything I do really matters at all.
The sweet nursery workers at church raving about how adorable and helpful my boys are when I came to pick them up, feeling lonely and isolated because my husband was at work again.

This has been a wonderful, incapacitating pregnancy, in that God has shown me his favor and his grace over and over again, even as I struggle to maintain my composure, and keep one foot in front of the other.
He has reminded me that ALL the gifts we have been given are directly from Him. And an outpouring of His love.
We have been given so many gifts. The incalculable gift of childcare from our parents. Financial gifts galore.
Sometimes I am humbled by that, and almost ashamed by that.

"But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day."

Then He reminds me that it's all a gift from Him. Not just the many gifts we have been given by other people, but the ability to go to work.

The ability to provide for our family is NEVER from our own hand.

It's all from Him.

"He is no fool to give what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
-Jim Elliott

And none of it is really ours either.
Not the stuff, not the money, not those precious little boys riding the Digger, or the littlest one that every so often reminds me that he/she is there with a sudden flip.

We can't keep it. And we can't keep them. But we can invest it in the things of God. And we can invest the love of God into them.
That's all we can really do.
And I know I can do that.
By the grace of God, I can do that.

This year started out so hard. I had the vision that it would be a hard year, and it did not let me down.
But somewhere along the way, through the hard, the view got better.
The road stayed bumpy, but our hearts grew steadier.

"What if your blessings come through rain drops,
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise."

This song has spoken to me so many times in the past several years.
And it has proven to be so true, and so real.
I don't regret even one of these sleepless nights with my boys.
I know, if this little one is anything like the other 2, I'm in for a thousand more (and that's before they hit their teen years).

And I know He's near.

Maybe God knows that 2000 sleepless nights are just right for me.

What I do know, is that it's all mercy, though it looks like pain. That healing comes through many many tears. And that we'd never see the blessing if it wasn't for the rain.

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