Another year has slipped in, barely announced, in the chaos of Christmas and visiting family and everyday life that just keeps marching on.
This year January somehow seems less gloomy than usual. The cooler weather is a welcome relief. 2014 stretches ahead full of promise and uncertainty and newness.
JT whisked the boys off for a beach adventure after returning home from his swim practice this morning. I was left with a quiet house. Whenever this happens, I waste at least half of the time he is gone trying to decide what to do with myself. The possibilities are endless. During the first trimester of this pregnancy, the only choice I had was to lay down. That is still a temptation. Especially because, with the excitement of the holidays and a recent new snoring habit (not sure if it's a persistent cold, though his nose never runs, or his adenoids, or a night-time allergy), The Dude has been waking often and having difficulty returning to sleep at night.
Then there's all the clothes that need to be folded and freshly washed sheets to be put on the beds, and the kitchen cabinets and refrigerator and bathrooms that have been neglected over the holidays. The baby clothes to sort and toys to go through and purge.
I dream sometimes about going for a walk by myself on the beach. The way the ocean would smell, and the sand between my toes, the cool water just barely touching, and nothing but silence around me. The way I did so many times when Aquaman was still inside of me. Praying for him, dreaming about his future.
I might even break into a jog and feel the sweet release of momentary lack of oxygen and freedom in my muscles, and strength returning.
But what I've been needing more than anything is quiet and solitude with God, and that is what I chose this morning. A cup of coffee on the porch, and the list of chapters to read. A notebook and a pen.
A few moments to write about my morning and process it all. How Aquaman is growing up. And while his growing up, in so many ways has been easier than his tumultuous infancy and toddlerhood, there are also so many hard things about it. How he needs me less, and I want to be ok with it, and I am ok with it, but how I still know he needs me so much.
Trying to divide my time between all of those demands of life and make room in it for him, the one who needs less, but still needs.
Trying to understand and relate to little boy ways, and where my role is in all of it. How he follows me around wanting to play, but when I try to play with him he's bossy and sensitive and constantly frustrated.
How he wants me close to him at night before he goes to bed, but I never snuggle him quite right, or enough.
I can sense his confusion, and I know it will only grow as he gets older. I want to be the mother he needs me to be. I need so much help from God to do it right.
I can see every day how amazing it is that God gives children two parents. Two very different parents. Sometimes I see my parenting through JT's eyes and it changes everything. I see where I am being unfair or inconsistent.
I want so much for our boys to know how they are equally loved and respected by us. Without labels and generalizations. So many times in the Bible we see how parents fail in this way. I want to be different. I want to get out of the way and leave plenty of room for God to mold my children into who they are supposed to be.
2014 will be an exciting year. We will welcome our last son into the world. We'll move things over in our lives and in our rooms and most of all in our hearts. There will be much rearranging, but it's rearranging with which we have now become quite familiar. There will be times when we'll feel crowded. In our home- possibly, in our schedules- definitely.
But in some ways 2014 feels comfortable, like an old worn in shoe. We have done this before. While each child is different, and that certainly breaks up the monotony, there are less of the fearful unknowns.
We'll get on each other's nerves, especially when we don't get enough sleep, and we'll get over it. We'll laugh a lot, and cry a lot too. But the tears won't be as scary.
I was reading back through some of my 2013 blog entries and reliving so much of the uncertainty and pain of last year. There were so many truths discovered and wrestled through, and while I'm glad some of the acute painfulness of it is over, I am grateful for all that we learned.
Life can change quickly, and does. And we learned a lot about that in 2013.
It can change through an injury, it can change when a job (or jobs) falls through, when childcare doesn't work out, when a pill makes you feel crazy, and it can change when 2 lines show up on a test when you least expect it.
Some of the changes were really hard adjustments. Some of them have been shockingly easy.
And all of them have led us to right where we are today, this 4th day of 2014.
Looking back at my resolutions last year, I met them, though it wasn't in ways I expected. Though I didn't exactly join a gym or start swimming again, The Dude and I took far more long winding walks and between that, spontaneous games of tackle football, and the short sprints after him when he got a little crazy, I got my exercise.
I joined 2 different ladies' Bible Studies and loved them both for a season.
This year my resolutions are a little different. I'm hoping to read through the Bible again. I do it every few years, and always find it grueling at some points, but it always makes me grow. And really, this is one of the best years to do it. I have no time to plan what I will read, and will likely not have much opportunity for small groups (though I hope to enjoy a morning one during my 8 week maternity leave), so this will take some of the thought out of it.
I know things are going to get crazy this year. I don't want it to cause me to lose my focus in being intentional about life. One of my resolutions is that when I feel the most urgency to do, the most overwhelmed, that I will instead...slow down. Even if it means I have to set a crying baby somewhere safe, ask the boys not to do anything too dangerous, and lock myself in the bathroom for 5 minutes to get perspective again. I want my life to matter, even this year, and even when everything can't possibly get done. Everything can't. The important things can.
I want to support my husband more. I want to help him accomplish whatever he dreams about, and whatever he was meant to be. I want to step up when he needs me to do something, even if all he really needs is for me just to dream with him. I want to step back from my own "career" and be more supportive of his, and I want to measure his successes in the relationships he forms and the goals he accomplishes, and not in paychecks.
I want to be more concerned about my sin than I am about my suffering.
2014 will be a beautiful year. Less fire, less torrential downpours, less fog. Probably more chaos, probably even more tiring. But likely a lot more fun.
We will grow more, and older, and we will laugh more and longer.
Here goes nothing.