Monday, February 25, 2013

{An Update on} Life Within and Life Around

Few things are better than being outside on a 70 degree day.
About a month ago, I had one of these, and spent some time connecting with life around me, through the macro lens on my iPhone. Sprout and I listened to some great tunes while I took off my shoes and enjoyed the day. 

I much prefer my relaxed, earthy feet (left) to my over-worked, swollen feet (right).

Still, I'm grateful to be employed, and to have an income. I brought my most recent sonogram up to work, so when I grab a suture for the surgeon, I can also sneak a peak at our growing baby. 

It feels to weird to post a photo of the sonogram on the internet...but I'll post a photo of a photo of a photo. Hehe.

I finally caught up on laundry two weeks ago. Our washer/dryer is broken, and it is too much of a pain to lug laundry to our parents' every weekend, so we've been letting it pile up for a month, then one of us hits the laundromat and knocks it out all at once. While I was there, a sweet old woman came up to me and offered help. That felt so strange! I thanked her for her kindness, but told her I'd prefer a hug. I love random kindness from strangers.

George still cooks for me occasionally. Usually after a good grocery run. He's there now, so I have high hopes for this week. 

Thankfully I'm still allowed one cup of caffeine/day. I cash in at 5:00 AM and have a ritualistic cup of joe every morning. I can't imagine going without. True addiction. I love how it warms my bones. Sprout's heartbeat has been consistently in the 140s, so I feel reassured that the minimal caffeine intake isn't harming her.

Fresh flowers make the place smell nice, and I love having life in our home. With four animals, fresh flowers, Sprout dancin' all around all the time, and the two of us, our home feels full of life. 
 An Update...
We have been looking to buy a home for months now. We have gotten close on about 3-4. The closest we have come was about a month ago, when we signed a contract for a darling home in my old stomping grounds. Only 7 minutes from my folks, and 15 from Georgie's. Walking distance to the elementary school I attended. The home looked structurally sound (a miracle, I swear!) and had a great floorplan. She could use some cosmetic improvements, which was exactly what we were looking for. A place where we could plant our roots, and make cosmetic improvements overtime, creating a worthwhile real estate investment. The comps in the area were much higher than our bid. We felt so lucky, and so relieved to finally get so close.

Then the contract went into "short sale." Which is ironic, since there is nothing "short" about it. Apparently, we could be waiting on this house for a year. It has nothing to do with us, and everything to do with the current lienholder and seller. Very frustrating with a ticking timebomb growing daily inside of me.

Fortunately, both sets of parents are supportive and generous of time, money, and space. I feel like they are this safety net lifting us up in a stressful time. 

We will likely move our things into storage, and move in with my parents in the beginning of April. We will go back and forth between both sets of parents so as not to overstay our welcome at either home, and to have a change of routine. 

At first, I felt devastated by this idea. Like it was moving backwards, or I was failing as an adult. But now, I feel so blessed. How lucky are we to live so close to our parents?! And to have parents willing to take us back with open arms?! And in the meanwhile, we will be aggressively looking for another home in our price-range and desired area. If we find it, fantastic! We can nest, and have a "nursery" for little Sprout.

But if we don't, we have a roof over our heads, and Sprout will have a 'village' surrounding her with love. I think that could be a huge blessing. The more she is held by other people, the less clingy she will be toward me. She will better socialized, and better acclimated in family gatherings. Plus, I won't have to stress as much about money, which has really had me on edge lately. Also, we won't desire or long for as much "stuff" if we are in another home, because we won't have a room for her. We won't collect a bunch of stuff that will end up in a garage sale 3 years from now. BRING ON THE HAND-ME-DOWNS! 

Rather than being raised in a culture of consumerism, Sprout will be raised in a culture of family and love...and that will be true regardless of where we live. People who go crazy with those registry guns are fooled into thinking they need that "stuff." Babies have been around a lot longer than all the plastic crap that fills the walls of BuyBuyBaby and Babies R Us.

Times just aren't like they used to be. Health insurance for a family of three will cost us well over $1000 a month (with a $10,000 deductible!) through my work. Fortunately, our cars are both paid off, and we don't have any student loans (thanks again to those awesome parents and grandparents of ours). 

So when other moms or preggos are talking about their nursery, or the fear they have of giving birth, or their horrible maternity leave, or their weight gain, or their morning sickness, or how horrible being pregnant is...I remind myself that "the struggle is part of the story." That is my current photo on my desktop, actually! 

Physically, pregnancy isn't that bad (swollen ankles aside).

Psychologically, I think it is anxiety-ridden, and bliss-filled. Simultaneously.  

Because my maternity leave is unpaid, and as a RN, I make an hourly wage. 

And we won't have a nursery unless something miraculous happens in the next 6-10 weeks. 

I'm not fearful of labor. I can endure anything for a day. And women have been having babies for all of time. I'm actually excited (feel free to roll your eyes). The concept of being a vessel that brings a spiritual being into a physical being is an honor, and I think it will be a transformative and spiritual moment.

I'm more nervous to have a baby, who deserves the world, and falling short as a parent. My parents set the bar SO HIGH, I just want to pass on that legacy to our baby. I need to. I know we will, but getting there will be the struggle. 

I'm so thankful for our network of people who love us, and who already love Sprout. And who stand beside us and lift us up, and encourage us. 

There have been a few bad days lately, but I'm determined to focus on the positive, and remember that awesome (and applicable) verse I heard in church on Sunday with my parents and grandparents...

Romans 5:3-5

Not only this, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 
perseverance produces character
and character produces hope. 
And hope does not put us to shame, 
because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, 
who has been given to us.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Circle of Life

I vividly remember before George and I got married, making an effort to be conscious about my last few days and nights living alone, and appreciating the positives of living alone.

I decorated however I wanted.

I got a pedicure whenever I felt like it.

I founded a women's group and poured a lot of my time and energy into it.

I am sure I did this as a protective mechanism, because there is a morbid part of me that thinks all too often about death, and I was already protecting myself against the desperate and lonely feelings I assume take over when one's spouse passes on.

I was telling myself, "Realize that right now, you are alone, and you are happy," or "There is something nice about coming home to an empty house," or, "Look at what you're capable of doing when you give yourself this time." I suppose I was just trying to remind myself before taking the next step, that the current phase wasn't so bad, and if life threw me back to this phase, I could be okay. I was (really, still am) scared of becoming more dependent on George, and then if something (God forbid) happened to him, not being able to remember how to live life alone.

I realize how awful this sounds, but it's honest.

Tonight, driving home from a prenatal yoga class, I went through the same thought process, only with our baby. I thought about people I know who have died young, and the loss their parents must have felt. I can't even really fathom that kind of pain.

I was flashing on memories that George and I have shared, just the two of us, over the past eight years. We've been really happy. We've had a lot of fun. We've gone on adventures.

I then realized, even if our daughter outlives us by decades (my hope and prayer), she will at one point, move on from our home (Is it crazy that I'm only 28 weeks pregnant and thinking about when she moves out??). I thought about the 18 years (give or take) that we will have with her under our roof, and how ideally, that won't even be a quarter of my life.

She really won't be "ours." She is coming from some spiritual realm, probably to teach us a lot of lessons, and probably to learn a lot for herself. We are just the vessels from one dimension to the next. We are just her lucky parents, lucky in that we have the opportunity to teach her what we know, and relive childhood joys all over again by her side. We're fortunate that we will get to learn from her.

I thought about my parents, and how bittersweet it was leaving for college. I remember thinking things wouldn't be the same, and that part was sad to me. But I knew a bright future was ahead. I felt the same way when I got married. They knew this, too, and I know they were proud of me, and excited for me.

But even now, I realize, on a regular day, it is just the two of them again. To think that between 1987 and 2008, their home was filled with the lives of their children...and now, it is back to pre-1987.

My sister is at grad school six hours away, and even though I'm 15 minutes down the road, I'm usually at work all day, and most evenings I have obligations. My head falls on my pillow at night beside my husband's. I'm grateful to sleep beside him. It's crazy to think a year ago, I slept alone. And eight years ago, I slept under my parents' roof every night. Crazier to think that in just a couple of months, we will welcome to the world our daughter, and she will lay her head to sleep each night under our roof.

I guess really, things don't go back to "pre-1987" or "pre-babies." Because SO MUCH will change. Careers, homes, roles, dynamics. But the foundation has to be solid enough to stand once the kids are gone. Though this baby came to us QUICKLY after the marriage, I'm so grateful for our long dating history.

This pic cracks us both up. We look so lame. This was 2007.

Everybody is telling me how I will be so surprised at how much I fall in love with her when I see her. I'm interested to see if this is true...because I feel like I've already fallen so hard. She moves all the time.  I talk to her, sometimes aloud, and sometimes just thoughts. I visualize warm light surrounding her when I consciously inhale. I sing to her, and I pray for her. I feel like I already know her. I've had three dreams about her (I thought she was a girl before the sonogram confirmed it, because I DREAMT about holding her right after birth).

I guess to get back to my original morbid point, I'm scared of how much I love people. Because when they leave this dimension, I don't know if I'll be able to cope without them. While my "norm" has changed from living with my parents to living with George...I can't think about losing my parents, not even for a second...because I've NEVER KNOWN LIFE without them. Even if I don't physically speak to them, I feel their support on a daily basis. I've never gone a day without it. And my heart breaks for those who have lost their parents, and have to know this pain everyday. Then I think about losing George, and how much of a void I will feel daily, and it makes me so anxious I have to consciously tell myself to stop. And tonight, when I thought about the love I have already for my daughter, and how that love will grow...and how it is not only love, but also RESPONSIBILITY...well, I think I'm already getting a taste of what it's like to be a worrywart mother.

In other words, I'm turning into my mom.

(Bust out Lion King's "Circle of Life" here.)

I'm more blissful than I am anxious, even if the post reads otherwise. I just have a very strong attachment to my people. Sending out all my love to my parents and sister, George, and our little one. And sending out love and prayers to everybody who has experienced the loss of a parent, sibling, spouse, or child. Your reality is my biggest fear. Your strength inspires.