Wednesday, September 22, 2010

that's what *great* spouses are for

Lately I've been having dreams that a) I'm a single mother b) Chris has to go out of town immediately after the birth or c) for some other unknown reason I'm alone and unprepared with a newborn baby. The scenarios vary but the message is all of the each dream I am a horribly inadequate mother, thrown into this whole parenthood thing all alone with no support system and no life vest. I keep trying to tell my subconscious that I'm not embarking on this new journey alone AT ALL. I am positive my dreams are 98% a reflection on my own jitters about being a first-time parent. 

Contrary to my crazy pregnancy dreams, Chris has been an absolutely fantastic husband. Aside from being an amazing hard worker and provider, he has gone noticeably out of his way to be an extra gentle, helpful and understanding husband.  For example- I was supposed to make dinner tonight, but by the time we got home I was all pale and low on blood sugar that I had trouble functioning. Chris hopped right in the kitchen and whipped up some yummy eggs and toast that I just finished enjoying. He is not allowing me to feel guilty. This is quite a learning process for me.

I'll post again soon, but I think I'm going to cut this post short to go enjoy the long coveted pregnancy pillow that my husband just bought me. I am seriously refraining from posting a thousand exclamation marks after that sentence.

What the heck.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

same blog, new name, better focus

I've been having an itch for quite awhile to change the name of this blog. I found the content out of line with the name - the blog was no longer about just my husband and I as newlyweds, but it wasn't my random rantings either. I didn't want to make it just a pregnancy blog, I WILL have this kid eventually and I do, contrary to popular belief, like to post about more than the little life growing inside of me (although, this is by far the coolest thing that has ever happened to me. If I went to space, every post I did would have in there somewhere "You know, when I was living in outer space...")

My favorite posts are about those little revelations (or smacks on the head) that God gives me about how to become who I was created to be - a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, etc. I thought although "Smacks on the Head" would be an amusing title, the one I chose is a little more appropriate (and less violent).

In Fulton Sheen's book, The World's First Love, Fulton Sheen explains our humanity versus Mary's humanity extremely well. Paraphrased in a much less elegant way than Sheen says it: Imagine there is a Perfect Picture of each one of us that shows who we were created to be. We all fall short, in varying degrees, of that Perfect Picture. Between that Perfect Picture and our Actual Picture, there is a minus sign. However, between Mary's Perfect Picture and Actual Picture, there is an equal sign. Mary is exactly who she is created and called to be.

That is what this blog is about: my very slow business of becoming who I was created and called to be, my Perfect Picture.

An early thanksgiving

Warning: Avert your eyes if you have a weak stomach for sappy pregnancy gushes of emotion.

It may come across on my blog that this pregnancy has made me the most vain person to ever walk the earth. (Although if you caught a glimpse of my unkempt appearance these days, those suspicions would be quickly squashed.) It's hard to rip my eyes and thoughts from my ever-changing, swelling, queasy body - especially when the fiend, my Digestive System, demands my constant attention. I feel like the most boring person in the world because my conversational topics are limited to pregnancy, naps and reading. I consider the day an accomplishment if I got out of my pajamas, did a (little) housework and made dinner for my poor husband - who has had to make himself a bowl of cereal for dinner on my than one occasion during the last few months.

Things have been slowly happening for awhile to wake me up to the outside world. Although I do have some 2nd trimester morning sickness, it's not quite as severe as the 1st trimester. Either that or I've gotten used to my new companion, Constant Nausea. More significantly, as the baby has started to move, I find myself focusing less on my body as just that - MY body - and more as a grateful vessel for that amazing little life growing inside.
When I burst into tears from the frustration of morning sickness, constant fatigue and the fiery round ligament pain, my husband gently suggested I bring it to Our Lady in prayer because she went through all of this.

I have been trying to deepen my prayer life for awhile now with no luck. Everything felt false and forced. I want to come before God honestly. Preparing for motherhood has made this easier. How can I not come before God honestly when I'm in pain, nauseous, unwashed and desperate? The sneaky thing about prayer is that it changes you. I went from begging Him to take these things away to thanking Him for this opportunity to love greater, be pushed further. He's already expanding my heart - for Him, for Chris, for this baby - in ways that I never imagined. I had been praying to be more blessed with things I thought we needed. Now I've been praying that we can simplify our lives while still providing adequately for our baby. All of these things made what happened Thursday so much easier (and so much harder).

Chris left early on Thursday morning for a conference in Baton Rouge. I woke up temporarily to see him off, but fell back asleep for a nap (no one should get up at 6:00am when they don't have to.) I had a weird feeling when he left, but I'm hyper sensitive and super pregnancy hormonal (read- I cry easily), so I shrugged it off. Chris called at 7:45am with the phone call no wife wants to get: "I'm ok, but I got into an accident. The car is totaled. I'll call you back in a little bit." Click. 

My husband defines words, um, differently from me. If I said, I'm ok, I might mean that I had a few scratches. For Chris, this could cover a WIDE range of things. "I'm ok" could very well mean he snapped his femur in half. I burst into tears from not knowing how hurt he was, from being grateful to hear his voice. Then I started to pray as I stared at the little clock on my phone, praying that everything was alright and that he would call back soon. To make a long story short(er), he had a few scratches and was sore, but was really okay.

I picked Chris up from Baton Rouge that evening. We had a long ride back home to talk. This talk was different from one people normally have after this type of event. I think I could see how much both of us striving so hard to pray more, to love each other more, had really changed us. There was no aggravation, no frustration. Here are some highlights:

-So I totaled your, Happy Birthday was what Chris said to break the ice and the looming "I could have lost you" feeling we were both having. We were both relieved to get rid of that car that had been the BANE of our existences. It's been a lemon from the start. The AC hasn't worked in months (South Louisiana summer + no AC = gross) and two of the four doors did not open - including the driver's door. (Chris had to crawl out the window after the accident). The funniest part of the day -we got about $50 for the car.

-We're now a one car family was a concept that took about ten minutes to get used to. Ten minutes that I used to panic, thinking we needed a new car. We don't. We have decided we are excited at the prospect of spending more time together, being more unselfish with our time, saving money and the exercise Chris will get from riding his bike more. We might try to look for a car as it gets close to Baby Reed's big arrival. For now, we're fantastic.

-How much we love each other has become so evident. I thought I knew no greater love than the day I said "I do" to my husband. I was sooo wrong. I want to be more for him everyday. I never once cared about the stupid car. All we both cared about was that our little family was safe and that Baby Reed will have two parents that love each other tremendously.

I said (several paragraphs up) that the recent changes in my prayer life made that awful day both easier and harder. Easier because I had no problems letting go of the car or dwelling on all of the "inconveniences" that would arise. What was really important was so glaringly obvious that these were non-issues. This is also what made it harder. I love my husband more deeply than I knew. I could have lost him. (Insert pregnancy tears).

My birthday was the day before the wreck. I didn't want to do anything particularly special for the day. Not that I was opposed to it being special, but I didn't feel the need to make create a special day for myself (my husband took care of most of that anyway). I wasn't trying to be difficult, nor did I think that I wasn't special or that birthdays or silly. But every time I thought about what I wanted, I already had it. I have a sweet husband with whom I have a great relationship and, maybe best of all, this amazing opportunity to carry the most precious gift possible.

I'm so grateful, nausea and all.