Sunday, March 31, 2013

Ryan

Y'all.  I have so much to say, but for now I will tell you my hands are a little full.  I promise complete stories and pictures in the very near future.  For now, I thought a few of you might be anticipating news of Ryan's arrival.  He came March 30th at 11:46 pm after an unexpected induction and three days of waiting him out in the hospital.  He is 8 lbs and a half an ouncr, 22 inches long (so maybe he will get the height we prayed for) and looks exactly like his Daddy with the exception of a head full of blond or reddish hair.  We so appreciate your support and prayers over the last nine months.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The One Where I Awkwardly Try To Share My Heart (You know. Like always. Plus extra Awkward.)

Among the things people never told me about pregnancy:
  • I would become a world-class snorer--so much so that my husband (a beast among men when it comes to nasal activity in the nighttime) would actually pray for my normal, non-snoring self to return.
  • Due sinus cavity problems (which might also contribute to the snoring), I can only breathe with my mouth open at night which basically means I've become a drooler.  Nothing sexier than a woman who slobbers in her sleep.
  • In the fashion of Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron," I've been mentally handicapped so I can only think about things in short bursts.  And then, like the fronds of a dandelion, a strong wind comes along and I'm completely carefree.
That last one is probably why most of my writing of late has been relatively lame.  I just can't seem to get what's in my head down on paper.  (I'm not really sure what my excuse was before pregnancy...)

Recently, I wrote about community in a truthful, but really unsatisfying post.  I keep writing things through the lens of expectation after years of being told to throw that particular dream out the window while driving 55 miles per hour.  I'm not disappointed with that perspective because it's one of the few ways I can explain the sense of overwhelmed-by-grace I'm navigating.  But there's so much more to that viewpoint, and I feel I'm unnecessarily narrowing the last ten years of my life to waiting for a gift and the fulfillment of that gift.

There's so much more in the meantime, y'all.

Which is probably why community keeps circling my consciousness.  Rest assured, though, if you want to read something far more compelling and truer than anything I'll ever manage to get down here, visit this particular post.  What I have to say, while similar, doesn't hold a candle to the words she managed to record.  (And isn't it always the truth that when you really start narrowing in on a topic, someone else picks it up and does it just a little better?)

(For the record, I also read her post through the lens of community.  After reading the comments, it's clear not everyone saw it that way.)

The idea of grace actively working inside a community, though.  Whoo.  That's a game-changer for sure.  A lot of my past experiences in the church (and more of my exploits in the far and recent past) include a mentality that says something like "More Grace for Me.  More Rules for You."

I'm not really sure how I justified approaching relationships in that way, and, frankly, I'm surprised someone along the way didn't ask me to tuck in my shirttail because my inner Pharisee was showing.  My biggest fear is that more people just believed my actions were the typical Christian response to people who didn't quite fit the mold.

Admittedly, I charged myself with helping the peg fit the hole--square, round or otherwise.  Myself, though?  I saw my own redemption through a much wider-angle lens--one that was capable of understanding this knowing Jesus thing was a process in the constant state of "to be continued."

It reeks of dualism, right?  Ironically enough, I was totally aware of the duplicity of that type of community, but I had no idea how to redirect those relationships into something that looked a little more like the Christ I was encountering.  So using the best spiritual gift I've ever developed, I chose to ignore it.

And, like all ignored corners of the refrigerator, my dualism grew fur, fangs and possibly the ability to cure small colds or the flu.

(I'm kidding.  Dualism isn't like Chinese takeout.)

(Or maybe...maybe I'm onto something there?)

Jesus, though, is far more diplomatic in his approach to those in need of a Saviour.  Needy people--far from perfect and without a clear plan for change--find healing.  Hope.  Open arms.

But us?  Too often, the "Christian Community" is hellbent on making someone else hug the cactus until s/he is penitent enough to join the ranks of the redeemed.

The people who have surrounded me and my family in the last year have been a breath of fresh air.  Their constant breeze hasn't been without conviction, though.  Their presence is the best form of pressure--the thumb in my back to remember exactly who this Jesus guy is.

This guy?  Met a woman at a well, asked for a drink and offered her "living water" without ever condemning her for living with a man outside of wedlock.

The same guy embraced the turn-coat who denied Him and then returned to the fold.

He loved liars.  Thieves.  Tax Collectors.  Prostitutes.

And He knew exactly what they were when he drew them to Himself.

My Jesus?  He sees people and still doesn't open conversations by saying things like, "You aren't welcome if you fill-in-the-blank."  It makes me wonder why we're developing elaborate sets of rules for who is allowed to enter the clubhouse.

When we talk about a community in Christ, the general public should envision a group of people open to loving anyone--social standing, orientation, creed nonwithstanding.  And why should we fling the doors open for the vast array of people we will encounter as a result?  Because Christ first loved us.

The consistent focus on relationship?  That's what makes this whole shindig worthwhile.  And I guess that's what I expect out of a community.








Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I haven't given birth...yet.

*A brief note to all interested parties*

I do have a bumpdate; however, I'll probably wait and post it with pictures of the nursery sometime this weekend.  My mom is finishing curtains and we have purchased a glider (which may not make it into the pictures as it's not due to arrive until next week) so I'd like to get some updated pictures on the blog for those who are interested in that sort of thing.

Favorite is hellbent sure Ryan will make his debut on Sunday (also Favorite's bday), and there are definitely some signs that indicate he's going to come sooner rather than later.  Can you ever really tell, though?  Babies can be so darned unpredictable.  If you're a betting person, though, here are the latest updates:
  • Over the last two weeks he has dropped significantly. 
  • I am having contractions.  They aren't regular or particularly painful, but they're definitely happening.
  • At my last appointment, I was 50% effaced and beginning to dialate.  (My next appointment is Thursday afternoon.)  The doctor also gave us the stern "if-you-feel-these-things-come-to-the-hospital" speech.
  • It has become particularly painful to walk.  My hips and back are sore fairly consistently and I've developed this need to hold my belly when I move because it feels like he's going to fall out at any given minute.

We have one more shower on Thursday and an appointment to meet with our tax accountant on Friday.  By then, I'm hoping to have finished the last week of lesson plans I have to write for my sub and be 80% caught up on grading.  I think the last thing on my docket will probably be the 85 Julius Caesar papers from my sophomores.  Frankly, though, I'm impressed we've gotten this far.

The end game here is an actual baby.  And most of the time I'm still surprised I'm getting one of those.

Stay tuned for the (according to Favorite) soon-to-come announcement of his birth :)

 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

It Just Isn't The Same

I have a confession.

I used to watch Teen Mom

Ok, ok.  Maybe "used to" is a little too...past tense?  Occasionally, when Dr. Drew interviews the girls, I still tune in to episodes of Teen Mom.

(Or read about them online.)

(It's like a train wreck.  I just can't seem to look away.)

Most of my viewing time is spent wondering if the show really is accomplishing all that Morgan Freeman hoped:  namely, reducing teen pregnancy rates.  I struggle to determine if it is an honest and open look at the difficulty of parenting while still needing a parent or if it gives attention-seeking teens one more reason to get knocked up.

And it's not like I just struggle with those questions while playing Couch Commando with the remote.  In my five (limited) years as an educator, I've seen way more than my fair share of teen mothers (and, to be fair, fathers).  But despite all of my exposure, I have no idea how to respond to these very real, and often frustrating scenarios.

Take today, for example:  I apparently enraged a student when I told him/her it was ridiculous his/her significant other was bringing their now month-old infant to the school for lunch.  Let me give you the rest of the details:  1.  The person bringing the infant was walking.  2.  It was snowing (a lot!) outside.  3.  I am sending 3-4 students home a day due to flu season.  4.  The person bringing the infant was actually going to sit in the cafeteria with the majority of the student body to "show off" (their words, not mine) the new baby.

I understand that teenagers don't always make the best decisions; however, this particular incident left me chewing my tongue to the point of tasting blood--and not just because toting a month-old infant around outside in the snow to present him to whatever virus is floating in the cafeteria obviously indicates horrible decision making skills. 

I had to shut my mouth because I will never see these situations outside of the spectacles of infertility.

(In my defense, I've managed to keep from sarcastically making comments like "Wow.  I wonder how many of those people are going to be around to 'ooh' and 'ahh' over your six-year-old when you all are 21.  Oh, wait.  I do know.  Almost none of them.  Because they will be in the business of starting their adult lives while you are learning to navigate the life of a first-grader.  Glamorous, isn't it?!")

It goes without saying that a fifteen year old is going to possess a certain amount of naivete when it comes to child rearing.  After all, the fact that they still need parents to help them make difficult life choices pretty well means their parenting skills are non-existent.  What I can't always explain is the almost uncontrollable surge of fury I have when these situations are aired openly and regularly in my presence.

As Ryan's due date (quickly!) approaches, I find myself waivering between panic, ecstacy and complete unbelief.  The latter occurs daily--which is odd given that my stomach shifts on it's own and I really need to add a "team lift" sticker to my wardrobe as standing up on my own has become a little difficult.  Regardless, I've said a hundred times how grateful Favorite and I have been to receive this opportunity.  And over the course of this pregnancy, we've been given the multiplied blessing of sharing our joy with friends (and family) who have found themselves miraculously expecting after years of struggle.

To put it simply:  For me--a several other people I know--this is a big deal.  Huge.  Gargantuan. 

And I refuse to share any part of that experience with someone who is using their "crisis" situation to gain attention.

Some will probably see that as a little selfish.  It's your perogative to believe that's who I am.  But I can tell you honestly that all I really want is the blessing of his birth and his life.  Other honorifics, while extremely awesome and very gratifying, are unnecessary in light of him.

I certainly don't mean these "teenage pregnancy" babies are worthless or less of a blessing because of the situation in which they are born.  I just don't know how to navigate my "this is really special, waited for and miraculous" with their (very often) "we just didn't have a condom; I wanted someone to love me; I need this baby to get some attention from other people."

So tomorrow, another day closer to my due date, I am going to attempt to find a way to encourage the student who just delivered a healthy baby while keeping the conversation from connecting my impending delivery to her recent experience.

Similar or not, we just aren't the same.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Ryan's Community

I would tell you that I'm probably going to MIA this next week, but since my presence has been minimal on my little part of the interwebs, I doubt anyone is shocked.  It only takes so many old women "tsking" and looking at your belly when you say you have four more weeks to induce a bit of a panic about the fact that this baby may very well come before his scheduled due date and CLEARLY he does not understand his mother at all if he cannot stick to the discussed and acceptable date of March 22nd which is still a full week before his ACTUAL due date.

This next week is going to be full of grading so I can *finally* catch up with the advanced class I've been neglecting and grade the recent projects from my sophomores.  My mind has been so occupied with the things I have to do that little space in my brain has been available to construct any sort of understandable sentence--even when my heart has been itching for the opportunity to write.

In the few spare moments I do find, I write Ryan letters longhand.  I talk to him about this pregnancy.  About the type of man hope he will be.  About the fact that his daddy was convinced he was a girl...  Things I'd like him to know that I may not remember when they've passed.

In the back of my mind, I file subjects I'd like to discuss with him.  Sometimes I mentally write whole letters about how long it took me to become comfortable with who I am, and the fact that living honestly and openly with the people you've been given is the most functional type of Christianity.

But the closer I get to holding him for the first time, the more I realize that these aren't things that will need to be written in letters.  They've been written on the faces and in the hearts of the people who have committed themselves to us--come hell or high water.

Their encouragement and hopes for us have been functionally shown in tiny onesies and more than three thousand baby wipes.  And before those gifts were a possibility, in the silent steps they took beside us while we continued to walk.

There will never be a blog post or ink pen sufficient enough to explain to him the blessing of community.  And heaven knows that's one subject I will write over and over again with no sense of satisfaction as to its conclusion.  I'll never quite get it right.

But I'm grateful to be in their sphere.

Even when they tell me he's coming early.

(Or call him Doug.  But that's another story for another day.)