November 19, 2012

enough time

Today is Lincoln's eleventh birthday.

 I should say that, "time flies," and wasn't it just yesterday that I labored this plump little eskimo baby into the world? One hour and forty-five minutes in all. From turkey dinner to baby. Jason didn't even make it to the delivery. Our midwife had 15 minutes to spare.  Or wasn't it just yesterday that I was: rocking him to sleep, going on late-night drives to get him to sleep, walking up and down and up and down the hallway in our apartment to get him to sleep, nursing him to sleep, singing him to sleep. (Please baby--sleep!) Cleaning baby throw up. Smelling like sour milk. Waking to his gummy, drooly, s0-hapy-to-be-here smile every morning. Getting him to giggle for the first time. Letting my younger brother feed him ice cream and sour cream alternately--watching him shiver and pucker with the sour cream, but innocently asking for more. Blowing raspberries on his belly. Worrying over his first fever. Fighting over who changed his next diaper. Listening to him wail during the four-hour drive back and forth between Portland and eastern Oregon. Tickling his rolly, soft neck. Listening to him say his first words: ball, Booth (our dog) and dada. Falling asleep with him in our bed, with one little leg and one little arm draped over my huge pregnant belly (hello Jack!). Sometimes feeling totally claustrophobic when his body would marsupial-cling to me, heart thumping against mine, sweaty, sleeping head on my neck--and yet feeling in my gut and bones that this was one of the most important things I would ever do. Watching him sleep.  Watching him sleep-- long eyelashes touching his round chipmunk cheeks,  floppy ears getting squished and red, chubby hands twitching and unclenched, belly full and perfect. Every day filled to the brink with our love, frustration, surprise, weariness and delight over our firstborn son. does feel like yesterday. 

However, with every day that goes by, and every birthday that he gets to check off as a milestone in his life. I'm a mess.  I am aware. Ideally? I know he is going to grow up and leave our home.  With every milestone there is a grumbling of sadness. I know that this is part of life. I do want to raise a son who is not afraid of standing alone. 

Jason laughed at me when I cried in our bed after Lincoln's second birthday. "It's going too fast!" He didn't understand. He was so excited with every marker in time. "One step closer to manhood!"  

Then we had our first daughter.  Now, he clenches his jaw when we talk about having teenage girls. Now, he grieves when our girls grow through another shoe size. Now, he feels time passing with a tiny bit of pain.

Consequently, I've been thinking about time a lot lately. 
Instead of, 
"This is your life, it's ending one minute at a time. "
 (Chuck Palahniuk.) 

I'm trying to remember this:
"That in Christ, urgent means slow.
That in Christ, the most urgent necessitates a slow and steady reverence.
That in Christ, time is not running out. This day is not a sieve, losing time.
In Christ, we fill – gaining time.
We stand on the brink of eternity.
So there is enough time."
( Ann Voskamp.)

There is enough time for our children to grow older. There is enough time for their mistakes and mine. There is enough time to be slow. There is enough time to enjoy. There is enough time for him to turn eleven, to sigh and slurp up who he is today, and be fiercely and determinedly loyal to who he will be tomorrow.

"So I am proud only of those days that we pass in undivided
when you sit drawing, or making books, stapled, with
messages to the world...
or coloring a man with fire coming out of his hair.
Or we sit at a table, with small tea carefully poured;
so we pass our time together, calm and delighted." 

My Son Noah, Ten Years Old  by, Robert Bly.

November 5, 2012


Fifteen years ago, in the very beginning of the day, in a room crowded with pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, diapers, wipes, bottles, cozy soft baby clothes, sleeping, messy-haired, drowsy, weepy, expectant brothers and sisters, one beautiful, tiny, snoozing infant twin boy, and two beyond exhausted, loving, shattered and grieving parents–we said goodbye to the tiniest members of our family. 

There was a crystallization of the intrinsic value of human life. Holding her. Experiencing her. Smelling her new baby smell, feeling her heart beat against my palm, her ribs expanding oh-just-slightly as she inhaled and exhaled– lungs and diaphragm working with each breath, touching her soft, translucent cheeks. Watching my parents rock her and will a longer life into her veins. Holding her adorable, tiny, tiny bottom in one hand, and her back in the other, the way you do with all babies. Looking in her eyes and wanting more than anything for her to understand one thing in that moment. 
That she was loved
Cherished. Precious.  Known. Seeing her entry and exit in the world. Ruth, with her pale, pale skin. Her sweet, quiet voice. Her broken heart. Her light-as-air frame. Her incredibly delicate, long arms, legs, fingers and toes. Her little rosebud mouth. Her tiny elf ears. Her funny, sparse, sticking-up-all-over, dark hair. 

 It has never been more obvious that behind all our randomly joining, "complex as a baked potato" cells and biological coincidences–that there is a process, a purpose, something more that far exceeds our knowledge of conception, embryonic development and personhood. So much so–that even when our definition of what is valuable or needed in the world, is so woefully not met. When someone is born broken or seemingly useless to society. Oh-such-a-burden. 

That, when we are forced stop,  see, experience, know that person; we cannot help but be silenced by our arrogance.

 Cannot help but be quiet, quiet in awe.