Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Crazy, Sorta Scary Kind of Love

I have come to a disturbing realization this afternoon. Brace yourselves:  I believe that my baby is the single most beautiful little person ever created. She has the softest cheeks, the sweetest most joy-filled gummy smile, the brightest blue eyes, etcetera, etc. 

You laugh. But I am completely 100% serious, which is the terrifying bit. 

An outsider can see how insane this sounds, how insane it actually IS. How logically speaking, of the billions of humans to ever enter this crazy world in all their infantile cuteness, there has most likely been, and will most likely be again, at least one baby who may be considered cuter than my Babygirl by the public at large. Those that are really intellectual may even present to me the argument that beauty is a culturally defined concept, one that has been restructured over and over again by various communities over the course of time, and thus beauty is scientifically, methodically, and actually in the eye of the beholder (note how I made that sound very important, official, and accurate.)

I hear this, I really do. But I just don’t care. They’re wrong. I believe with the entirety of my being that my little baby is quite actually perfectly beautiful. No, the most perfectly beautiful. That’s right - more perfectly beautiful than your baby. 

I know that last bit was offensive, but you know what’s more offensive: I mean it! So what to make of it? 

Have I hopped the crazy-train to that blind uncritical sort of love that mother’s of axe murderers seem to profess on every other episode of CSI? Am I on the fast track to becoming one of those whacko moms whose kid is obviously the most wretched child that ever walked, but who insists that her baby-angel is just a tender spirit who is totally misunderstood? Maybe. Only time will tell.

Or could it be that she is perfectly beautiful to me and me alone, that I could use every superlative out there to describe her little forming self because she is mine
And because she is mine, it doesn’t matter that I’m technically wrong. 
It doesn’t matter that her only expression of physical affection is to look at me like I’m a boob sandwich, because she’s mine
It doesn’t matter that she’s incredibly un-ladylike, giggling and smiling when she poops or toots, usually in my lap, because she’s mine
It doesn’t matter that she doesn’t know any words yet and can’t express herself via an intricate vocabulary (although man does the girl try!), because she’s mine.

She is imperfect. 
She is in progress. 
She is a little tiny sinner. 
BUT she is mine. 

And so I claim her perfection to be truth. I cover her places of lacking and her failures with the truth of my love for her. It doesn’t matter who she is in reality, because WHOSE she is, is also a reality. 

And I can’t help but see my Abba in all of it. In this blind sort of love that sounds really dangerous, so incredibly uncouth. I mean you can’t just go around sayings things are what they are not?! That’s just crazy!! But He is SO like that! And praise God that that’s exactly what He does. That’s exactly how big His love is. It is indiscriminate. It looks like madness. It says to the adulterer, and the rebel, and the thief, “you are clean, you are perfect, you are loved- Because you are Mine.”

See: 1 Cor 1:26-31, Rom 7:14-8:1, Rom 8: 14-17, did I say Rom 8:1 (heck, just all of Romans 7 & 8!!)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bearing with the Very Small

Sweet Sadie has been here almost two months, and I am still kind of skimming the surface of what this new life as a mommy means for me, sometimes embracing it. But mostly shooing away the change, and making it through each day as if tomorrow I will wake up and have what I now refer to as “freedom” again. 

What I mean is, I’m stalling. 

I’m hanging out with the baby bean and dealing with her belly gas frustrations, her hiccups, her hunger pangs, her over-tiredness (like all day everyday) moment by moment, but never really stepping back into what was my life with her in tow. I don’t know that that’s wrong because she’s super needy right now and I don’t want to exasperate the tiny one, but I imagined this part of her life so differently. I thought we’d be out shopping together and I’d look down at her little smiley face from time to time and be refreshed by her existence, not plum tired from the sheer number of minutes passing by as she gets increasingly more tired and more inconsolable. Not bouncing and burping and soothing and holding and nursing until “holy crap the sun is setting” and I haven’t even brushed my teeth. 

Weird how expectations can ruin a thing. Almost. And then there’s the women who have gone before me standing in the sidelines full of mushy memories of how glorious this time was with their own sweet babies now grown and not so squishy cute. Really?! 

The truth is I am enjoying her, but I am also so eager to get back to normal life that I am spending so much of my day frustrated with my lack of progress- when really, the progress is in the baby in front of me. She is getting plump and learning to laugh and what it means to love, just because I hang out with her all day and try to comfort her and figure her out. 

I need to remember that it’s the being with her that is the best work I could be doing with this day, with this moment. 

Glued to the sofa for the umpteenth time this week just so she’ll FINALLY take a full two hour nap, I am pleading with God to make these truths more real to me than the urge to go about my life. Because yeah it’s true that one day she’ll be big and I’ll miss being able to hold her yada yada… but really- one day, she’ll be big. And something will be different in that big person because when she was a little person her mom conceded to her pleas to sit and suckle for hours on end, and tried to love her (tried!) through all the unpleasant gas bubbles, and every un-restful day she had. 

There’s something to just being with a person, even a very small person, that really can change things. That’s why the King of the Universe stoops low each morning to bring us brand new mercies, to hear our complaints, and to be with us in our frustrations and failures. That’s what Love looks like. He’s present with the very small.

Someone's In There

(thoughts from Feb. 25, 2012)

Tiny Beautiful is getting much stronger. And though I could hardly wait to feel her wiggling around inside of me, I was wholly unprepared for the left hook she took to my bellybutton  last night. The force of it knocked my hand from its resting place on the sweet girl in my tummy, and my mind into a realization of what she is, of who she is. 

We have made an individual- a separate squirmy little alien identity that is just now residing in my tummy, but will not do so forever. 
She has been given to me to house for now, but she will be her own one day. 
She is at the same time my sweet baby and a little woman with muscles and force and, one day, choices all her own. 

This may sound like a string of the most obvious truths about creating a new life, a new person, but the experience of it, of her tiny fist making an impression on the inside of my belly totally rocked me. There is a person in there. I will sustain her for a time. I will call her mine. But she will also be her own. 

Am I okay with that? 

Last night I felt this twinge of fear accompany that thwack to my insides. She isn’t me, but she is in me. That could be mad disorienting! I don’t want to rob this little person of her autonomy, her identity, her right to be a uniquely crafted individual with her own talents and struggles and journey. But it is strange to be given responsibility, to be given authority for a time, over a tiny being, seemingly a piece of myself, that I cannot control. Even more that I should not control! 

Ha, oh Lord how must You feel?!

If I love her, truly want her to experience my love for her, I will let her live. Lord, help me let this little girl live! Let her breathe and run and fight for her passions, and find You in her own way, in her own time. Jesus, give me the wisdom to bless this baby with the kind of love and grace that You offer each of Your children. Big love, Big grace. The kind that selflessly lets us rail against You until we get it. The kind that holds us close when we’re hurting even when our own choices have led us to the pain. Let me lay aside my desire to control (often guised in those pretty clothes “protection”), my fears for my tiny daughter, even now. Teach me. Even now Lord.