Saturday morning Jonny left early with Keats and Gabe. They had baseball tryouts and would be gone a few hours. The low back pain that makes walking about painful, and characterizes pregnancy for me was as present as ever. I hoped that Silas would wake minus the fever that plagued him the day before, but he didn’t. His tears, and his need for his mommy to hold his stout 30 pounds were very much with us. I sat on the couch in our messy kitchen, holding him while my girls began making requests for this and that; their needs and wants not ceasing just because mommy’s back hurt and Silas was sick. I whispered to my unborn son under my breath, needing to make his presence real, a reminder that there is a gift behind the pain that will soon erase these hard months. I meditated on the words of a friend in a recent email, “Babies are eternal–soul-making.”
But on this day, everywhere I looked all I could see was something that “needed” to be done. The insistent cries of “Mommy, Mommy!” began to feel like an attack. Tears streamed from my eyes under the weight of the impossible task I had created for myself. My mind ran wild and I lost all sense of perspective, of what is most important.
My children, blind to what I see, look around and just see a good life to be lived, and they want to live it with me. They don’t want a mom run ragged after their messes, they want me sitting in the midst of them, listening, looking into their eyes, engaged with them. And yes, they after all, have souls. Why waste my worries on all that’s lifeless, soul-less? But I do; I waste.
So after this long day spent taking care of little ones and doing the daily things that must be done, in between breaks on the couch to hold ice on my back, I finally collapse into bed. I wake two hours later, sweating and sick. I spend most of my night huddled in the bathroom. I evidently brought a little something extra home from the pediatrician’s office, having visited two days in a row for annual check-ups. The day after, I am forced to spend my time in bed, sipping strong tea and praying that the worst is over. Funny what a night spent emptying the contents of my stomach has done to my head. It’s clearer as well. In a strange way, I am glad for the stomach virus that has knocked me down.
I lose my head sometimes and allow myself to become controlled by my environment. I become accomplishment driven, when I should be faith driven. I fight against my reality, and during pregnancy, the state of my body, rather than patiently accepting it. I am thankful for the moments of clarity as my illness subsides. I pray that I can carry some of it with me next time I am tempted to cry and despair over all that will eventually be no more than dust.