Someone recently mentioned that when we sold our old farmhouse and moved to the home we’ve been in for just over two years now, that it felt like the end of an era. Yes, I told her, it did. But not because we left our first house behind, one that we poured so much of ourselves into for fifteen years. I felt that I left the years of young motherhood there, never to return. We grew a family in that little house, the years punctuated by new babies and sleepless nights. Shortly after Mabel’s birth I started struggling with my health and was soon after diagnosed with autoimmune disease. I’ve spent the two years since trying to get healthy, with some success.
Early last summer I had two positive pregnancy tests over a period of a few days but didn’t believe they were accurate. I showed a friend and she laughed at me. “Ginny those aren’t even “squinters.” Definitely positive.” I took a third, the type of test that says the word, “pregnant,” leaving little room for doubt. Before I could wrap my mind around pregnancy at forty, at a time when I didn’t feel healthy enough, I miscarried. Had the baby lived, it would have been due this month. I didn’t mention it here at the time because I didn’t know how to. My feelings were so mixed, so confusing. I was very sad, more so than I expected to be, but there was also relief. And how could I admit that? My feelings didn’t make sense to me, and I was not prepared to try to explain them. I still talk to that little baby, and I tell it that I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I cried in fear rather than joy during the short time it was with me. I’m sorry that my body failed it. Truly, I am.
We didn’t plan on having a big family. We were very young and perhaps more than a little irresponsible when we got married. In fact, we didn’t even seriously discuss having children beforehand. Yet here I sit, having spent roughly eighteen years pregnant or nursing babies. I can’t imagine life any other way. Sometimes I long for another baby, for the rhythm I know so well, and I think of the one we lost last summer. At other times, I can’t imagine how I would manage. Stepping into the next season of life is hard. Harder still is not knowing if I am truly there yet. I just know that my baby will turn three in June and typically there would have been another little one with us by now. At the heart of this struggle is my faith, the faith that reminds me to trust rather than wonder and worry.
With Jonny still trying to find a new place in the working world, I contemplate whether I should be trying harder myself. After all, I’m not pregnant. I’m not even breastfeeding. Part of me is eager to learn more and to work more. Last week, I came very close to signing up for a two-week natural dye course with two experts in the field but decided against it. Two weeks is a long time away. While Jonny encouraged me to go if I wanted to, I couldn’t decide if I truly did want to. If it were only closer rather than a day’s drive away, if it were one week instead of two, if it weren’t so expensive,…if, if, if. There will be other opportunities and I think I will know when the time is right. For now, I’m studying books, and working with the knowledge I have. But mostly, I’m managing a very busy household and homeschooling. I’m driving kids to and from classes. I’m planning the next birthday party. I’m wondering if I could manage to sew a birthday dress by early March. I’m bemoaning the laundry while making dinner between piano lessons and catechism class.
This week we celebrated Keats’ sixteenth birthday. I took him to a concert the night before (piano and organ) and baked calzones for his birthday dinner. I remembered him at age two and marveled at him at sixteen. He was my smallest baby at birth weight-wise but also the baby who could stretch himself in ways that made me shout in pain. Had I known that he would be 6 feet, three inches tall sixteen years later, I would have thought, “Ah, that explains it.” Watching our children grow and become is certainly as sweet and exciting as those early moments of welcome.
In the midst of all the chaos of our days, my most frequent prayer lately is, “Jesus, please help me.” In quieter moments I ask for peace, for acceptance, for trust and surrender. This life is too noisy and unpredictable for me; it moves too quickly. But it’s what I’ve been given, and I am thankful. I know that I am where I am meant to be, even when I feel unsteady and unsure of what might happen next.
p.s. Well…I did not sit down to write what I did. I meant to tell you that we recently had a nice stretch of warm days, and I’m excited about spring. That I mixed up a wonderful indigo vat last week and got the darkest blues, and I may raffle off that shawl in the first photo soon for a personal cause. And also, I will hopefully be updating my shop on Friday with organic cotton gauze scarves and baby swaddles amongst other good things (including the stickers I meant to list last week). I’ll post here on Friday with a definite time, but I’m thinking mid-afternoon ET.
p.p.s. Thanks for listening. I know that really you’re reading. But to me, it feels like I’m talking and you are listening and I appreciate it.