Saturday, October 29, 2011

If God were a painter

I began reading "The Mystery of Children" by Mike Mason aloud to Chris last night.  It's written in small chunks, actually in 1/2 chapters and smaller, so hopefully we can continue.  What we read last night was so beautiful, I wanted to share it.  I've had some nagging thoughts recently about bringing more children into such a mess of a world - probably a normal thing to feel in pregnancy when the growing chaos globally seems to swell more rapidly than my belly these days.

But then I read this, and I remembered ...

"A child is a revelation from God.  Prophets receive visions, mystics ponder the ineffable, great preachers deliver God's word.  But the greatest revelation comes through flesh and blood.  Every child is a fresh, unheard-of image of God, and children keep coming and coming because the world has not yet conceived of all the fullness of God's glory.

If God were a painter, He would paint not with brush and oils but with babies.  If God were a historian, He would write the history of the world now with kings and armies but with children.  If God were a preacher, He would preach not with words but with you and me, His own dear sons and daughters."

What never-been-painted revelation of Himself does God want to bring through my child today?  Will I have eyes to see the colours?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

capacity

My baby sleeps next to me and I watch the peace of his face and soft hair, listen to the breath of God move through his nostrils, small like mine.  He had a play date this morning - 3 hours with his friends and their mamas at an indoor play center, hiding from the rain.  His dad and I did work together, preparing to teach next week on things that make us feel like children.  My baby, nearly 15 months now, apparently climbed things and needed to be coaxed down, scavenged for food scraps under tables and hugged a few children he didn't know.  He now sleeps soundly.  May he always be himself.

And I struggle with my capacity these days - observing and comparing myself to other moms; feeling the pressure of growing babes taking over my body from both sides, teaching opportunities that require lots of preparation time, always a house to clean more than I want to, always a meal plan to make and defend from take-away kebabs threatening a coup.  A husband to love, empathize with and care for.  Always more than I can do and still feel sane, or breathe.  Never enough quiet, rarely enough sleep.  I'm not happy with my hair.  I haven't combed it in years.

And somehow I carry a treasure.  It's not even just this flopping night-owl 2 pounds of baby in my belly (although it is that too).  It's treasure that I can't run from, can't disqualify myself from, can't lose responsibility of - although I forget.  I too often forget.

I'm an earthen vessel, carrying dreams and creation and hope in a crumbling, dusty, incapable frame - arms weak and too full, heart usually broken and longing, patience meager.  Somehow, despite my poor track record and fears of things to come, I've been called worthy to carry treasure.   This confession saves me, and my capacity does not define my worth, no matter what everyone else says. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

sharing space.

We just closed a 4 1/2 week chapter in our lives that was titled, "Sharing space with another family".  I'm sure there will be more of these chapters down the road, but this one at least is closed.  For now.  One of my closest friends moved from Western Australia over East with her husband and son to work with the same branch of our organization that we are with currently.  Hollie and I have already been doing some teaching together on global health issues and enjoying raising our boys together. 

A home has opened up for them a couple of blocks up our street, but when they first arrived in our state they needed a place to stay.  They arrived a few nights before my husband returned from a 2 week work trip in SE Asia, so the three of them helped Saf and I welcome Chris home.  Our flat is quite spacious, with a pretty amazing open plan living room/kitchen with lots of hardwood floors for the little ones to spend their energy on.  It's more space than the three of us need, but the second "bedroom" doesn't actually have a door on it.  Chris hung up curtains with a rod across the double wide frame for some privacy.  But it's not exactly .... private.  Previously we'd been using the room as a storage space/guest bedroom, so Hollie and family moved their belongings in and took over - leaving the place more organized than before they came! 

People would often ask me how it was going, living with another family so closely.  In lots of ways it was great.  They shared rent, which was awesome and very helpful to us during a financially tight month.  We also made a meal plan and spent about $80 a week per family on groceries, where previously we could easily spent $120  on our own.  [But I now feel pretty convinced about the financial value of meal plans so we will hopefully be spending less!]  We also had more help in keeping Saf entertained and Chris and I were able to sneak away one Saturday morning for a breakfast date. 


And I was able to leave Hollie with the two boys and hang laundry or make dinner without having to keep an eye on my adventurous toddler.  And I really enjoyed the company during the day - I don't think women are meant to be home most of the day with the baby in isolation.  It was good to just do things together and to have someone to chat with or take walks with, giving new life and laughter to what is normally mundane.  There was always something buzzing in the house, never a dull moment -

or quiet moment, really, unless needs were specifically communicated.  One of the challenges was making sure people got what they needed in terms of family time and alone time.  If we let life just roll on, we would usually end up chatting all together until bedtime.  When couples needed to connect privately there had to be some kind of communication - usually as simple as, "Hey, I think we're gonna spend some time talking about some things tonight" and the other couple would find something else to do.

There was also more of a mess created, of course, but once we all started to take responsibility for it, the work become alot lighter.  I enjoyed having other people cook meals while I went and had a rest and other people to take care of the dishes most of the time.  Hollie was eager to relieve burdens for me in pregnancy, and she would often have River (her son) on her back in the Ergo carrier and have my 25 pound son in her arms.  Saf is bigger and older than River so would often be a little bit too rough with him.  Sometimes this was tiring, making sure that they played nicely together as they were sharing space and toys and books for most of the day.


But now we are back to just the three of us.  Saf misses River and this morning has been saying, "Rivra" and looking in their now empty bedroom for him.  Fortunately River isn't far and we already ran into them at the beach this afternoon, after being separated for about 24 hours. :)  Saf gave River lots of cuddles and sweet kisses, obviously very happy and relieved to be reunited. 

Saf doesn't realize that he has a new, permanent playmate coming to live with us very soon.  :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

breastfeeding my toddler (a glimpse)

This is one of the sweeter moments of breastfeeding my older baby while pregnant with my younger.  We are currently 14 months/27 weeks pregnant.

I plan to write lots more about this experience soon -  the ups and downs of milk supply, adventures in slow and gentle night-weaning, and wondering if we're a bit crazy for planning to have two nurslings ...

But just like this picture reminds me, it's about precious moments of connectedness and taking things one day at a time.  Love this boy.

Monday, October 3, 2011

I'm hungry mother, I'm hungry!!


Last night at dinner I was wondering aloud whether or not Saf had eaten enough.  As we're currently working on night-weaning him before our new baby comes (in about 3 months!?) I would not want to deny him milk in the night if his belly is actually hungry.  So in the evenings I try to make sure he has gotten his fill.

My good friend Hollie and her adorable family of 3 are staying with us until they find a home of their own.  While we ate together and I commented about Saf's possible hunger she stated, "He doesn't look like he's starving to me."  We laughed.  It's true - the extremely round face and chubby cheeks give him away.  Hollie said she's noticed it's always the moms with the chubby kids who worry that their children are hungry.
Saf and River (Hollie's boy) at the shops
"But," I said, "If he's hungry, he's hungry.  It doesn't matter how chubby you are." 

It's like in the Disney movie 101 Dalmations when the chubbiest pup says to his mama:
"I'm hungry, mother I'm hungry!"
"Oh Rolley, you're always hungry."
"But I'm hungry mother, just the same!"


So maybe I am one of those moms who worries that her chubby child is hungry.  I'm okay with that. :)