My baby Boo is now 5 years old. Can I just take a moment? Today my sister texted me a picture of me holding Pete the day he was born. How is that 5 years ago already? Not to be TMI here, but I can still FEEL that moment, if you unmedicated mamas know what I mean. Having him was like giving birth to a bowling ball– a 9-and-a-half pound bowling ball with a 95th percentile head.
They don’t call crowning “the ring of fire” for nothing.
Some of you are shaking your heads right now thinking, Mama just got a whole lot too crunchy. But birthdays have a way of bringing up birth stories, don’t they?
So here in the real life, where nothing goes according to plan, my son was supposed to have a birthday party today. But last night he ran a fever, so the party has been postponed. In retrospect, I think this is one of God’s “everyday” acts of mercy. I have a small house and am expecting something like a thousand preschoolers. Today is cold and snowy and we would be trapped inside. Monday is looking warm and sunny and we can reasonably expect to spill into the backyard, or at least the porch. Also, when I called the bakery this morning, biting my nails because a half sheet cake is definitely not going to fit in my fridge, they told me they hadn’t started it yet and I can pick it up Monday.
So I thank the Lord for rearranging my plans in a way that actually works out much better for my family.
Which is, in fact, how I got my son in the first place. He was not according to plan. I didn’t want to conceive him when we did. I wanted six more months of “me” time. I was in a great groove of writing for the first time since Sally was born. I had just lost all 42 lbs of her pregnancy weight. I wanted to enjoy writing and wearing my “skinny” clothes. In my plan, we would be this perfect, gorgeous family of three for another half year. Then of course, when I wanted to get pregnant, we immediately would.
Instead, we experienced what we in the NFP world call, with a wink and a smile, “user error.” When I found out I was expecting, I sobbed for 24 hours.
Sounds a lot like a modern, control-freak version of parenting, doesn’t it? But babies aren’t burgers you can order your way. They come when they come if they even come at all. Sometimes just when you think you’re getting one, it’s gone. And it’s heart wrenching, and agonizing– and even more so if we persist in believing that we’re in control.
The recent legislation passed in New York has upset me so much that it has literally made me vomit. I have despaired so much I have questioned why God bothers with humanity.
I have asked why He grants so many of my silly daily prayers, why He blesses me so much that I can always see His providence, the silver lining when so many of my plans go awry; why is He here, all around me, in my life every day in tangible ways I can see and experience, and yet allow this evil in the world? Does He care? Is the Passion of Christ REALLY ENOUGH to make up for things like preterm infanticide of an otherwise perfectly unique, holy, but unfortunately unwanted human being?
I can answer, “Yes,” but looking around me at a world that just doesn’t care, just doesn’t get it, it hurts.
All I can come back to is this: For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son. I hear it in my heart and I repeat it, over and over, along with the words of St. Faustina, “Jesus, I trust in You.” I say it even when I am so overcome with disgust and disappointment that it feels hard to believe.
Today I thank God for my only son, and ask Him to give me, this birthday, a gift of greater hope, and greater faith.