Monday, January 26, 2015

Closer Than Yesterday

The situation letters keep rolling rejection is quickly followed by another possibility.  Are there more expectant mothers than there were five years ago or is this waiting momma's heart just a little more patient?

"Sometimes it feels like we're never going to get a baby," Levi whined on Christmas Eve.

With a chuckle I retold the story to my family at Christmas Dinner.

"But Michelle," my brother quickly chimed in sympathetically, "you have to remember that this is the first time Levi has been through this."

Bless his little heart.  Uncle Josh was right.

We all know I was a HOT MESS for 18 months before I added the title "Mother" to my list.  Levi's little heart is just going through the stages of hope right now, too.

I'm glad he's excited and anxious.  It will make the transition that much more joyful for him when a baby does come.  Don't get me wrong, I know there will be plenty of difficulties in his transition from only child to big brother, but I'm so happy that he is old enough to realize what an amazing thing God has brought us to.

And, as an unexpected bonus, my little guy who notices and internalizes all the interactions around him, is watching his parents go through the adoption process again and is able to ask a lot of very poignant and good questions about his own adoption.  This is one of the best things that we could be doing to help him understand.  He's been asking a lot about the day we brought him home and we looked at pictures and videos from that day last week.  In the file of hundreds of jpegs I found this picture of my mom holding Levi that I never really noticed before; the way his gaze is captured in her face, her look of hope fulfilled.

But alas, tonight was the first time I felt an intense twinge of guilt.  I know it's normal.  I know it's probably the feeling that my friend Sam has when she cuddles her 18 month old with one hand while her other hand grazes her swollen belly.  We love our first babies so much - how could we ever love someone else the same?  Will Levi or Charlotte feel like they are getting replaced?

I know a mother's love multiplies, not divides, but on this side of the equation, the math seems impossible, and that's a little scary.

So I am grateful for Levi's excitement.

We are one day closer to bringing home Levi's baby brother or sister than we were yesterday.  I don't know how many more days or weeks or months or years it will be, but today we're a little bit closer.  Anticipation is building.  Logistics are being more deeply discussed.  Reality is beginning to settle.

Little baby number two, we are all so ready for you.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Reality Check 2015

I'm about to get real here.  Don't judge me.

A few weeks ago an amazing blessing fell into our laps - a year membership at the local rec center.  This is something I've dreamed of, but have yet to find room for in the budget.  So Levi and I started going fairly regularly - he'd go to the kid's club and play while I worked out, then we'd swim.

As the days turned in to weeks I realized that it was kind of dumb for me to be actually working out but not be watching what I ate at all - and when I check the scale, my realization was confirmed - I had gained 6 pounds in the first three weeks we were members!  In my defense - it was literally Christmas over those weeks.

So, the calendar changed to 2015 and the scale had tipped to the highest number I had ever seen.  Ironically, I was at the gym when I saw the number, so I casually thought, "Eh, at least I'm at the right place."

Then slowly my heart started to get tugged and I started realizing maybe it's time to try a.g.a.i.n.  I asked God to keep tugging at my heart - to show me what a big deal my weight is.  Because quite honestly, I am confident and happy, which is a place I've worked so hard to be, despite my BMI.

Asking for guidance and expecting some conviction I every so slowly started thinking about jumping back on the weight loss train.  Funny enough, it was January 3 and so was everyone else in the world.      I was praying for a reality check.  I needed to see the weight of my weight.

The gym offered a free body composition analysis (% of body fat) and I made an appointment with my doctor and gave him free reign to yell at me.  He gave me labs for blood work and said some disturbingly serious and urgent words to me about my health.   A lump in my throat formed and I said, "Yes, keep talking, that's exactly what I need to hear."

So, here we are.  Again.  It's embarrassing to try again.  But I'm out of options, and I see reality pretty freaking clearly now.  I have a gym plan, I have a food plan, I have a supportive family, I have a free gym membership, I have a doctor who wants to support and follow up in a  few weeks.  What I don't have anymore is excuses.

I realized part of my hesitation in trying to lose weight is all the times I have failed before and being simply overwhelmed at the amount of weight I need to lose.  But that's not for me to worry about right now.  Today I need to worry about today.  Tomorrow I will worry about tomorrow.  One foot in front of the other.

And bonus - Herb reminded me that this will be a great baby fever distraction. :)

I covet your prayers as I try to take control of something that has been spiraling for as long as I can remember.  If you see me, feel free to ask me how it's going and call me out on that ice cream you see me holding.

(Just kidding about the ice cream - God, in his amazing sovereignty, has allowed my body to start to hate lactose, which is sad and yet super helpful.)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Letting Go

Sweat dripped down my back.  Looking for a distraction, I gazed out the wall of windows, trying to avoid my reflection in the wall to wall mirrors.  The music pounded to a Latin beat, and the Zumba instructor shouted out in counts of eight.  Moving felt good and refreshing, but still painful.  And thus, the need for a distraction to get through the final fifteen minutes of class.

I thought about the sheet of white that covered the roads.  Winters past have held so many dear moments.  The beginning of a relationship that would lead to marriage.  Celebrating the birthday of that man.  Spending time with loved ones around a movie or a board game.  The distraction worked and soon the dance music gave way to a smooth melodic haunting piano tune.

In an instant, tears stung my eyes.  Like a sudden snow squall, a flood of memories hit me, feeling as numerous as the snowflakes falling outside.  With the memories of happy times came the memories of hurts of Januaries past.  Of shattered expectations, broken relationships, and complete heart break.

And yet, a small voice whispered, "What if you let it go?"

It seems scandalous even now as I think back to that moment.

"What if you choose to remember only the happy memories?"

What's done is done.  Holding on to the hurts does not make them less painful.  Keeping tally of the transgressions did not bring validation or consolation or restoration.

So, I released them.

Like the snowflakes melt when they meet something warmer, I let the painful memories go.  Tears streaming down my face in the middle of the Zumba cool down, I finally found forgiveness.  That moment marked a new chapter in my life.  One where the wounds start to heal.  I stretched my arms and legs.  I stretched my soul.

God is still faithful when the scenarios don't resolve the way we think they should or will or God would have them.  I need to get out of His way and stop asking Him to fit inside the box of my expectations.