I have been reflecting a lot on big life events and how reality looks pressed up against the expectations I had. What would I have told myself if I could truly prepare for what the future looked like? What tidbits of wisdom and maybe glimmers of hope would I offer myself? Tonight is the night before my oldest birthday. Six years ago tomorrow I headed to the hospital and started the journey of motherhood that reshaped far more than just my body. Today I was thinking about all the emotions I was feeling that night before we welcomed Claire into our world. What would I have told myself? So here it is,
A letter on the night before I became a Mom,
Just breathe. As you pace the halls and double check the nursery, breathe. As you wonder what her eyes will look like and if she will have hair, breathe. As you repack every bag and try to get comfortable for one last night of sleep. Just breathe. I know the fear building in your heart is real, there are so many questions as God does his work in the unseen. I know the unknowns are eating you up, what if the ultrasounds missed something, what if you actually did eat too many double cheeseburgers, and what if you don’t bond? The “what ifs” and wondering has caused many restless nights. You have stayed awake begging God for confirmation that you are doing enough and that she is OK. You can breathe, he once again shows up in ways that leave you breathless.
I know you think you are as prepared as you can be but like any journey you have never walked before you can’t prepare for what you don’t know. It’s ok that you have to learn along the way, everyone does. It’s ok that you have to ask for forgiveness and for grace from the people that love you. Every day brings opportunities to get things right and to make things right again. This isn’t a journey where perfection is within reach, it’s a beautiful clast of imperfect people. It’s the messy mingling of lives that will cause both tears of joy and tears of sorrow. Embrace the jagged edges and don’t try to pin a bow on top of everything, some of your greatest failures will cause the most growth.
Promise me to take it one day at a time, don’t worry about all the things you can’t see. All of the ups and downs will hit whether you stay up thinking about them or not. Deal with problems as they come, don’t anticipate them until they show up. You will have to learn that control isn’t actually in the equation, but prayer is and faith is. When you want to reach for control choose one of those instead.
Tomorrow changes you, its changes Ben, it launches you down a road in life that you don’t feel equipped or worthy enough to walk. It’s the start of your family, the thing that changed your own life the most is now something you are building. It’s a heavy burden, it’s a high calling, and it’s worth every sacrifice you will make. It’s ok that not everyone will understand, you don’t answer to everyone. It’s ok that you will live in a tension of your dreams and reality. It’s ok that you will think it is both magical and also sometimes dull. The hard work you do every day bleeds into every happy memory and when you look back you will see the magic was worth working hard for.
It’s ok that there will be days you feel unseen. It’s ok that you will wrestle with God about where he’s calling you. It’s ok that most days you will simply be asking what the next right thing is. What you are doing is important enough. You’re not just telling your story, tomorrow that little girl starts one as well. Help her tell hers well. She’s going to teach you just as much as you teach her.
Oh and I promise she does eventually sleep and you do leave the house again.
The sentimental side of you