Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving and More Thoughts on Motherhood

I am recuperating from a BIG Thanksgiving weekend.

Wednesday night I went to the airport with Penny to pick up her ( and Brad's) cousin, Rosanna-from-Montana, and Rosanna's husband Michael and almost 3 month old baby Matthew... ( For some reason, I had a hard time getting their names straight. I would call the husband Matthew and the baby Michael. Why?! Blame it on the pregnancy. That's my excuse for everything these days. ) As the clock ticked towards midnight and Penny and I craned our necks to try and catch a glimpse of these folks that I had never met before and only one of whom she had met before ( the last time she saw Rosanna was something like twenty years ago) we contemplated doing a New Year's type countdown as 12:00 approached and then yelling,
" Happy Thanksgiviiiiiing!" when the moment struck...and throwing confetti, yelling, and wearing party hats.

Why DON'T we do that?

But anyway. We met them, ( Michael is 6' 9" so he was hard to miss...) and we all drove home. I got to bed around 2:30. A tired lil puppy I was. ( Did you know that the Wendy's drive-thru closes PROMPTLY at 1:00 a.m. sharp and even if you are inches away from the little ordering microphone when the hour rolls over, they will have no mercy on you...?! Come on! We were in LINE! MAN. We were cast into the outer darkness where there was much tummy-grumbling and gnashing of teeth. Not by me- but by the Hungry Montanans. No - not really- they were quite cheerful for being hungry.)

Thanksgiving was fun and delectable - and a bit cozy: 12 of us around a table made for 8 at Mom and Dad Pass's.

The nursery was finally completed - sort of, mostly, except for a minor wall decoration or two - in time for Matthew's arrival and I was so glad because it was put to good use. Over the weekend, I walked around with him and fed him and changed diapers ( and was... ahem ... unceremoniously "anointed" at one point - that'll teach me) so it was great experience. I called him my practice baby. It was a small but nevertheless enlightening foretaste of the intensity and all-consuming constancy of the early stages of motherhood. Oh my. I am already praying for grace. And Matthew was a GOOD baby. He's a heavy little chunk at 14 pounds, but he's a good baby.

One of the little neighbor girls was outside on the deck talking to Brad at one point this weekend and was a bit startled to look through the window and see me carrying a baby around. She said, " I thought he was supposed to come NEXT month!"

( A little parenthetical jaunt here: I am starting to be overwhelmed again at the necessary level of selflessness and risk involved in raising a child. You do EVERYTHING for this other person for literally YEARS and they grow up a little more and don't remember a bit of all you've done for them and no matter how good a parent you are, they develop into snotty, selfish, willful little rug-rat fleshpots who think they are The Boss and have no concept that they owe their existence to you, that you loved them sight unseen, before they had any concept of love, and you then try with all your might to shepherd them to the feet of God and nudge them down the path of sanctification. Hopefully the inevitable selfish child is just a stage that they will grow out of and become responsive, responsible, loving, wise, and mature but there are NO guarantees. Okay- yes, I know there are many joys along the way- I'm not TRYING to be an Eeyore/Ichabod/Doubting Thomas - but you run the risk that this person, who you have poured so much into, could grow into an adult who turns around and adopts ideas and behaviors that could disappoint you, break your heart... and then they could grow distant from you and misunderstand you and choose to reject you. Huh. So... * big revelation of the year*: I guess you kind of HAVE to trust God. This is what HE goes through with His children all the time. It makes me want to run and give my parents BIG HUGS. Well, you're probably reading this, Daddy and Mama, so consider yourself virtually HUGGED. And next time I see you, I'll give you a real one. Thankyou for taking the risk of bringing me into the world and raising me.)

One of the highlights of the weekend for me was on Friday when we had a small crowd gather at our house in the evening. After dinner, Brad started a bonfire in our fire pit and people filtered down to our backyard...and more people came along ... like Jeff and Fritter, Frank, Roy, Nate and Pen, Joe and Helen...and Cousin KJ was already here...Anyway- a jolly time was had by all...( I think) ( maybe everyone was just pretending) and after a while people filtered back into the house and played games and fellowsheeped until the wee hours.

It was nice to get to know Rosanna; she is Brad's only cousin on his father's side. It's not often I meet family members that close for the first time who aren't babies. We had several really good talks.

So there's my Thanksgiving weekend in a nutshell. Brad and I were talking about how Thanksgiving was the last big thing standing between us and the arrival of the baby. Now, Thanksgiving's gone...Next stop: Baby. I wonder when it's going to finally become real to me. Probably about the time I start screaming for the epidural.

I feel like I'm walking blindfolded across a field and I know there's a big cliff coming up, but I'm not sure where it is exactly. But I know I am going to step over the edge...and I really have very little idea of what I will find and what life will be like after the plunge. It will be the culmination of that first startling realization that I was going to have a baby: the moment I saw the test, I felt like the world exploded. I can not imagine what seeing him in the flesh is going to be like.


Amy said...

Very thought provoking post. Except when I was laughing about the thought of you yelling Happy Thanksgiving in the middle of a crowded airport, the anointing, and the willful little rug-rat fleshpots part. :)

So many parents don't seem to put much thought into Life After Conception, I think you're going to be one of the good ones. (Sorry, Brad, two of the good ones.) You're aware of the necessary sacrifices, of the amazing little person involved, and that there will be both trials and the moments that make it more than worth it.

Not that I have much expertise in the area, but I did get an A in my Developmental Psychology class in undergrad...

Amy said...

I'm onto something about Philip looking like Hayden Christiansen, and you're onto something about my father-in-law looking like that guy from Northern Exposure. :) When I read your comment I called Russell and told him...we agree. Kind of freaked us out. :)

redsoxwinthisyear said...

Deep, Claire, deep. I'll chalk your deep thoughts up to the pregnancy.

My close to immediate reaction to your contemplating the scariness of what might be if the child turns out bad: isn't it great that they have this choice? Would it be better if it was any other way? I think not. Because they have the free will to choose bad, when they choose good and the great relationship develops (I trust) with your kid unto old years, it'll be even sweeter.

Which is also how God set things up with us humans. How much do your concerns mirror God's? Probably a lot, minus the not knowing how things will turn out part...

Shari said...

Your Thanksgiving sounds like it was heavenly. Especially the bonfire. We were with Brent's family, who aren't believers. That makes the holidays with them kind of sad. Especially Xmas. The saddest part is that they raised Brent in a very evangelical Christian home (Brent's dad worked for Youth For Christ for YEARS), but have since adopted New Age, extremely liberal views that make us want to cry.

So it's not just the children who can disappoint. Brent's sister is now a Buddhist, so you can imagine how heartbroken he is about her turning away from her faith.

But Claire, I totally know what you mean. Do you know what my prayer for Maisy is every single day, from before she was born? That she will know Him and serve Him and love Him like no one ever has before her. I know that's a pretty lofty prayer, but I don't care. It's all I want. It's all I care about. It's all that matters.

Oh, and by the way, I love the Eeyore in you. It's precious. :-)

Amy said...

I love the name Stevie! That's even better than Arthur (which would most likely be shortened to Artie). But Stevie just sounds so cute. :) When the new puppy does happen (not counting my chickens before they hatch, or should I say, puppies before they come home), Stevie will be at the top of the name list! :)

Amy said...

I assumed at some point that he was non-verbal but wasn't sure how he communicated exactly.

I have a stat counter on my blog. Being free, it doesn't give me much information, just what state or country visitors are from. Sometimes it tells me where someone's provider is (like my mother, who lives in Missouri, looks like she's from Texas), and sometimes it tells where the person actually is, like Georgia. I figure out who's who by comparing when a comment was written with a hit showing up on my stat counter. It's definitely an imperfect system, but it is fun to know where people are, even if they're like my mother and not actually where it says they are. :)

So I've noticed a new visitor from Georgia checking in regularly and, according to my comment/hit time comparison, I figured it had to be you and Philip. I'm a little surprised by how happy I am that he likes to check my blog. I check his every day or so too, just to see what you guys are up to. This evening, in fact, I called Russell over to see his blog. I thought he needed to know who gets to have a say in the naming of our future Puppy #2. :)

Kristi said...

Heh heh, great post. The thought of having a baby is a little scary to me, too, and I'm not even close! But I guess there's comfort in the fact that millions of women before you have done it and survived and actually loved their children and all the selfless serving that goes with it.
I'm excited about seeing you guys and your wee one soon! Man, what timing! Thanks, Dennis. ;-)

ljmax said...

Festering Relish Poultice?
just noticed that.

Yesterday, ethan got it into his head all on his own to make a card for "Claire's baby". It is a winner.

Shari said...

I've been thinking about you all day today, because your birth month is right around the corner! I remember how I was feeling as soon as July hit, because Maisy was due (and born) on July 28th. It's just a roller coaster ride, to say the least. I'm praying for a healthy, safe, and wonderful delivery. And last few weeks of pregnancy. And that God will fill you with peace about everything. I asked my whole family to pray for me like crazy during the birth because I knew I was going to be fearful, and I KNOW the prayers helped. I'm so excited for you guys! I can't WAIT! LOL!