Saturday, March 29, 2014

Midnight revelation

Last night I took a picture of Hayden at midnight.. and it inspired this blogpost.

I love that picture.  So.much.   And I didn't even plan it.

Hayden was up at midnight last night .. he went to sleep a little too early, and as a result he thought midnight was morning time. Lily was sound asleep in the co-sleeper and Sam was passed out beside me in bed, when Hayden decided it would be a fantastic idea to wake up and play. I tried nursing him back to sleep, but even in the dark I could see him watching me out of the corner of his eye. It was like he was saying, "don't even try it, mom. I am NOT going back to sleep." And sure enough, as soon as he was done nursing, he bolted upright and yelled "aaahhh dada !" Which is Hayden speak for "let's party!"

I was so tired and delirious I gave him my reading light, thinking maybe he could entertain himself while I dozed.. as if he would really just sit still for the next six hours, calmly playing and cooing ??

These are the strange thoughts of an exhausted mother of many at midnight.

Hayden did find my reading light fascinating for about two minutes, and I took that opportunity to check my email from my phone... I glanced up at him and thought - that's cool how his face is all lit up - and I snapped the photo. And when I looked at it I couldn't believe what an amazing photo it turned out to be... it looks like a painting to me! His cute little features are highlighted, and he's just staring at that reading light in wonder ... I love it. (I'm pretty sure staring at a little ole' reading light for two minutes is not the same thing as staring at the sun for 20 seconds, right ? Because a kid in first grade told me that would make you go blind, and I've always been a smidgeon scared of bright lights since then. Carry on.)

So this is where my midnight inspiration came in. I had twenty minutes of watching Hayden play with my phone, my magazine, my hair clip (hey, I said I was delirious) to think about this blogpost... because that sweet looking photo above really made me draw some big analogies.

Note: my little angel finally drifted off to sleep for a few hours ... before waking me up with a head-butt to the lip ... but that's a different blogpost in itself. 

And now for my midnight inspiration. If it doesn't sound as deep and profound as it did at that ungodly hour when moms should be sleeping... just look at the cute pictures in this post and ignore the words. I'll forgive you, and you'll still like me, and we can all be friends.

Drumroll pleeeeease......

Unplanned moments are oftentimes the best.


Life unscripted turns out to be really great.


I can plan some things, but I really like it when God does it better.

Take for instance, child planning. 

Most of my children were planned. (If this were a text message I would insert "lol.") What I mean by that is - prior to conception, most of our children were conceived because Sam and I looked at each other and said, "let's have a baby." Okay well, it took a bit more than that, but this is a family blog, get my point.

But some of my children... who shall remain nameless... were a bit of a surprise. As in - we didn't exactly look at each other and say "let's have a baby". Instead, we looked at a pregnancy test and said," yay! we're having a baby !" It's not that we didn't want to be pregnant.. we were maybe just not praying and planning for it at that moment.

One of those "surprises".... was our fourth child. After two heartbreaking back-to-back miscarriages I had decided I was done. I'm not sure Sam was on the same page, but I was so broken and hurt by the loss of those two babies I didn't want to risk getting hurt like that ever again. In fact, I remember crying so hard when I took that first pregnancy test with Tyler, imagining what it would feel like to lose another baby. I was so scared - I begged God to let it happen right away if it was going to happen. My previous miscarriages had happened at 14 and 10 weeks, long enough for me to feel emotionally connected to my baby. To my utter surprise (and complete lack of faith) Tyler Kevin arrived healthy and happy 8 months later, my beautiful rainbow baby.

And because of that diversion from my plans - to stop having children - my hope and faith in God, and trust in my body to be able to carry a baby again was restored. So when I think of what we would have missed out on ... Jonathan and Caleb and Abigail and Noah and Jackson and Lily and Hayden ... I am so very thankful for that unplanned pregnancy.

 Exhibit B : Family Vacations

I realize this topic is slightly less life changing than the previous example of unplanned things going well... but bare with me. Wait no, don't do that. Bear with me ? Okay, yes, that's better. (Mrs. McHenry, you can stop rolling over in your grave now.)

Sam and I have planned lots of family vacations over the years. LOTS of family vacations. Some of them we saved for a year and a half for (hello, Disneyland!), making sure every detail was covered : where we would stay, what route we would take, where we would eat.. we talked to friends about what the most family friendly restaurants were, we scoured the internet for travel ideas and coupons, we packed bags full of games and music and snacks the month before we left, we made a list of everything we wanted to see and do on our trip....we had it all planned.

I won't go into the gory details of how some of those trips actually turned into a plot for a sequel to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles... like losing our dog at a pit-stop and realizing she was missing four hours later... or having our van break down on The Grapevine ...

Oh wait- I said I wasn't going into the sordid details, didn't I ?

Well let me tell you about some of the best vacations I've ever been on in my life. There was that impromptu trip to the Oregon coast with our family one May, when Sam's work was a little slow. The weather ended up being better than any summer trip we've planned, and we spent endless hours at the beach. In shorts. Without freezing. (And all the Oregonian readers just said  wait wha ---??) There was a trip my husband took me on - a second honeymoon- to Birch Bay, Washington. All the other resorts in the time-share a friend owned were full, and Birch Bay was our only option. But the beautiful lazy little town completely stole my heart, and I don't know that I've ever felt as relaxed and peaceful on vacation as I did on that trip. We slept in every morning, we ate at the simplest little mom and pop place for breakfast every morning, we walked on the beach and got flavored icees, we took naps, we crossed over to Canada and saw friends, we had absolutely no plans each day as to what we were going to do - we just made it all up as we went along. And we had the time of our lives.

If you were to ask my kids what some of their favorite memories were, I bet they would list some of our least planned family vacations right up there with Disneyland. Maybe it's because we didn't go into them with any anticipation of bells and whistles and ...   Mickey Mouse fireworks ... we just got in the van and drove and some of the loveliest moments happened along the way.

And of course, I cannot conclude this little essay without the sweetest of unscripted experiences:

Down syndrome.

If someone had asked me years ago - would you like to plan on having a daughter with Down syndrome ? My answer would have been an unequivocal no. Oh sure, I was open to whoever God gave us, and I knew I would love and embrace His will and plan for us, no matter what that included. In theory. But plan a child with Down syndrome ?  Not on your life. In fact, I deliberately prayed that none of my babies would have Down syndrome...and when markers on an ultrasound during my 8th pregnancy (Noah) showed up, I literally begged God to please make sure my unborn baby did not have Down syndrome. That was not part of my plan. Not even remotely.

But here we are today...

...and Lily is one of our greatest blessings in life. We don't patiently endure her, we don't tolerate her, we aren't resigned to the fact that she is our child.... on the contrary. We feel like we won the lottery with Lily. We are grateful for her, we are blessed-beyond-blessed to have her in our lives - we couldn't picture life without her. We don't like to even think of what life without Lily would look like - the thought of how my life would be if MY plans had happened scares the crud out of me, truth be told. Thank God my dumb little script was tossed out the window. Thank God.

He had a better story, a story rich with color and texture and plot and characters and meaning - real meaning - beyond what my boring little narrative would have been. He has richly blessed us with this little girl, and I couldn't be happier for the unexpected joy I've found in her. 

So there you have it. My little midnight revelation, if you will. And now, if you'll excuse me, I have a little shut-eye to catch up on. 

Sweet dreams from the Rice Ranch.

28 And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good, if we love God and are fitting into his plans. Romans 8:28


crystalkupper said...

One of your best blogs yet.

Mary said...

A beautiful midnight revelation! And a magical photo capture.

Ashley Marie said...

I can so relate to your feeling of begging God to not let your baby have DS. Madi didn't have any markers, but my gut was never settled throughout pregnancy- I knew she did contrary to what the MFM doctor said after my labs came back at an increased risk. I remember laying on the OR table as they were delivering Madi, they'd made the first incision and were bringing in my husband for the delivery and I laid there with my eyes closed BEGGING God out loud, "Please God. Please. This is your last chance to change it. Pleaseeee God" with tears rolling down my face in anticipation of what I knew was coming. The whole delivery was the exact nightmare I didn't want. We've been through hell and back with Madi, but I also love Gods unexpected plans. This sweet girl of ours, while has aged me ten years in the last eight months, brings me more joy than I could ever imagined and has helped to renew my faith in Christ in ways I can't explain. Thank you for this post Patti. It was just what I needed today. ❤️

Deanna said...

Beautiful, Patti. Even better than I dreamed it would be. (-;

cara said...

Can I tell you how much I love this post?! It literally breaks my heart today to think of the times that I was so relieved for that phone call with the reassuring nurse on the other end telling me that the test was negative for any markers for Down Syndrome. And the only time I didn't get the early test done with our sixth little blessing, and had a home birth, was with our extra special blessing with that extra special chromosome. I will never forget when Jon and I were in the parking lot of the hospital with our sweet newborn in the backseat getting ready to take him in for a test that would forever change us. We held hands and prayed. At this point, we had met our son. And he was perfect just the way he was. He was a gift and a great blessing. We didn't even know how to pray because we certainly didn't want to pray for something that would change him. If he had Down Syndrome, we knew he was already perfect. And he has been one of the greatest blessings in our lives as well. Yes, often times the things we don't plan are the best treasures. And God is doing it all.

I have a friend that has always wanted a child with Down Syndrome. I think that is so special. xoxo

Bethany Eicher said...

Living with a man who loves the word "flexible" for nearly 13 years, has taught me that this is so very true! :) I kinda think God loves that word too!

Kathy McElhaney said...

Love that picture.

Last year was my first Christmas without my Dad. My husband and I spent it in Hawaii with only one plan for the day - see the sunrise from the beach. It ended up being an incredible day as we made our way around the island, finishing with a sunset at the beach. Months later, I think about that day with such joy.

Nicole said...

Best read ever. Love how perfectly you put our sentiments into words, how we do not 'endure', but rather revel in winning the lotto. Thank you!

Unknown said...

Sweet!! Love that post!! Love that you say you won the lottery!! Thank you Patti!

Mary Lou said...

Those pictures!! Don't you just love "happy accidents"?! I do!! ;-D
I love, love, love the child planning analogy!! I think I love you!! {Oh dear, now that "Partridge Family" song will be stuck in our heads all night long!! Whoops.} ;)
I can't but agree!! Unplanned vacations are the best!! ;-D
I loved what you wrote about Lily and Down syndrome!! I vehemently read it to myself aloud as everybody is at church while I catch up on Blogs!! ;)