After my miracle garden of wildflowers last summer, I’ve been thoroughly taken with the made-up task to secure seeds for the coming spring. I know which flowers’ company really touched me, which ones only sort of did well in the clay-based soil native out here, which ones were bountiful and what I wished I had more of. It was a summer of waiting and I had, by almost no success of my own, planted a garden that—to me— was amazing. I walk by the window thinking about when the snow leaves and things get muddy and slightly more mild. I’ll get to do it all over again.
I have a picture of myself on my phone that I’ve come back to a few times over the last four-ish months. It’s a selfie of me and a bouquet that I’m almost clutching like my dog or a warm blanket—it’s evident to me that what I am holding is comfort. The historically inconspicuous complexion of my face, my cursed blotchy cheeks, a key to my closest loved ones, reveal that I’d been crying. Holding this bunch of flowers, beheld in my eye as one of the most beautiful and miraculous things I could experience, taking this photo to remind myself of the garden. We had just gotten home from a two-week trip I’d been looking forward to all summer. The trip was heaven. Coming home, less heavenly, I learned that the job I’d gone all out for wasn’t being offered to me. I learned the same day that we weren’t pregnant.
One month later, the month John started his first semester of nursing school, the month I started a different job, we found out after about eight months of hoping to find out, that I was pregnant.
This is the perspective of our miracle from the very cusp of it. For all those months that we weren’t on the cusp, our mourning unresolved, there was just waiting.
“We have always been a waiting people.” Something our pastor said on the topic of advent.
I love to think back to the summer, or even last spring, and think about if I could’ve told myself: a year from now you’ll have a daughter. Any of the moments in the last year could be sweetened by this future knowledge. So says hindsight. And so says I from a place in an alternate reality. I never could have known the plan. I never could have known the timeline. And I’m pretty sure that’s the point.
My woes these days are discomfort. Finding sleep to be harder than I thought it might be, because there’s a tiny child, halfway through her in-utero lifespan, moving and kicking and being formed. She is a miracle, like my flower garden. Somehow her miraculous existence is the weight I currently carry. Yes the physical weight, but the concern too. Is she going to be okay? I need to read these 70 books on giving birth and breast feeding and sleep training. I need to take my vitamins. I need to stop crying. I need to not be scared. I need to figure out what nipple pads are. Woah, I really need to read more about breast feeding.
This is the very humanity in my blood. I think all the time about how for others, their timeline is longer than mine. Or it was interrupted. They’ve been waiting for their babies and are waiting for their babies—or waiting for something else. When God gives us our garden of flowers, even in the case of the gardener haphazardly dumping a bag of seeds over rocky soil in the rain with very little knowledge of what she’s doing, when He gives us our garden, we are still human gardeners. We make lists and perpetuate new anxieties and find a way to forsake this gift that we love more than the One who gave it to us.
I come back to this quote quite often, though its nature is simple and supplementary to the truth I cling to every day. “Remember when you wanted what you currently have.”
Laying down the burden of muddying the waters with my very human ways, I think about our girl.
Will you be funny? Will you like what I like (this could range from cereal types, Meryl and good manners to folk music, important movies, and elderly people)? Will you be shy and serious like your mama? (Pregnancy has already done well to change any shyness.) Will you be charismatic, hospitable, and generous like your dad? Will you love to sing like your dad (again, charismatic), will you like old man music like your dad (Steely Dan), will you have the curly crazy hair of your dad?
I hope you find it as endearing as I do when our dog comes running when he hears me scraping the edge of a jelly jar. I actually hope you are just obsessed with our dog.
Just wait until you meet our people. Your grandparents, your aunts and uncles, our friends, who we will confuse you about and also call your aunts and uncles. They are all parts of us, and will be able to give you things we won’t. There’s an entire world waiting for you to get here. I am equally torn by wanting to feel you moving in my stomach forever, and feeling like I preemptively miss you. How could I miss you already? Hormones are crazy. It feels like you should be here by now. Just wait until I tell you about the pair of overalls I bought in honor of carrying you inside of me. They expand. It’s pretty cool.
I’ve thought quite a lot throughout my life thus far about the things I’d like to teach my children. The obvious things of course, as well as the little things that you just can feel have changed your time on this earth. It’s occurring to me now that parenthood will be experienced in lessons as well. Lessons for the parents. (I can hear my mom chuckling to herself.) Lessons for everyone! (-Oprah) I consider this—the garden, the waiting, the deep humanity that marks my every season— my first lesson. Life is wild.