Life Happens Here

I sigh as I look at the ever-growing laundry pile on the living room chair. This is how it goes every week. Wash and dry on Saturday. Plan to fold on Sunday. Plan to fold on Monday. Plan to fold on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Back to Saturday – wash and dry and then add the clothes to the laundry pile. Will the laundry ever stop?

Then I hear Him whisper, “LIFE happens here.”

And I see those tiny socks in a new light. Tiny socks that cover my tiny girls’ tiny feet. Sunny spring rompers that my first girl wore, passed down to my second. Chris’ shorts that were worn in one of our after-the-girls’-bedtime basketball games that I have come to love. And I am thankful for the LIFE that happens here.

I look out the window at the backyard. There’s no designer fire pit. No fancy patio with sandstone pavers. No magical wooden tree house. Definitely nothing worth pinning. All I see is leftover mess. Baseballs littering the grass, the grill cover flung haphazardly over the table, and a blanket wadded over a tree branch.

Then I hear Him whisper, “LIFE happens here.”

And I remember yesterday evening. Chris manning the grill while turned around watching his girls. Claire hitting balls off her T, saying, “Watch this one, Mommy! I’m going to hit it to the moon.” Lucy by my side on a blanket, sitting up strong and tall, all smiles. And I am thankful for the LIFE that happens here.

I see the trail down the hallway. One cowgirl boot, then another. Sock #1, sock #2. Jean shorts. Yellow striped top. Another mess to pick up. Another mess that I didn’t make. I sigh and remember the days of cleaning up only my own messes.

Then I hear Him whisper, “LIFE happens here.”

And I imagine the thrill in my girl’s little heart when she heard Daddy ask the question, “Who wants to put on their swimsuit and run through the sprinklers?” I imagine and then I remember that same thrill in me when my heart was little. I remember small, simple moments like that and how they weren’t small at all to me. I put down the boots in my hand, kick off my own shoes, and walk to the door. The mess can wait. In an instant, it’s all so clear.   And I am thankful for the LIFE that happens here.

I mutter to myself as I grab the mop and bucket from the laundry room. That dog. Sometimes he makes me crazy. Muddy footprints trailing through the kitchen – around the table, over to his water bowl, and then back the way he came. I fill the bucket with water and begin to mop, muttering all the while, “That dog!”.

Then I hear Him whisper, “LIFE happens here.”

And I think about that dog with little Lucy crawling on his head, look of wonder on her face, as she explores his eyes, nose, and whiskers. He just wags along, offering a lick on her cheek every now and then, which causes her to erupt in giggles. I think about that dog chasing Claire round and round the living room, while she shrieks and laughs, begging him to go faster. And I am thankful for the life that happens here.

Dirty dishes fill the sink, crumbs cover the floor, and an assortment of leftovers await their tupperwares. I do not feel like cleaning up this mess after my long day. I begin a small pity party in honor of myself, likening me to Cinderella in my mind. I start humming…Cinderelly, Cinderelly, Night and day it’s Cinderelly, Make the fire, fix the breakfast, Wash the dishes, do the mopping. My pity party is really picking up steam.

Then I hear Him whisper, “LIFE happens here.”

I see Chris at the sink, scrubbing away at the dishes, as he does every night. And I remember he’s my partner – always faithful in every type of mess life brings our way.  I see the leftovers and remember the refrigerator full of food that I pulled ingredients from just hours earlier.  I clean up crumbs and put away a sippy cup, and think about my family sitting around the dinner table together, talking, laughing, sharing our days, and I am thankful for the life that happens here.

When the carpet needs vacuuming and the toilets need scrubbing, pause. When the kids need baths and the sheets need washing, pause. When the furniture needs dusting and the weeds need pulling, pause.

When you are exhausted, when you are discouraged, when you are 100% certain that you will never be enough, pause.

When you don’t have an ounce of grace left to offer yourself, pause.

Pause and listen to His voice, His voice which is full of grace. Pause and let Him remind you, “LIFE happens here.”

Pause and see those little everyday messes for what they truly are – signs of life.

signsoflifeAnd be thankful for the life that happens here.

 

 

Waiting – Part 2

Waiting is hard to do.

Waiting on a reply to an important e-mail.  Waiting in line to use the restroom.  Waiting for Christmas morning (even though I’m 30).

Know what’s really hard to do?  Wait for a baby.  I’d venture to say it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

To say that we had become impatient in waiting for our baby would be accurate.  To say that we had entered the begging/bargaining stage in our prayers wouldn’t be a stretch.

Last Monday evening at bedtime, Claire was close to tears saying she missed our baby and wondering when the little one would be coming along.  Chris suggested that we pray about it, and he asked God to give us dreams about our baby and speak to us as we slept.

The next morning – Tuesday – Claire reminded us of our bedtime conversation.  “Well, do you guys want to hear my dream?”  We were a little surprised that she remembered, and of course, curious.  “I had a dream that our baby is now.”  Chris and I exchanged a glance, silently asking, What does that mean?  We asked for more information and heard matter of factly, “Oh, and our baby is a girl.”  I felt a thrill run through me and a fresh burst of excitement fill my heart.  But Tuesday passed without a word.

Wednesday and Thursday came and went.  Thursday evening I posted something on facebook saying how very anxious we were feeling to get our baby.

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Then on Saturday my phone rang.  I was doing my hair (after finally changing out of my pjs and showering at 4 pm), so I let it go to voicemail.  It was Melissa.  After all these months of waiting, all these moments awaiting this phone call, all the days checking my phone 10, 20, 30 times a day, THE CALL went to voicemail.  I quickly called back and Melissa filled us in.  A birth mom had chosen us and her baby had been born on TUESDAY .  Yes, on Tuesday.  The morning of the “Our Baby is Now” dream.

This was going to – most likely – be our baby.  A baby girl, weighing 5 lbs 15 oz, and 19 inches long.  Healthy and staying in transitional care – with a volunteer family – working for our agency.  But, it wasn’t a done deal yet.  The birth mom, “D”, wanted to talk with us on the phone Sunday evening.

So many questions, thoughts, and emotions were swirling through me.  What does she look like?  When can we see her?  What if…D doesn’t like us?  Something goes wrong?  What if, what if, what if?  And also, Wahoo!!!  Our baby girl is here at last!

Sunday night finally rolled around.  To say we were a huge ball of nerves would be entirely true.  I pressed three wrong buttons before being able to properly answer the phone.  Within the first minute of our conversation, we – Chris, me, D, and her mom – all confessed how nervous we were and shared a good, jittery laugh.  From there, our conversation went beautifully.  All I can say is that D is a delight.  We share so many things in common – from playing basketball, to being homebodies, to our dogs being similar.  After fearing this phone call for so long, we were unbelievably relieved with how it went.  We talked for 45 minutes and soon afterward heard from Melissa that D loved us as much as we loved her.  On Monday D met with her caseworker and at 11:44 we go the official word – this baby girl will be ours!

We will travel to Dallas to have dinner with D and her mom on Friday evening.  Then on Saturday we will meet OUR DAUGHTER for the first time  and get to bring her home.

One of my friends said to me, “Shannon, it’s like you guys have all the emotions of finding out you’re pregnant and having your baby jammed into the same week.”  That pretty much hits the nail on the head.

Life right now is a whirlwind – buying a car seat, bottles, and diapers.  Taking care of paperwork.  Celebrating with friends – and our friends have been over the top amazing – offering meals, making plans to care for Logan while we’re gone, setting up a fundraiser for us.  Calling the doctor.  Planning family visits.  And trying to remember how to take care of a baby.

To say that we are excited would be correct.  To say that we are happy would be perfectly true.  But to say that we are thankful – that just won’t do.  “Thankful” does not do justice to what we feel in our hearts.

I just don’t think there are words strong enough.

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