Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Perfect Storm

(Written Jan 23, 2011)

Winter storms (especially here in the Pacific Northwest) are notoriously difficult to predict. Sure, the meteorologist has a general idea of what will happen and when, but it’s all a guessing game. After being sent home twice from the hospital with “false labor” (how contractions that hurt and show up on the monitor can be called false is beyond me!) and having my induction rescheduled (no room at the inn, apparently), I decided that obstetricians were meteorologists with medical degrees! I had begun to think that my dear little boy would attend college in utero! When a woman is just over five feet tall and 42 weeks pregnant, the two words that best describe her are enormous and desperate! I longed for this little guy with more sincerity than a child praying for snow at Christmas.

I’d wanted to be a mother from the time I was old enough to stick a dolly on my hip while I cooked “Lincoln Log casserole” in my little play kitchen. I don’t remember a single present I received for Christmas in 2001, because nothing in a box could hold a candle to the gift waiting inside of me. Christmas and New Years’ had come and gone, as had my husband’s birthday, my due date, and 2 Costco packs of antacids. I would dream of holding my baby (and wake up still pregnant) night after night. With each day that passed, my bulging belly was like a heavy snow cloud, hovering over my future. I knew he was coming, but when?

High blood pressure, while surely not something one usually hopes for, was AWESOME in my eyes. The hospital had to let me in to have this baby! As I reached for the very last antacid at the bottom of the bottle, the phone rang. The hospital wanted me to come! I threw on my only fitting shirt and pants, gripped my husband’s hand excitedly and we headed out into the freezing morning. We were going to the hospital (again), and this time, we were coming back with the baby on the outside!

Like early flurries that fall and stop, so was my labor progression for several hours. Getting ready to push seemed to take a lifetime, but once it was time, he came out quicker than even the doctor expected! My baby came to me like the snow falling outside, quietly and quickly! I expected a big, long wail to fill the halls that night, but he squawked one loud cry, then furrowed his brow and looked around, as if to say, “Alright, who’s in charge here? I hear there is a nice lady who makes milk. I’d like to see her, please.” I spent most of the night just watching him; afraid to close my eyes. I didn’t want this to be a dream. Oblivious to the white blanket covering the world beyond my recovery room, I ran my fingers gently across the flannel that enveloped my son.

After a few little bumps in an otherwise worry-free recovery, my Alans and I were ready to go home. His father drove down the icy streets as if he were transporting the president. He was extremely careful and understandably proud. While it was all sunshine and rainbows in the driver’s seat, reality was hitting me on the head like Kansas hail. This baby was coming home to live with US. Like, ALL THE TIME! I wasn’t waiting for this child’s mother to sign him out, I was his mother! For weeks I fumbled through, adoring my baby, yet secretly hoping that his real mother (who clearly had more of a clue than I did) would come and get him. I didn’t deserve this privilege. He needed somebody who knew what all his cries meant. Someone who didn’t keep the lactation consultant’s phone ringing off the hook. Someone who knew how to avoid getting peed on. Someone who wouldn’t screw this poor kid up! I wondered if the rain of inadequacy would cease-- so I could be more like June Cleaver and less like Lucy. There are days when I still wait …

Nine years later, Alan is still a snow baby. He puts on his snow shoes at the sight of 3 snow flakes and waits expectantly on the porch. He is still a gentle little guy with a plan. All those little thoughts and expressions I once struggled to interpret now come out in run-on sentences. (Hmmm, wonder where he got that?) I know I had a life before children, but I honestly cannot remember it. I’ve grown along side him; gaining experience, confidence and understanding with each passing year, but I still have so much to learn about how to be Alan’s mom. He still sometimes makes me feel like a clueless amateur who has no business raising chickens, much less children. There are days when I feel as though my heart will burst, I love him so much. There are days when I lock myself in the bathroom and scream into my bath towel; afraid I will burst from exasperation. There are days when he has hurts that I can’t fix and cry; wishing with all my might that I could take them for him. But no matter what the day has brought us, as I check on my boy one last time before bed, I am overwhelmed with the reality of how much I love my little boy. I kiss his forehead and remember the night when the perfect storm blew into my life-- changing it forever.

Happy Birthday, Alan Walter!

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About Me

I'm not your average housewife; but then, neither is any other housewife I've met! My life is a constant blur of kids, animals, hunting down and testing allergy-friendly recipes, shopping, LOTS of coffee, yarn crafting, nannying, singing and writing. I married my highschool sweetheart (the introvert who is a type-A, shy, organized, loves hunting, hiking and mountain climbing. He lives for pizza, burgers and cookies and doesn't like coffee). We are polar opposites, but Love, grace and a whole lotta Jesus can overcome anything! :) We have two boys who fill this house with lots of excitement, love, laughter and lunacy! Alan (9) is a happy-go-lucky, inventive, dramatic, eager-to-please kid who loves being dad's shadow and mom's shopping companion. He's the snuggliest kid I've ever met! Wyatt is extremely bright, inquisitive, entertaining and endearing. He lives for routine, Wii games, pixar films and writing stories. Alan is typically-developing, Wyatt has high-functioning autism. We live on an acre in the Pacific Northwest with our two aussies and 5 chickens. It's not the Waltons, but it works! :)