I asked Jared to help me find some time away this week, just an hour or two to sit at a coffee shop with the mission to determine if I still have it in me to write, to see if I’m still the same person somewhere in there, the person who puts words together to make some fraction of sense from the world, to stay somewhere in the realm of sanity. It took me about ten minutes and 39 sips of coffee to write that run-on sentence, so the verdict is still out.
Gabriel Anderson Perry joined our family on September 26, six weeks ago tomorrow. His birth was beautiful and sacred, filled with doctors and nurses who listened to my every wish and did all they could to grant them, to make something as unnatural as a Cesarean as serene and special as possible. We played music during the surgery and I whisper-sang, “Give me vision to see things like You do,” just before Gabriel was born. I’d like to believe God granted my request, that He gave me His eyes to see Gabriel for the first time, because the moment he came into view, all I could see was beauty. He was lying on my chest within seconds of entering the world, full, pink cheeks and lips to sweet for words receiving a hundred kisses from mine. I cried the same tears that I only have twice before, the day I married Jared and the day Owen was born, the tears that burst forth when the soul is doing the same.
I suppose it’s normal to still be dancing in a bit of fog at this stage, especially when the past 41 days have included four trips to Houston for casting appointments amidst the already wild weeks of adjusting to a life with two littles two years old and younger, newborn schedules, hormones eager to re-regulate (or is it just that I am?) and the itch to discover what our life “looks like” now. I’m entirely unsure how much of this is typical and how much is related to Gabriel’s clubfoot journey, not that it really matters. Some days the fog starts to clear and then I catch of glimpse of his casts and my vision gets blurry again. Some days the very same glimpse clears the fog all the more, reminding me just how great a privilege it is to watch over one who has a bit extra to overcome.
It can be difficult not to fantasize about life with a second-born who doesn’t have any medical issues. My unrealistic notions tempt me to believe that life would be so easy, that I would already have this Mom of two thing down and be on to climbing some new mountain, like opening our home for our first foster care placement, or writing more consistently, or accomplishing something else on my list of someday dreams. Likely, none of what I believe life would be like is true, but even if it is, that’s not the point. As Brett Harris said, “This is not some big distraction. This is not some huge detour. This is the path God has for us and it leads somewhere good.” I am stretched and sore physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. If I remember correctly, stretching leads to greater flexibility, soreness is a sign that muscles are growing stronger. This is my hope for Gabriel physically, and my hope for myself in every dimension of life. If my mission is to see Thy Kingdom Come, I’ll take all the flexibility and muscle I can get.
It feels both hard and good to get these words out, the same way most of life feels hard and good right now. I know I’m not the only one living in this tension, far from it. If you’re one of us, I hope that reading this post helps you believe that there’s good amidst the hard for those who love Him, the same way that writing it helps me believe.
A full cup of coffee and over an hour later, and I’d say I’m still me, still writing and erasing and re-writing in order to find some sense and meaning. I’ll be back soon.