Sunday, August 29, 2010

Joyfully joyful joy

Well, we are moved into our new place.  It’s chilly down here, so chilly I’ve actually shivered.   Shivers of chilly joy.  The kitchen is mostly unpacked and I broke it in by making pancakes for breakfast.  Pancakes of fluffy, warm joy.  I actually have counter space and was able to pull out my electric griddle.  That griddle has been lonely in its box for that last year or so.  But no longer!  It is sitting out in the cool basement air basking in light.  Light of kitchen window joy.

We both needed showers this morning.  We were stinky from the manual labor of yesterday, but were limited on time before church.  So we showered simultaneously. . . in our own separate bathrooms.  Bathrooms of clean, steamy joy.

I dried my hair and put on my makeup and dress.  We opened our front door and, for once, the outside air was warmer than the inside.  I heard angels singing above us.  Angels of melodious joy.  We pulled up to our old ward building as it began to sink in that this was our last Sunday there.  We sat in the chapel and I fought back tears.  Paul kept asking me what was wrong which only made those tears come faster.  Tears of bitter-sweet sorrow.  I opened my eyes wide to let the tears evaporate before they smudged my mascara.  Paul said I should have passed on the make-up, but I was just thinking I should have used water-proof.

The intermediate hymn was a musical number by the youth, and I saw all my pupils sharing their testimonies in song.  I knew I would miss my babies.  I began to cry again, but I couldn’t hold back tears any longer.  I was so grateful for the opportunity to teach those wonderful kids!  Tears of grateful, blessed joy.  I felt relieved to see one of the speakers on the stand bawling too, although probably for different reasons.

So much joy!

Tomorrow I start school again at BYU, and I am terrified.  Can I do school and work and muscle my way though my last trimester of pregnancy which starts in three short weeks?  I’m about to find out.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Faith, trust, and a bicycle

I confess.  I have trust issues.  Or control issues.  Maybe a miserable combination of both.  I think I've had them my entire life, but I only discovered them when Paul and I got engaged.  Our first summer together was heavenly, but when school started I began to panic.  I realized how well Paul did in school directly affected me.  He was destined to be the main provider for our future family and, in turn, my future relied on his success.

I love school.  I love writing papers, learning and sharing knowledge, discovering my limits and pushing them, and the feeling of control I get knowing I earned the grade I got, however low or high it may be.  But I couldn't control Paul's school habits.  I told myself I trusted him, but the truth was I didn't.  At least, not with his school work, although it has taken me two years to admit.  I took it upon myself to do what I could to keep him focused and motivated.  Each night he would come after class to see me.  We talk about our day and I would immediately start asking what I could do to help him with his semester.  I offered to make flash cards.  I told him that we could have study time and do homework together.  I asked him about upcoming tests and reminded him of important academic dates.

If you are shaking your head right now it is because you know my husband.  He has many gifts and a big brain is one of them.  He's good at school and a motivated man.

He struggled that semester though.  I think my (I wouldn't say nagging) soft spoken reminders brought him more stress than relief.  At the end of his long school day he would come visit his fiance for an hour for some rest and reassurance, and instead was bombarded by more school bleh.  Bless his heart.  He was so patient and kind to me, and loved me through all those fears I had.  As the next semester plopped under my radar I finally decided to leave him alone about it.  I needed to trust him-- really trust him.  He made a 4.0 that semester and my grades went up too.

So. . . I haven't bothered him about his school work since.  I thought I'd learned my lesson.

But this summer has been difficult for me.  Knowing there's a baby on the way, that I'll be leaving my job, and that I'll no longer be in control of the finances scares me to death.  I've had to remind myself about the story above and try to trust Paul again with something new.  But the can of worms that this trial has opened up has been a dark truth that I never thought I'd face.

I don't trust God either, at least, not the way I should.

I have faith that He's my creator.  I know He loves me.  I know He blesses and comforts me.  I pray to Him asking for guidance and support, but being still and allowing Him to do that is. . . difficult.  Letting someone else be in control is scary, even if it's deity.

I know, I have trust issues.  Or control issues.  Fine, both.

So, this summer when Paul and I discovered an apartment opening up closer to our parents we leaped at the opportunity to apply.  We prayed.  We asked our Heavenly Father to help us know if this was the direction we were to go.  We felt good about it.  One swift call to the landlady, and we were in the drawing of potential tenants.  But many were as interested as we were.  We asked Heavenly Father to prompt the landlords to choose us only if this is where He wanted us, and we promised to accept His will.  Time passed and I began to battle discouragement.

He's an unpleasant guy, Discouragement.  Gangling creature, too much facial hair in all the wrong places.  I digress.

We got picked to live in the apartment.  It was a miracle.  They said we could move in by the 15th of August, but our current landlady required us to pay for all of August.  We knew we couldn't afford to pay for two apartments at once, so we prayed again.  The family moving out had some delays and the move-in date was pushed back 'til the end of the month.  Perfect.

Next, we worried about school starting, buying books, paying a deposit and the timing of these events.  We needed to sell our washer and dryer and some bookshelves to help raise the money we needed.  I worried up the storm that flooded Utah streets today.  I put up some ads online but realized the timing of these items selling was out of my control.  I was afraid they wouldn't sell soon enough.

I know God has been guiding us through this whole process.  I know He is aware of what I need.  But I felt so afraid to trust Him at every turn because I didn't want to face the disappointment of not getting the answer I wanted.

So.  He pushed my limits by giving me promptings I was afraid to follow, by putting a child in my womb, by making my circumstance uncomfortable enough for me to finally deal with that ugly problem I've avoided all my life.

I'm trusting Him now, maybe not perfectly, but I'm trying.  I feel like I'm learning to ride a bike and He's staying close to me while I'm so wobbly.  I'm crying out like I did when I was five, "Don't let go!  I'm scared!"  But He won't.  I trust that.

We've sold the shelves and a man is coming to look at the washer an dryer in about an hour.

I'm pedaling still.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

'Due' not open 'til December

Get it?  The title?  'Due' not open, instead of 'Do' not open?  Cause my baby's 'due' in December!  Oi.  That is not only a terrible title but a terrible pun.  (I'm embarrassed to admit I laughed aloud when I wrote it.)  *Shrug*

Yesterday, my mother-in-law (happy birthday!) and I were talking about my baby coming late.  She said, "What if she comes after New Years?"  We both looked at each other in horror.  That would be so sad!  She'd miss her first Christmas by a week and Paul would miss the tax deductions.  I've decided to write her a little letter to help ease any fears she may have so she'll want to come here on time.
Dear little one,

You are getting so big.  I feel you so often now that I start to panic if you haven't moved in a couple hours.  You love to rest your head right on top of my bladder.  It's warm and squishy and you are a snuggler.  Being the queen of snugglers I know warm and squishy are important.  I will have to empty it quite often, if that's okay with you.  You've left me no other choice actually.  But I will fill it quickly and you can have it back for snuggle time for another couple hours before I'm back in the bathroom again.

You love to kick my belly button.  When I press on my tummy you press back.  You especially love when your daddy presses.  That gets you really excited!  My friend said you must like boys already.  I hope not.  I'm not ready for that!  But I'll share a little secret with you.  Boys have cooties.  They are highly contagious and cause insanity.  I hear they go away at about age 16.  Just saying.

I can't wait to see your little face and look into your blue eyes.  At least, your eyes will probably be blue.  With two blue-eyed parents your chances of inheriting that particular pigment are quite high.  I wonder if you will have hair.  Your chances of that are not so high.  I've made a couple bows for you just in case.  If you are anything like I was, matching bows will be important.

I've bought your first little outfit.  It has long pants to keep your legs warm.  The world will be a chilly place when you come.  Snow, there may be some of that.  It's white and cold-- two things that you haven't seen or felt yet.  But it's made from water and can get pretty wet when it melts.  You will understand what wet is really like when you feel what it's like to be dry. 

The houses will be decorated with strings of twinkling lights and the smell of cinnamon and baking will permeate your Grandpa and Grandma Hatchett's kitchen.  Outdoor trees will be brought indoors where they will be trimmed and lit.  Sparkly balls and snowflakes will hang from the branches.  Music will ring out everywhere singing of Santa and Jack Frost and snowmen and reindeer and bells.

Little statues of babies will lay in hay mangers as the Christian world celebrates the birth of another special baby.  A baby born 2,000+ years before you.  You will come to know him as your Savior, Jesus Christ.  Songs will be sung about Him as well.  Those songs will be different, more reverent, but joyful.  Grandma and Grandpa Rowberry will sing them with their choir.  You're daddy and I will watch them on TV this year because you'll be so big and almost ready to make your debut.

If you are quite late and come after Christmas you will miss the festivities and have to wait another year to experience these wonderful things.  Maybe this will motivate you to come on time, baby girl. :)  I may have come three weeks late when I was born but I don't know why I waited so long.  The world is a beautiful place when you are surrounded by people who love you.  And you will be.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010


4:48 A.M.  I've been up since before three.  And although I can't quite pinpoint why it is that I've caught a sudden case of the wide-awakies, I think it has something to do with babies.

My sister-in-law had her baby on Monday.  He was delivered via c-section so he came out looking lovely and plump instead of cone-headed and wrinkled like the vaginally born.  His parents are so enthralled with him they have a case of the wide-awakies too.  Or it could be a case of the baby-needs-feed-every-two-hours-itis.  But they aren't doing a lot of sleeping and it could be that my unusual alertness is out of sympathy.

It could also be attributed to my insatiable hunger.  I'm trying so hard to watch what I eat and keep my pregnancy weight gain at a healthy rate.  I spend a lot of time chewing gum and tricking myself into not consuming someones pet dog.  Actually, any animal in close proximity will do, with garlic and butter. . . But tonight I've been battling hunger pains since 3:30ish and my avoidance of eating in the middle of the night has spurred my first trimester nausea.  So, I just ate a bowl of Kix which will satisfy me for about sixteen and a half minutes.

5:00. . . Well, writing hasn't made me tired.

It could be my little girl keeping me up.  I started noticing at about, oh, 2:57 that she was moving up a storm.  I wonder what mischief she's getting into because she was very active all day and now all night.  I've read all the baby literature that says unborn babies sleep as much as newborns.  This is either a lie, or I'm bracing myself for a baby with the wide-awakies for Christmas.  Or!  Perhaps she's excited that we've picked out her name.  I should play some Josh Groban into my belly to lull her into dream land.

5:06.  My stomach aches.  She must be having a growth spurt.  I laid a pillow under my belly to keep it propped up at a relatively comfy position but it didn't seem to stop the aching.  Paul rolled over onto the pillow and rendered it inaccessible when I needed to switch to my other side.  I miss sleeping on my tummy, it's true.  I've been a tummy sleeper forever.  If we slept in the pre-existence I was on my tummy with my face nestled in a pillow exposing just one nostril to breath through.  It's the best way to sleep.

5:15.  I'm hungry again.  Go figure.

5:22  Listening to this.  It's helping.  I think I'll go lay down and try to doze.  I've got about an hour before my alarm goes off.

Night night.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Inside out storms

The storms have rolled into city.  Thunder and lightning have boomed and flashed for days now.  The gray of the skies have cooled the earth below, and Paul and I have retired out A/C until further notice.  Last night we turned out the lights and laid on our backs nestled atop our comfy bed.  We watched the lightning striking outside our window and we counted seconds until the thunder.  The periods of silence grew longer and we knew the storm was moving away only to make room for a new one.  Paul said it storms like this a lot in Washington, minus the thunder and lightning.  But that's my favorite part, that and turning off the expensive A/C (it only cools one room anyway).

The baby has been docile.  Her squirms and wiggles have been so hesitant since the storm arose.  I woke her up yesterday to see if she still liked me at all.  She kicked high in the womb softly and I knew she was right where she likes to be-- upside down with her little bum tucked beneath my belly button.  It wasn't until the dark evening of cuddling and storm watching that she started moving around with some regularity again.  She loves her daddy.  He put his hand on my stomach and she kicked it like she always does.  It's like she's magnetically drawn to him.  I could sit with my hand on my belly for some time and she'll do nothing, but as soon as her daddy puts his hand over her she puts on a show.  Her kicks are getting stronger and last night her daddy finally felt them.

 My arms physically ache to hold her.  I imagine this sensation only grows stronger the closer you get to delivery.

I feel like storms are rolling in my head.  Swirling incoherent thoughts and questions, so many questions that no one can answer.  What will be her name?  What will she look like?  What temperament will she have?  Will she like me?  Will she continue to grow and be healthy?  What struggles will she face?  How can I prepare her for those struggles?

Time will tell.  Time and a little inspiration.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Goodbye to a wonderful pet

What a week!  The majority of it was spent telling people how extraordinarily talented my little sister is at painting nails and that I am having a baby that will smell just like my older sister's car.  What more could a person want?  Perhaps a dream revealing the perfect name for my baby, but that's neither here nor there.

Oh, we got a new pet!  Her name is Loona.

She came into our family at the beginning of July when my aunts and grandmother threw a little baby shower for me.  The women of the family were able to pool together enough funds to purchase my beautiful new rocking chair as well as a stroller.  And as if that generosity wasn't enough, they let me keep the balloons!

Balloons are like owning goldfish.  Most of them die with in a few days.  Except one.  Loona.  She floated by the ceiling in the spare room for a couple of weeks before she was brave enough to come down a little.  When she did she became quite social.  One early morning as I rolled out of bed to use the. . . facilities. . . I was scared stiff by Loona moving in the dark in front of the bathroom door.  I sidestepped her wondering how she got there and proceeded with my morning routine.  I left the bathroom and headed into the kitchen for a bowl of cereal.  Loona was now in the living room.  I peered down the hall into our bedroom to see Paul wheezing and fast asleep.  Who was moving this crazy balloon?  I walked back into the kitchen and nearly tripped over her floating figure.

Apparently, I have a needy balloon.

I allowed her to follow me around all morning, long after Paul left.  She kept me company as I did laundry and washed dishes.  She watched my favorite cooking show with me.  She got on my nerves when I tried to check the mail and I banished her to the spare room once again where she floated around in circles angrily.

We have a complex relationship.

One night I was awoken by a banging noise.  The blinds over the back window were clanking against the metal frame as the wind picked up and died down.  I stumbled into the room, closed the window and turned to leave.  Loona floated right into the doorway.  Keep in mind that at two o'clock in the morning everything is creepy.  Even a polka-dot baby balloon.  I jumped out of my skin, kicked her into the hallway and flung myself into my bed.  The excess adrenaline made sleeping difficult for some time.

She was there the next morning, sitting outside the bathroom door, waiting for me appoligetically.

I forgave her.  She's too cute to stay mad at for long.

Alas, I also have some sad news.  She is getting old.  A month in balloon years is like 97.36 in human years and she'll have to be put to sleep soon.  She's no longer mobile and I'm pretty sure she's incontinent.

Paul and I will miss you very much.  R.I.P. LOONA.

P.S.  Paul wanted me to post something I wrote at the beginning of March but never finished.  He says it's significant now.  You'll find out why later this month.
Today as I sit in my living room I realized the reason for my recent sorrow that has drug me through this past month.  I was wishing my life away again.  I say again because it's one of my pet sins.  I just keep going back to that vomit of a feeling for reasons I don't yet understand or at least don't want to face.  But right now I feel some peace as I listen to the kitchen faucet drip rhythmically.  That noise has been my constant companion since April, 2009.  When I'm too far from the kitchen to hear the ticks of the water hit the metal sink I can still be soothed by the tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap of minerally water from the leaky bath tub faucet.  And you wanna know what?

I'm gonna miss that someday.  I really think I will.

Drip on, faucet.  Drip on.