The moment the truth hits you, you wonder. You wonder how. You try to wrap your head around the idea of this other. And week after week after week you wonder. You lie in bed thinking about it as one of her boney appendages lodges itself in your rib cage for the one thousandth time. The time is drawing nearer and the bottom of your proverbial hourglass is filling up. The day you've been longing for and slightly dreading all at the same time finally arrives.
It's amazing to me that some days in our lives have the ability to play, rewind and play again like an old cassette tape sending you into a tornado of emotions all over again. The day before Ruthie was born is one of those days. An ordinary day but with extraordinary knowledge that my race had been run and the finish line would be crossed tomorrow. I tied up loose ends and ran errands around town with my first born in tow, which when you have just one seems like a huge imposition. I now laugh in the face of my old exasperated self.
That night we take a walk. Our family of three. My belly swollen and heavy, my gait awkward and crooked.
When you know the impending day and time everything turns into
"but babe, this will be our last time to...!" fill in the blank and insert sappy, sentimental whine.
It's a wonder that my husband so happily puts up with my hormonal banter.
An owl hoots. Sitting up on a power line. Lael returns the greeting and we wait to hear an echo. Nothing. But her joy is stirred in the surprise and closeness of our feathered friend, and we smile because of her ever growing curiosity.
Jess comes. Bearing presents and all and most importantly her little bundle of boy who is a mere 7 weeks old. The excitement and anticipation in our house is palpable and we stay up late like we had done so many, many nights in our youth. Talking, laughing and hashing through our thoughts on the day coming.
As my moral support and photographer extraordinaire, she's got her ticket to the one man show and is ready to get it on the road. I feel ready, too.
In the wee hours of the morning when the creaks of the house still sound and the crickets still hum I awaken and know that my slumber has ended. My head is spinning already and I know that I need to quiet my thoughts and submit everything to my Father. I get on my knees. Knowing that this is the best place to be at the dawn of the day that my second born daughter will exit my womb and enter this world. I ask for peace. I ask for His hand of protection and above all else I pray for her soul. That it would be drawn to His heart and that she would follow Him closely. That is all I know to pray, all I know to want. Today and always our lives are in His hands.
It's time. My wild haired lover stumbles out of the bed after my poking and prodding.
"It's time, it's time, it's time!! How can you be sleepy??!!!"
We ready ourselves together, and as fate would have it I'm beginning to feel a rhythm of clinching in my body all on its own. On to the hospital. Indeed, it is time.
Sleep and comfort are hard to come by in the hours ahead, but I hear my dear quietly reciting scripture next to me and it reminds me of who is in control.
Momma, Megan and Jess arrive and here we go.
So all of this time you've been wondering. Wondering how your love and affection will split right in half with the addition of this new, sought after little life. How these two separate planets in the universe of your love will gracefully collide but not completely explode in your face. The birth of your first child rocked you to your very core and there is nothing that will ever come close to touching it. No argument there. Like putting arms and legs on your heart and watching it pump outside of your body.
But then it happens.
She comes easily. You've done this before. You see her emerge and her own father begin to pull her out, but this time you really watch. You drink this moment in gulps because you know all too well how quickly it comes and goes. Time stands still as you hold your breath and you're convinced that the rest of the world is holding its breath as well.
And there she is.
The wondering is over. She isn't the other any longer. She's unique and different and beautiful and darling and amazing all in the same breath. You are her audience and she has captivated it.You run your hand over her head, over that hair that's as black as the night while she nurses.
It is perfection at its peak.
Your love for this child is a separate entity. Equaling but not at all duplicating the love affair you've had for the past 19 months with that first precious creature. You're so thankful and breathe a sigh of relief that your worry at times was for naught. You can and will love again.
The days following come in and go out like the tide and I find myself wanting to stop the minutes, to bring the passing hours to a screeching halt. But in truth, the exhaustion of the whole situation is setting in.
So we arrive at home. The minute we step out of that car is where the rubber meets the road. It's on you, Kelli. I could run. I could run really fast. Away from here and away from the tidal wave of demand that is about to sweep over me. But that thought runs through my head so fast that I swear I didn't really think it.
The welling up of emotion begins and I feel the wetness roll down my face.
"We got this, babe. We can do this."
Really, that's all I needed to hear. The warmth in my husband's words is the balm on my burning, anxious heart.
We can do this, and we will.
And so we do it. Somehow you just do. Like millions and millions of families have done before.
And we love it. Love it exponentially more than any amount of free time we had before these two precious blessings overflowed our cups. More than any amount of deafening quietness and more than any amount of extra money. And even in the midst of the constant awakenings, feedings and pacifying, I look into those puffy little newborn eyes and know without a doubt that I did absolutely nothing to deserve this. The Lord has flooded His mercy upon me and given me a gift that I will never be able to adequately thank Him for. Glory be to God.
My dear, dear Ruthie girl. The addition that you are to our family has been more wonderful than I could have ever imagined. Your Daddy, sister and I love you to pieces. Happy Birthday, my love.