When the Snowflakes and Doubts Fall

So on Friday around 10 a.m., Lambchop, who comes out every week to read poetry to my sweet second graders, led the class in a very special Snow Dance.

You see, this Snow Dance NEEDED to work.

It had been a week.

Chaperoning a gym full of third, fourth, and fifth graders during an after-school Cupid Hop Dance, a Valentine’s Day exchange, and a couple of meetings after school made for a sleepy Mrs. S.

Not to mention that I took the morning off the day before to finally go to the doctor and get some real medicine for the sinus infection I had been fighting all week because Tylenol Cold had been as effective as eating a bag of Cheetos.

(I’m fairly certain Tylenol Cold is a placebo).

I was almost in the fetal position on my classroom beanbag with a white flag by Friday.

Listen. I know people juggle a lot more things that are much worse, but this almost 9 months preggo just needed a little break.

Little did I know that this apparently was the greatest snow dance in history and would not only work, but God showed us great favor and gave us the whole WEEK.

If you had told me that last week, I would’ve fallen over in said bean bag laughing because we live in Middle Tennessee aka the Snow Dome of the world and THIS NEVER HAPPENS.

Y’all, I am so thankful.

I hate that the ice made for some downed trees and power lines and caused wrecks and worse. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, but Y’ALL.

I. am. so. thankful.

In more ways than one.

You see, this week has been more introspective for me than maybe for others.

If you know me, you know we’re about to experience a huge change in our lives. The greatest change is that our family of two will become three and we are beyond excited and grateful.

But I’d be lying if I said that we’re not a little bit anxious and nervous, as well.

(If any new parent says they’re not, give them a fire extinguisher because their pants are on fire).

Let’s have a little backstory: For as long as I’ve known I’ve wanted to be a teacher, I’ve also known I’ve wanted to be mama.

A stay-at-home mama.

For some mamas they can’t imagine having to stay home, and I get that. It doesn’t make any mother better than the other, but my Mama did it and she says it was one of the greatest blessings of her life.

However, real life happens and for a while I didn’t know if that dream would be possible for us. Then, one summer evening a couple of years ago, Brett and I were eating dinner on the back deck. He lands an Excel spreadsheet on the table and I teared up instantly.

It was a budget based on his salary and none of mine.

And it worked.

We could do this. 

Fast forward to this past year and when we paid the last of student loans making us debt-free other than our mortgage, we knew were ready to start a family. And in June, God blessed us so fast with the desires of our hearts that we still pinch ourselves.

Back then, my mind was already starting to wrap around the idea that I would be taking the one-year maternity interim leave and possibly beyond that. We are going to wait and see how we’re doing financially to determine if I need to return or will continue to stay.

(By the way, we feel very blessed having the option, as I have great coworkers that I won’t see every day and that’s the hardest part of it all. Plus, there is a daycare there where he’d still be in the same building as me. Oh, and I do enjoy teaching and my students, ya know).

(And I’ve already told a certain few colleagues that I demand a weekly meeting at my house since I live a mile away and ADULT INTERACTION, I will cherish it).

But things get real fast.  Doubt creeps in.

Will I enjoy being at home all the time?

Are we going to be able to afford groceries without eating Ramen noodles for a week?

How is it all going to work? Insurance change, one salary down, new bills? Will the budget my sweet husband created really work for our family?

I have started feeling it especially as my due date nears. Still excitement more than worry, but worry nonetheless. We are leaving our comfort zone in a small way and entering a new phase of our lives, and I just didn’t know. Then, God gave us a week off at home where we had no choice but to be… at home.

Now I’m not naive enough to think God shut down the whole state of Tennessee to calm me down, but I do think God gives opportunities for us to listen in the most peculiar of circumstances.

While I’ve seen lots of complaints of cabin fever, being stuck, and wishing for not another snowy day (the horrors), I honestly feel like God’s given me a hug.

Let me explain.

I have loved every minute of being home. I know I don’t have a newborn crying at all hours, and so I’m probably more pleasant than I will be in a few weeks (!), but I have loved every minute of it.

There have been no plans other than laundry. I didn’t have a meeting the next day and I didn’t have to give up a precious Saturday to clean the house. My body woke up when it was rested, not when an alarm clock shocked me up at dark-thirty.  I know a baby is soon to be my alarm clock, but I can go back to sleep when he does and stay in pants with an elastic waistband all day.

We have eaten food from the the pantry and freezer that I’ve forgotten about. I’ve realized that our groceries will go much farther than I’ve let them go in the past. I have the time to cook. I haven’t missed going out to eat as much as I thought I would because we’ve sat at the table enjoying a meal every night.

I’ve had time to enjoy the little things. I’ve lied on the couch counting the kicks as Luke practices to be a kickboxer, apparently. When Brett walked through the door yesterday and today, I couldn’t wait to hear about his day and tell about mine.

I’ve rested.

I’ve read (and puzzled if that’s a verb).

I’ve cleaned.

I’ve cooked.

I have had time.

I have loved being at home.

I have felt the doubts slide off my shoulders.

And I felt like I’ve appreciated more than I have in a long time.

When the ice and snow continued to build up, this one verse continued to pop up in my brain:

“Be still, and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10

I looked up that passage (I knew it was a Psalm but didn’t know the chapter and verse number), and would you look at the rest?

 Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

    The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

So while I look forward to warm days like many of you, you won’t find me complaining about being stuck inside my warm home (and paid for it this week!) with the husband who, while it’s not the proudest for me to admit, has shown more trust in God than me during this change prior to this week.  Those doubts I’m sure will creep back in from time-to-time, but those questions I’ve had just seem a bit irrational now.

I’ve been still and I know He is God. He will provide. He is our fortress.

Let it snow.

Good Thing Meteorologists Don’t Predict Due Dates

Greetings from SNOWPOCALYPSE 2015!

That’s right, y’all. Meteorologists are calling for anywhere from 2 inches to 6 inches to 10 inches of snow in our area. They keep saying, “If…” and “If…”

So basically, they have no idea.

Regardless, we are already out of school tomorrow, which is Presidents’ Day. The kiddos were already out, but we (teachers) had meetings for the first time in ever on this INCREDIBLY MEANINGFUL holiday. So I believe our founding fathers may have influenced Mother Nature with this forecast.

LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.

(Side note: I told Brett how thankful I was my due date isn’t this week. He assured me that he could handle a home delivery in the bathtub with his catcher’s mitt. I don’t know why I was so worried).

I also don’t know who is more thankful for the day off tomorrow though, my house or myself.  Two days for the weekend just haven’t been enough to do nursery organization, laundry, napping (of course), AND clean the house well lately. So my home and I have a date tomorrow that involves Pledge, Windex, and Pandora.

I’m also attempting to wrap my brain around the fact that we, hopefully, have about one (!) month left as just two members of our little family.  It really just blows my mind. You’d think that this ever-growing tummy would be the constant reminder, but just looking at my calendar does the trick. CRAZY.

Since this is my little memory-keeping place part of the time, here’s a little update: I am 35 weeks pregnant and have so far have measured to-the-week at my doctor appointments.  I have an ultrasound on Tuesday that should let us see the little guy (it’s been about four months since we have) and get an idea of his weight (I have a prediction: A BOWLING BALL).

(Of course, it could get postponed due to weather. As my wonderful doctor said at the last appointment, “We will postpone due to weather. I don’t want hormonal pregnant women on the roads. It’s better for everyone.” Amen.).

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So while I have the energy to reflect and write, here’s some things I’ve observed about pregnancy:

1. It’s wonderful.  Really, it is. I’ve guarded what I’ve complained about because it’s a miracle from God every time I think about it and oh how I know some who wish the could complain about it. Oh, I’ve had aches and pains (and I’ll mention them here because remember the whole memory-keeping thing), but I just feel so thankful to be growing this little human. The first flutters, the early kicks, and now even the feeling that a baby rhinoceros is constantly lying and poking on me are all little kisses from God to me.

Having said that, Brett is not immune to my complain-free zone. He hears about it all and sweet Luke becomes his child when he inflicts those on his mama.

2. Let me get those aches and pains out of the way: Again, I’ve been very fortunate to have a healthy pregnancy. Other than a couple of (my usual) sinus infections, I’ve had no special reason to see the doctor. So, mine have just been the usual. In particular, CHARLEY HORSES y’all. I wake up just about every night with one or two. They just last a few seconds, but those are a long few seconds. I’ve also had some heartburn, which brings about the next observation:

3. Old Wives’ Tales. These are so popular to be told and let’s be honest, google about, when pregnant. The old wives’ tale for heartburn is that your child will have a head full of hair if you experience that in pregnancy, which to that I say, duh, HAVE YOU MET THEIR MOTHER? So we’ll see. The first one did come true, though. I had a few skin flair-ups and the old wives’ tale was that it was boy due to the testosterone in my system.  In other words, the first time a boy causes a mess.

4. Unsolicited (and Solicited) Advice.  People LOVE to give advice. Y’all. It is so the best intentions. There’s a lot I appreciate (and need and ask for), but there’s some I just scratch my head (especially with your VERY DETAILED health and/or delivery experiences) . And some are very adamant. And I just nod and smile and say thank you like my Mama raised me.

5. Pointing out the obvious. Again, total best intentions and nothing offensive here, but I’ve heard these, and many more, approximately 320 times:
– “Better get sleep now!”
– “Your life is really about to change.”
– “Oh, you think your house is messy NOW!”
Again, smile and nod.

6. Touching my belly. Now for some preggos, this is a huge pet peeve. I’m good with it, as long as I know you. Strangers or barely acquaintances? PREPARE TO MEET MAMA BEAR. But everyone else? Sure. (Maybe being an elementary school teacher and the constant hugs from sweet little ones prepared me).  Just don’t be a hoverer. It gets awkward.

7. Childbirth Classes. Y’all, for four Tuesday nights in a row from 6:30 – 9:00, we diligently went to our “Labor of Love” classes. You think the people-watching at Disney World is good? NOTHING compared to these. I actually knew two of the sweet expectant mamas in there and the classes were informative (maybe a little too informative), but we could’ve wrapped it up in a four hour or so session on a Saturday.

Just for memory’s sake, my favorite awkward moment (and there were many). The labor nurse who led the classes, during the first hour on the first night, asked everyone to share a particular ache or pain they’ve experienced the most.

Second girl to go: “Well, the one that I’ve honestly experienced the worst is the CONSTIPATION.”

Brett kicked me under the table and hours later when we got in the car, his first words were, “FEEL THE ROOM OUT, LADY!”

8. People are very sweet. Really, genuinely sweet. I get asked all the time how am I feeling and we have been given so many gifts to welcome our sweet baby boy. My husband does little things all the time to make sure I’m okay, whether it’s cooking pancakes, rubbing my feet, or just carrying something up the stairs that might make me weeble and wobble. He calls my (many) stretch marks beauty marks and reminds me they’re making me a Mama. I’m thankful for those too.

9. Lastly, and maybe most obviously, it makes you very anxious to meet your baby. Still one month to go (Lord-willing!), and I’ve reached the point that I’m ready to have Luke in my arms (After I pack the hospital bags this week. And we finish his nursery after the school shower. And we buy his car seat).

I’m soaking in this last month and going to try to enjoy it as much as I can.

So snow, stay as long as you’d like.

Just as long as my son isn’t born in a catcher’s mitt.