Hurry Up and Wait

Sometime in the last couple days there was an immediate transformation from Calm and Patient to Get This Baby Out Now. It has a lot to do with the backache. Oh my word, the backache. With a backache like this prior to labor I like to hope maybe I’ll be one of those women who doesn’t realize she’s in labor. That’s better than fearing it’s just going to be worse.

It’s funny, though, every time is a bad time for this ball to start rolling. Couldn’t be Saturday because that’s when the baby shower was. Couldn’t be Sunday because I didn’t want to miss church. Couldn’t be Monday because, in Mike’s words, “You are not allowed to go into labor until I’ve gotten some sleep.” Couldn’t be Tuesday because I was working with Ruth.

Can’t be today because I have to lug these two laundry hampers down our three flights of stairs, shove them in the back of the teeny weeny car, take them to the laundromat, and then reverse the process. This is not an easy job when your entire pelvic region has the stability of jello.

Ideally it shouldn’t be tomorrow since I’ve got work with Ruth again and, well, if it’s Friday then I won’t have time to unpack and assimilate the Babies R Us stuff when the UPS man delivers it.

But most of all, it can’t be today because I have to get these clothes washed: all the baby clothes and blankets and all my pants. “Just pack clothes you haven’t fit into for a few weeks for the hospital–they’re clean, right?” was my wise mom-friend’s advice. But see, I’m still WEARING those clothes. And no, they haven’t fit in a few weeks.

Can’t, can’t, cant. There’s never going to be a good time, and to hear me talk you’d think I’d be happy pregnant for the rest of the year. Yet every time I try to roll over or stand up or take a step I think “OK, how about NOW.”

Monday our bedroom ceased looking like a warzone and started looking a bit more like the makeshift nursery it will be. And now it’s ready and waiting, too.

It occurred to me in a flash of momentary clarity this morning that this whole project is the beginning of a new identity: Motherhood, some call it. I think it could just as accurately be called Hurry Up And Wait.

Maybe God gives us these last few weeks of absolute mental and emotional insanity (Seriously, Susan, who cares if Mike’s shirts ever get ironed again!?) before a baby arrives to prepare and teach us. Maybe the complete lack of control or predictability we have over this most monumental life event is just the first taste of the future, and a little chance to practice for all those times when you’ll really need to run out the door right now to be on time, but you know it’s more important that the little man have the chance to hone his shoe-tying skills. Then, fully aware of all the factors in the puzzle called Your Agenda, you choose to dismiss them all as inconsequential while you wait for him with a posture of calm understanding and affection.

Because you are a mom.

I’ll always remember the cross-stitch that was framed on my bedroom wall when I was little. I can’t remember all of it, but the end stuck with me:

The cleaning and scrubbing
will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up,
as I’ve learned to my sorrow.

So quiet down, cobwebs.
Dust go to sleep.

I’m rocking my baby
and babies don’t keep

For now, I’d better get down to that laundry, because just like babies don’t keep, neither does pregnancy amazingly enough, and you never know when it’s going to be too late to finish all those last tasks. It’s nice to be able to trust, for now, that when the moment finally comes when there is no more time to iron a shirt, I won’t mind. There’s something very realistic about the dry-erase calendar on my fridge.


5 thoughts on “Hurry Up and Wait

  1. When Malachi was born I had a list of things to still do, and some of then got done and some not. We got to the hospital at about 10pm and he was not born until the next day at 2pm. Levi on the other hand came very quick as I sat around most of the day went in to the hospital at 3pm and he was born 4 hrs later at 7pm. All in God’s time! I am so excited for this next path you are about to venture on. You will make a wonderful mother! Oh and by the way I don’t iron any of Chris’ shirts!

  2. I think that’s definitely the point– it ultimately doesn’t matter whether you say it “can’t be today” or “can’t be tomorrow” because it will happen when it happens, whether you want it right then or not.

  3. Ha! Sorry you are still wearing those clothes! I remember how it feels!
    But do take your other friend’s advice: shave your legs, and soon.
    Praying for you, friend!

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