On the Eve of a Naming

Dear Baby,

I probably would’ve done well to stay in bed awhile longer but a large, persistent fly woke me up. Anyway, I dreamed all night of accidentally putting food in my mouth, since I’ve been forbidden to eat or drink after 4:00 a.m. The last few weeks I’ve dreamed every night of you, my own private excitement about your arrival, too true and deep to share. So spending the last night dreaming about forgetfully indulging in random bites of boring food… It didn’t seem worth it to stay in bed.

I’m sitting on our brown couch (a few more days and you will too – I call it my c-section couch since it’s my most comfortable spot to sleep after coming home from the hospital) listening to the birds, watching the early light finger its way through the tall trees. I love the quiet imminence of our new space when everyone’s still asleep, all tucked into the tightly-gathered back bedrooms of a ranch house. I wonder how you’ll disrupt it all with your disregard for days and nights.

This morning there is nothing much to do. I hope everyone (Uncle Paul & Auntie Kilby & Hils are here too) will sleep late. Poor Uncle Paul & Auntie Kilby went out at midnight last night to buy an air mattress when they discovered their old one had given up the ghost. Then they came home to a distraught 2yo, so I don’t think they got much sleep.

I’ll finish the border of the dolly blanket I’m making for Meredith from the remainder of the yarn I used to crochet yours. I’ll empty my phone of old pictures to make room for your beautiful face and transfer some new music to it to enjoy at the hospital. Maybe I’ll sort out the brand new still-in-the-box breast pump that God dropped in my lap this week, an amazing provision of my last genuine need before your arrival. I drove out west yesterday and paid $60 for it to a woman who’d also offered me $1 tank tops that she was about to put in her yard sale.

Your Daddy will no doubt sleep and sleep and sleep. Someday you should ask him about this year and about just how little sleep he’s had. Last night he slept three hours, up late and waking early, busy with the process of moving the gas line up into the floor joists in the basement ceiling so we’d once again have a stove and hot water. Yesterday was lovely, how he came in from finishing a drainage trench at 3:30 and sat in a chair doing nothing. It felt like a major holiday.

It was, really: Our day to celebrate your impending arrival. We’ve worked hard this year. You’d never believe how much of an understatement that is. Ask our friends and they can tell you as they shake their heads at our craziness. I’ve loved watching the lists actually begin to shrink over the last two weeks as I’ve sorted through every last thing that needed to happen before your arrival. The house renovation is far from done and Daddy’s hands are still way too full, but this week the list shrank and shrank and then all that was left (for now) was to play.

Yesterday morning I went to my pre-op at the hospital, drove west for that breast pump and to shop for a bathrobe. (Of course there was a random stop at Lowe’s for a few more tubes of cement repair, too.) The kids went to the park with Auntie Kilby & Uncle Paul while Daddy replaced the electrical line he’d accidentally drilled through the night before. After we ate lunch and played a bit Meredith & Hils went down for naps, Jacob helped me with my last two errands and then he and I went on a date. (Meredith got to go on Monday – bright pink frozen yogurt with pink & green juice bubbles!) He picked Crumble and called all the shots. We shared a muffin and slid an Italian soda back and forth across the table between us, grinning, and he talked a lot and I watched his face.

At 4:30 we went swimming, the whole family. It’s hard to follow that sentence with another one because it’s ringing in my ears: At 4:30 we went swimming, the whole family. We’ve hardly done anything but work around the clock for months, hoping to earn the margin for a sentence like that. The feeling of achievement as we played together yesterday was immense and timely. We dried off just before 6:00, stopped by the house to change clothes, and went to Chick Fil A for dinner. Once we were home and the kids were in bed I finally packed a bag for the hospital and then we grownups sat down and ate cake (I made enough cake to feed 80 people last week – the obvious thing to do when you’re 38 weeks pregnant) and talked about deep things like repentance and the Eucharist and whether Christ or Scripture ought to be the Christian religion’s lynch pin. Normal, these past few years, for an evening the four of us, and I’m sad to think this might have been the last for some time. You missed out on this era of frequent visits between our two families, because they are moving to England in two more months.

We ended the day far too late, crawling into bed about 11:30 to finish with the end of Habakkuk, the passage we’d arrived at in our slow journey through the minor prophets this spring. That’s what made me think to write to you – to claim those words as yours, to go on record with how they fell for us on the eve of your birth and of your naming. The words speak of constant hope and faith, chosen (you could say) almost fiercely, with determination. True against all odds. They speak of God’s absolute provision and our absolute allegiance to Him and of God’s ability to uphold us and strengthen us beyond anything and everything. These are things Daddy & I have learned and seen deeply, even painfully, in the last few years and they are things we want for you to know and to live more than anything else, which is part of the reason for the name (and namesake) we’re giving you. And as if all that weren’t enough, Habakkuk’s words are words of a hymn, a sacred text spelled out for God’s people to steep in, vivid and lovely. No one is going to tell you what to do with your life, but there’s no question that what Daddy & I have chosen for ours is ministry to God’s people of this very sort, and since we decided to allude to this, too, in our naming of you, we couldn’t miss the beauty and irony of our reading last night. So, sweet boy, your first hymn:

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.
To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

I love you.

Love,
Mommy

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