Thursday, January 16, 2014

What's So Scary About Another Baby? (Or, Why I'll Never Have A Bucket List)

This week is my cleansing week.

On Sunday, Will and I did an overall cleaning.
On Monday, I deep cleaned and paid bills.
On Tuesday, laundry and grocery shopping.
Today, more laundry and cleaning; lunch with a Hillsdale friend.
Tomorrow, third floor, an oil change, then packing for Iowa and Kansas.
Friday, errands and leaving.
Saturday, more driving and visiting family for the weekend before the very last interview.

Yesterday, Grace decided that being put down was for chumps and she was having none of it. I told her self-soothing was important, so we had a little tummy time, but mostly she cooed/ whined at me, fell asleep, cried more, nursed, repeat. I'm falling more and more in love with her Wubbanub and I'm here to say - if you have a baby, you need one. I've been sorting through everything we now own thanks to Thanksgiving/ Baptism/ Christmas, so I'm actually made a mess more than cleaning one up... but you know, duty calls. Repeat today. And tomorrow.

With all these resolutions and bucket lists floating around, I couldn't help but notice a few missing. I'm not sure if I'm making resolutions this year, as much as I am continuing to create habits and cultivate more virtue. If I am going to make a resolution, it is to love people as God loves them.

I got this idea from a priest during confession, when I was telling him how I was failing in loving, because the person causing me to stumble does not even know. He laughed a bit with me, and told me he had no advice. Perhaps, he suggested, you need to try loving the person as God loves them.

The person who pushes your buttons. The person who belittles your beliefs. The person who you need a gun to your head so that you can remember to be a good person, like the Misfit said.

And especially your family. I've always been struck by the profoundness of Blessed Teresa of Culcutta's, "Want to promote world peace? Go home and love your family."

I get teary looking at Grace post-feeding. She sleeps in the cradle of my arm, holding my shirt in her little fist. I'm trapped. I can't move or she'll wake up, and, you know? That's okay. I have nothing more important to do than love my child. And tonight, when she cried a half hour after I put her to bed - not a soft cry, but a scared one - I went in, sat criss-cross applesauce (as my five year old friend says) on the bed next to hers, and held her there till she fell asleep again. It was a very humbling moment, knowing that I can comfort her and take away her fear.

I'm alone tonight. Will drove nine+ hours to another interview, which starts at 6:45 a.m. tomorrow, and then he'll drive back, and hopefully not push himself to the brink of exhaustion and stay overnight in a hotel. And then after his classes, we'll leave to visit family this weekend, who live close to Will's last interview of the season.

These past six months have been our leap of faith. Now, we wait three-ish more and wait to see what our pay-off is. It's frightening. It's exhilarating. It's our adventure. This move for Will's M.S. isn't just about him and his future job prospects. It's about us. It's about pursuing medicine and pursuing a family; it's about trust and not being afraid.

In this next year, God willing, we'll be employed, we'll move, and we'll be pregnant again. I'm starting a new job, Will's starting a new job, Grace is on the half-roll train, so I guess once those arms discover what they can do, she'll jump into crawling, walking and talking...

Which, I suppose, is why I don't like bucket lists. Not just because you could not pay me a billion dollars to jump out of an airplane (or off a roof), but, because, no matter where I go, I'm just so grateful for my life. I had two goals post-college: be happy at my job and to travel overseas. I did both, and they taught me that true happiness comes from God, who is love. True happiness comes from loving yourself first, and about accepting yourself as easily as you accept the ones you love. When you love yourself, as God loves you, you can better love others, and accept their love.

I remember, before Will and I were engaged, and he was telling me about the current rotation he was on, and the topic of death came up; the way he talked so freely about his own death prompted tears on my end, and I hugged him fiercely. I had been with him a few months earlier, when his grandfather died. The way the clock's hands tick, the way life is like running water: what I mean is, there is nothing more courageous and brave that I've ever done than to admit to Will how much I love him, and to live it.

Will and I have never had a fight, and it's not because we haven't disagreed or been hurt by the other person. It's because we talk about it, even when I'm too pained to think of words. It's the way we enjoy each other's strengths and compensate for each other's weaknesses. It's the way we care for each other, our child, and get excited about our future littles.

Without this beautiful love, it might seem odd that Will and I are happy we got preggo two weeks post-wedding; happy we went through periods of suffering and serious self-doubt before the birth of our child; happy to be relatively low-on-assets (for the time being) in exchange for being parents; happily planning our next child to be born during residency, presumably the busiest time of our life.

This year, I am practicing love. I can't solve homelessness, but I can help it. I can't fix all the problems, but I can listen. I could get frustrated or I could take a deep breath and seek perspective and prayer. Life is too short to be angry or resentful (something I struggle with); life is too fragile, too precious not to try and show love, as well as give it.

Because, at the end of it all, what else matters?


  1. Beautiful. Beautiful. You inspire me, Julie!

  2. Such a good post. So good.

    Please. Make more adorable babies. I hope that's not awkward.

    I also love Grace's wubbanub baby dinosaur. I kinda want one.

  3. Also, can I say that I have always loved your writing, but I seriously think it's (i.e. your writing, your topics, etc.) gotten so much better since you became a mommy. I just love reading every post (and not just because I'm looking for #GraceADay)!