I woke up in a cold sweat this morning.
Panicky visions of mis-packed diaper bags and glops of baby food splattered on the matte white walls.
A ridiculous nightmare where I find myself stranded at Target… with nothing to protect a tiny toddler-mouth from the hideous germs of our shopping cart handle.
It’s been approximately 25 years since I’ve seriously pictured myself as a parent. Even playing with dolls at age 7 was mostly about teaching them how to ride on the back of my golden retriever, while all of my TLC was especially reserved for potato bugs and baby birds that I rescued from our back yard.
Occasionally pausing my dance performances to read books to my new baby brother, but hiding in my room with the door shut (underneath my bunkbed fort) when he screamed like a normal baby… Hopefully not because I’m a monster, but more likely because I’ve never quite had the urge to be a real mother.
I do have other aspirations, though! —
One desire that inches higher on the list as I grow older in years is an effort to be radically generous with the love and blessings that come our way.
Even as I type that out it sounds trite, but I haven’t figured out a better way to articulate it just yet.
Instead of wasting time with linguistic precision (or frantically texting my wordsmith Dad) — I’m going to muster up something “mom-ish” and go wash the ominous pile of new crib sheets that has been forming in our guest room.
Meanwhile, the internal critic is biting at my heels: “What the heck are you supposed to do with a baby all day? Stare at each other across the kitchen table while your to-do list fills faster than a tub full of bubbles?!”
She brings up an important point, and now I have a question for you: Do 18-month-olds need some sort of special contraption to sit at a table with the adults?
(Also, please don’t let me forget to add non-toxic bubble bath to my shopping list.)
In all earnestness, I know we’ll be able to figure this out, and am I crazy to think that it might even be kind of fun?
Our incredible friends have dropped off borrowed strollers and board books and boxes of wipes… Playdates are popping up out of nowhere, and the neighbors have promised to swing by so I’m not by myself with a toddler all day.
As if this whole process hasn’t been humbling enough, I finally broke down yesterday at church: The sweetest woman (who we barely know!) tucked two twenty dollar bills into my hand and whispered, “This is for diapers.”
I couldn’t say much besides a tearful “Thank you!” after that, but what I’m trying to say now is — Our people here in Long Beach have taught us more about family than I could ever have imagined.
Easily one of the key reasons we decided to become a host home* for Safe Families this season!
So far, we’re excited and nervous AND FULL DISCLOSURE: Last night, Gerard reminded me that he’s never changed a diaper in his life, so you can pray for THAT part of the process if you think of it this week.
Oh, and if you see me strolling around Belmont Shore with a toddler in tow? Please pretend that it looks like I know what I’m doing, and I’ll act like it’s normal to shove this kid-stuff into my vintage leather tote instead of an actual diaper bag.
*If you’ve never heard of this fantastic organization, it’s a voluntary program for families in need and acts kind of like a short-term foster care situation. The intent is to keep children out of the state-run system so that they can return to their real families once they’re back on their feet! We’ll look forward to sharing more about the process soon, and you can also check right here to see if there’s a chapter in your area!
Beautiful line art by Christiane Spangsberg.