I took these yesterday for my mom because they came to take us out to lunch and she had wanted some artsy style pictures of me, which did not get accomplished with her little digital camera in the 5 minutes before they left. I guess the “artsy” part got accomplished here, although I can’t really vouch for the professionalism. I tried to get Henry to take them and knew THAT was a big mistake almost as soon as we started. So I set up my huge digital SLR on my tiny broken-down, rickety tri-pod and did what I could with the daylight left in the nursery.
So, I hit 37 weeks on Saturday and as of now, baby boy is just hanging out in there getting a little chubbier every day. He’s not the only one! I’m not even attempting to guess when it will happen. I hoping within the next 3 weeks instead of the week or two after – even though it’s Christmas. I just really want to sleep on my back and my stomach and I want to be done receiving internal blows to my groin that literally make me gasp. Last night I had many waves of more serious contractions (they feel more serious anyway) and thought: what if this is it? What if these don’t stop and I end up getting up to pace the floor. It would be kind of fun, in a way. Henry would stay home from work and we’d have a little excited party – at least until things started moving along more quickly. But then what would I do with all of the half-finished Christmas presents strewn about the nursery? I shouldn’t even be writing right now! I should be working on them!!
No matter how many times I say “I can’t believe this is really happening,” it never gets any more real. My parents just laugh knowingly and say, “Oh, it’ll get very real soon enough.” I think, why am I wishing this time away?! Now everything I do I think – oh, this could be my last…
Okay, so one of the things that is happening right now with us – apart from imminently becoming parents and trying to squeeze in last minute outings and planning for Christmas (which, thankfully is being mostly handled by my lovely sister instead of me. Her gift to me.) – is that Henry is going to interview for a job with his college roommate in Toledo. This roommate started a company from his dorm room and dropped out when he started becoming successful. Smart man, I say. And I have $60,000 in debt to prove it. The interview may not happen now until after the holidays (and, hopefully, baby) but the job description sounds perfect for Henry. It involves administrative work and would allow him to work in an instructive capacity with people. The major drawback is that we’d have to relocate to Toledo.
Try as we might, there is just no way to get ahead while we live here and while Henry has this job. For obvious reasons, this holiday season is the most stressful I’ve encountered – and it usually IS stressful anyway (side topic: why should this BE and how can I change this for my children??? We had a conversation at lunch yesterday about how Christmas time always brings about feelings of tension and anxiety for my parents. It’s so awful! I shared in some of that while growing up). We just don’t make enough money to cover our debt and basic living expenses. I’ve recently realized that just because things ARE this way doesn’t mean that God has some big agenda to make them STAY this way. Mary and I had a big talk about it last week – about how the lack of or starving of an intimate relationship with God makes us think all kinds of crazy things about His will for us. Like how for years in my adolescent life I feared that because I WASN’T dating, God was doing it to me on purpose and that He wanted me, for some inexplicable reason, to be single forever, even though it was the worst POSSIBLE thing I could imagine. I know it’s a bad example because there are people called to be celibate in the church and that all of us are called to celibacy at some point in our lives, but I think it still goes to explain how often we mistake our own negative self-talk (particularly in the event of inevitable confusion about God’s character when grown up, wounded sinners are raising little sinners) for the will of God when we don’t believe and actively pursue the personal words God is speaking to us all the time (which, for the record, are NOT things which would ever go against the scriptural truths God has revealed to us all). All of this to say: I’m getting more and more ready to move not because I feel ready to move away from the community I’ve known for 10 years but because it’s not wrong for us to want to get out of debt! Or to make a decision based primarily on that goal! And by not wrong I mean that I’ve realized He can probably bless us in Toledo and make us thrive there. I think deep down, my fear has been that if I move not knowing if it’s the absolute best thing to do, He won’t bless us where we go and will just leave us to our own devices in a new place where we don’t know anyone.
Anyway, he hasn’t even interviewed yet.
This brings me to my other realization/question. Why am I 29, expecting a baby almost any day, and STILL wondering sometimes where my life has gone wrong that I’m not working and not bringing in money for our family? It’s a constant worry when things get tough financially at our house. Where did I go wrong and why have I been so “unsuccessful?” I asked this of my therapist a couple months ago w/r/t the attempt to start yet another screwy business venture. And today when I texted Henry and told him things would get better soon and he texted me back and said that he wouldn’t rest until they did and I felt so taken care of, why did I then immediately feel guilty? Why did I feel like I should be contributing more to our family? Will I ever be rid of this sense of guilt? I think it truly gets in the way of my calling as a person because I don’t think God ever speaks to us (in that personal, loving way I was talking about) through bad feelings and manipulation. So it makes me wonder then, how IS my calling being drowned out by these negative thoughts? And how can I learn to accept and feel good about my accomplishments (such as they are) in spite of them? Even if I never get a full-time job. Even if that puts me in a precarious position as a woman because “you never know what might happen…you need to be self-reliant.” How much of that is wise? Is any of it wise? Is any of it really what God wants?
I’m not going to answer because I do have to go, but I would love other women’s take on this. My friend Emily, who is a Princeton and Yale educated lawyer and mother of 4 who lives her life up to her neck in kids and likes mothering better than she ever liked her career, told me the other day that she thinks I’M starting out things right and that she wishes she’d been more like ME. Can you IMAGINE?! I still don’t quite know what to make of that, but it was helpful all the same, I guess.
I love hearing your thoughts, Jenn, especially as I spend my days toiling next door to you. I’ve taken to glancing at your windows a few times a day to see if there are scurrying, happy people filling the place (which would indicate labor!). Praying for you and your heart and your finances during this hard season.
You are beautiful in your pictures! Your newest, most important career is about to start in around 3 weeks! I spent lots of time and money to become a lawyer. Now I work 1 day a week, and stay home with my daughter the rest of the time. When I am at work, I wish I was at home. When I am at home, I never wish I was at work! Your dedication to your husband, your home, and your son is beautiful.
PS: if you are going to nurse your baby, you might not get to sleep on your stomach as soon as you would like, it will hurt 🙂
you’re almost there, Jenn! you look lovely.
i so resonate with your remarks about moving and what it could mean to be willing to move. finally letting go of some things in wheaton to get to milwaukee has been such a breath of fresh air for me. i think you are right; i think sometimes we elevate certain goods that we have (say, community or a good church) into idol status that makes other options look wrong or sinful by comparison. but when we let go of the idol, we see it for what it is, and we see that God and his purposes are so much bigger and grander than we could imagine, and that his world is full of his presence, whether that’s madison or toledo or glen ellyn. just because one place or thing is good doesn’t make it the only good–i have such a hard time grasping that!
regardless of this latest possibility, i’m praying for you, henry, + wee one in your transitions and ponderings.