Eight years ago I started out on this thing called “Being-A-Mama”. It’s quite the thing isn’t it!?
When I gave birth, a month early, five weeks into living in Michigan, I had no clue.
My post-birth glow quickly turned grey when they told me that William would have to be transferred to the NICU in another hospital. I stubbornly told them I would be going with him. They tried to tell me no.
It didn’t work.
I spent the next week on a fold out couch, only because they’d kick me out of the chair next to his bassinet.
That first week was terrifying to me because it was my first glimpse of how very little control I would have in my life.
The NICU is a scary place. I had no idea places like that existed. Up until that point, I had assumed that babies were born and then they went home. That was the plan, anyway.
In those short eight days, I learned a lot. I heard nurses singing sweet songs as they rocked babies. I saw babies who didn’t have one visitor. My tears for my new son combined with my tears for all the tiny babies who were fighting much bigger battles than we were.
It was good for me to have my eyes opened up to the world of sick babies. It marked me in a big way. And now I know, well, that was just the beginning. Little did I know that a short stay in the NICU, later bringing home a healthy, pudgy baby, would get lost in the shuffle of much scarier, heart-breaking things.
So it seems right, somehow, that William ushered us into parenting. After all, aren’t all first borns the guinea pigs of the family? If only he knew that the parenting really has more to do with us– his Mom and Dad– than it has to do with him.
The other night, as I put him to bed, he asked me, “How do you know when God has called you to something? How do you know it’s really God?”
And I couldn’t help it. I flashed back to the tiny bassinet with cords and IVs stuck in his arm. I saw Kate and her tantrums that end in deep sorrow. I pictured a small room where we sobbed and told the kids that their baby sister was going to die. And I watched myself give birth a fourth time, barely able to breathe until I heard that cry.
I told him, “You know God has called you to something when you can’t imagine doing anything else. When, in spite of your fear, in spite of your sorrow, in spite of your mistakes, you still press on. That’s when you’ve been called.”