Monday, June 29, 2009

The Mountain

For the past several days, I've had a very strong sensation that a mountain looms before me. Of course, I've known for quite a while about this mountain; but lately, my awareness of it has been heightened exponentially and my visualization of it has become much more detailed.

Obviously, a big part of the mountain is the actual process of labor and delivery; but I now realize that standing behind that high peak is another mountain, just as high and possibly even higher, though its true height is obscured from my vantage point here in the foothills that precede the first peak. That second mountain is, in a word, ADJUSTMENT. The whole process of returning to normalcy--or rather, finding a new normalcy--is what currently feels immensely intimidating as I stand here and quake in my hiking boots. I don't know how to get over that mountain. I don't even know what that mountain looks like--how rugged or how smooth--whether there is any kind of trail or whether I'll have to blaze my own way--whether it can be crossed in two weeks or six months. I know nothing about it.

Jeff reminds me that I've successfully navigated these mountains of adjustment before, after the birth of each of our other children. He's right. But I've never seen or gotten over this mountain before, and the fear of the unknown is challenging the peaceful equilibrium I like to have (and usually have, I think it's fair to say) as I hike along.

The biggest difficulty I perceive in crossing the peak is the fact that I'll be carrying two very dependent beings on my back. Obviously, the newborn requires hours of care, and that doesn't surprise or scare me because I'm used to that. But Tobin--my dear, sweet Tobin--is still a very dependent child. Eighteen months old for my boys is not like eighteen months old for most other children. For some reason, God has seen fit to give us children that fall on the late side of the physical development spectrum and make up for those babies who crawl at 5 months and walk at 9 and who would otherwise throw the average off completely! I don't mind that; and in fact, I see the advantages of it since early mobility means lots of extra vigilance for the parents. But I've never needed to care for a newborn while still caring for a needy toddler; and when I imagine it now (in this admittedly crazy fog of late-pregnancy hormones), all I can picture is the baby crying for some reason, Tobin sitting on the floor crying because I can't pick him up, and me crying from the sheer impossibility of it all. Josiah and David will probably look at us in bewilderment, then go outside to play.

I know my imaginations are running wild, but part of that comes from the sheer exhaustion of the climbing I'm already doing. Every day is a foothill to cross. The fatigue, the physical discomfort, the feeling of time slipping away with accomplishments undone, etc.--all of that makes even these low hills feel challenging. Add to that a week of Tobin being sick and needing extra care, and I suppose it's no wonder that life is feeling overwhelming now. I don't even know how many more foothills there are to cross before the huge peak that I can currently only see in the distance.

This evening, I was in full-blown collapse mode; and right before supper, I said to Jeff, "I wish I could just go to bed." He urged me to do just that (despite the clean sheets that needed to be put on Josiah's and David's beds, the pancakes still frying on the stove, the boys that needed feeding and bathing and putting to bed, etc.), so I did, thanking God again for my sensitive husband, wearily climbing the steps, and falling asleep quickly until a few hours later when my empty stomach wouldn't let me sleep any longer. I should be sleeping now, but instead here I sit, using writing as a form of therapy. I'm reluctant to even publish this because it feels so raw to me, but my pattern and desire is to live life as an open book. I wish every page was neat and clean and beautiful; but in the book of my life, this particular page has ink blotches and misspelled words and crooked letters and tear-stained illustrations. Not very attractive, but real.

Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is His faithfulness;
His mercies begin afresh every morning.
~ Lamentations 3:21-23

O Lord, be gracious to us;
We long for You.
Be our strength every morning,
Our salvation in time of distress.
~ Isaiah 33:2


Misty said...

You will get through it, Davene! I am personally still navigating my mountain of adjustment here but the terrain is becoming more and more familiar. You are right that it is different with every child but God doesn't drop you off, blind-folded and alone at the bottom of the mountain and chuckle as he watches you walk in circles with no idea where you are going or how to get there. He has blessed you with maps and compasses trail signs (friends, family, your wonderful husband, his word, your previous experiences). That doesn't mean that you won't get lost from time to time but you will find the trail eventually and make it to the other side! No lying, sometimes it is HARD. I remember Trinity at 15 months old still needing to be rocked to sleep for her naps/bedtime and newborn Houston screaming in his bassinet as I rocked her. But we got through it, and I *think* I'm more patient and knowledgeable because of it (and I learned to never let rocking my kids to sleep become a habit for them!)
Sorry for the novel, but know that you aren't alone and I (as well as plenty of other I'm sure) are here and willing to help whenever you need it!

Debbie in CA : ) said...

Take heart, dear one . . . many of us have climbed just such a mountain. It IS difficult, but remember: You are not alone. Cast all your cares upon Him. Tobin will amaze you. You will maze yourself. And when that little baby joins your family (and the hormones normalize) you will handle it all just as God plans. He won't give you more than you can handle and He will not forsake you. Nor will those of us holding you so close at heart in prayer.

Rest sweet one . . . rest.

Kristen said...

I'll be praying that God supplies what you need at the time you need it. :)

Valerie said...

Thank you for being real! It's what I love about your blog.

Once you see that sweet baby in your arms you will forget that there is even a mountain to climb. One day you will look back and realize that you are standing on the mountain top and you will wonder how you made it to the top.

Great is His faithfulness :)

Julie said...

raw is refreshing sometimes and i know for me it gives me a whole new perspective on a situation!
God is mighty and Loves you ever so dearly!! looking back and seeing how high you climbed is one of the best rewards!!

Sally said...

Davene, you have so many blessings, not the least of which is your mother close by and ready to step in. I know God will supply your every need and will provide the special grace that is to be yours through this time. Easy probably won't be the hallmark for a while, but I think you will excel at all this. I'll be praying for you!

Margie said...

Davene, I just love this post; it brought tears to my eyes. It will be a challenge, but you're so good at them! And you've got Jeff, wonderful Jeff who is so tuned in to your needs. Blessings to you. I'm thinking of you every day and wondering if THIS is they day! Love to you from Texas.