“Ain’t it funny how life changes
You wake up, ain’t nothing the same and life changes
You can’t stop it, just hop on the train and
You never know what’s gonna happen
You make your plans and you hear God laughing
Life changes, and I wouldn’t change it for the world, the world, oh no
And I wouldn’t change it for the world, the world, oh no”
June. Oh, June, June, June. There’s nothing like a newborn to help you realize that life is NOT going to ever go according to your plan.
Trip to Nalls Produce- epic blowout/ 20 wipe wipe-down/new outfit/ pounds shed from all the sweating (both of us) and so much crying, (both of us)after one lap around the flowers with a screaming, sweaty head popping out of the Ergo, I admit defeat and go home.
Trip to apple orchard- major meltdown upon arrival/ requiring 30 minutes of nursing in the car/while hubby takes children to pick apples
Trip to walmart- screaming from arrival through checkout( due to being covered in poop, unbeknown to me as I shopped and smiled at strangers)/ back of car change with nakedness and new outfit
You see, June is sweet. June is also very, very cute. But June does not give a flying hoot about my plans. And I am learning, whether I’m ready or not, that my ideas of what will happen are ever changing.
This is a huge lesson for me- as I am a creature of habit. I am routined through and through. Those closest to me have determined and ultimately accepted that I cannot be rushed or my habits altered. I take exactly 1 hour to get ready for anything that requires me to look better than a homeless person. When I say 1 hour, it is 1 hour. If I wake up late, then I will end up being late to my destination. I hustle with no avail. I’m just predictable, not prompt.
One time, when Adam and I were on a business trip in Spain, we were out on a day-long excursion and caught in traffic on the way home to the hotel. We had a gala that evening and I had already planned out what I needed to do to prep for such an extravagant event. The tour guide got on the bus loud speaker and announced that we would be arriving approximately 30 minutes before the gala began. Enter palm sweat. There was no way I could condense my routine in HALF! In Europe? Without my straightener? ( My husband had sweetly plugged it in earlier in the trip to a non- American outlet and completely fried it… )
I wish I could tell you we were on time to the gala, but alas- I state my point. I am who I am. We did have a fabulous time, though.
But in all seriousness, Life has such a funny way of throwing curveballs JUST when you think you’ve gotten the hang of it. Do you remember the book series, “Choose Your Own Adventure?” Oh, I loved them. I loved the idea of being able to read the book several times over and change the way it all ended. How fun?!
I have only recently made a connection of my life with June to those fabulous fictional fantasies. I don’t know why I thought having years of motherhood under my belt and therefore being slightly wiser would actually help me navigate this newborn season. Quite the opposite; I feel like I’m rereading the book again and each day, the adventure ends with our main character ( me) head tilted to the side and saying, ” wow- I shouldn’t have gone down THAT tunnel! ( again…)”
It seems I am constantly faced with choices. Do I nap while she is napping? Do I get the dishes done so the kitchen isn’t a hot mess? Do I return emails? Gripe water or Mylicon for her crying fits? Should I hold her more? Or am I holding her too much? Can I eat peanut butter 7 times a day for complete nutrition or should I be drinking those yucky green smoothies for extra nutrients? Can I eat yogurt the day after it expires? Wait, what day is it?????
Am I alone? Anyone else out there? Possibly shouting from the depths of that very tunnel, too?
The difference between the two, adventures here and adventures in a book, is ultimately control. In a “Choose Your Own Adventure”, the title itself screams command. YOU have the choice. In fact, according to Oxford, synonyms for ”control” are words such as “power, authority and mastery.” I don’t know about you, but those words are a far cry from my daily life. I tend to feel more power-LESS and back at square one.
So how can you navigate this “uncontrollable” ever-changing life without losing your mind?
Oh, I’m sorry- if you thought this blog post had the answers, I apologize.
BUT, I think I am slowly finding hope in the chaos. So I’ll share…
The other night while aggressively rocking June in the nursery for what seemed to be hours of endless crying, I had a moment of clarity.
My arms were breaking from holding her so long, my heart hurt from watching tears flooding from her little face, and I was utterly exhausted.
I was keeping her in my arms, rather than in the swing we had just put together. I honesty wasn’t sure the swing could give her what she needed. I was doubting it’s ability and power. The power I thought I had enough of…
But I was wrong.
The reality is, that swing was built for situations just like this. It’s dependable, strong and constant. And at 3:45 am, I am weak, emotional and done. So after another hour of sleepy, strained swaying, I finally let the swing do its job.
I flopped back into the rocker, arms shaking and legs weary. But I somehow found the energy to unfold my tired arms, rest them on the chair and slowly open up my clenched fists. And at that very moment, the crying stopped.
I thought for second I had gone deaf. But I peered up to see her peaceful and asleep.
Was it the swing? Was it the Holy Spirit?
While we are not turning the pages of a storybook, we can be assured that Life will do its best to throw us adventures such as dirty diapers, terrible traffic, and even sometimes- serious sickness. Let us remember that there is many times joy on the other side- the warm baby snuggles and smiles, the beautiful Spanish gala, and ultimate healing. It may be difficult to determine why our plans change and how they may end up, but we certainly do have control over whose hands are holding it all.
As for me, for this day and every day I breathe… I’m choosing to hand it to Him.