Birth. It marks our entrance into the world.
When two of my kids had children on the same day, it was cause, not only for rejoicing, but chuckles.
Both are boys. One in Orlando, one in Austin, Texas. Miles apart birthday buddies.
Babies are lots of fun–and lots of work. I typically think of the work after they’re born as being the biggest part of the job. It’s a life commitment.
There’s work before the big day.
Both Heather and Jillian had challenging pregnancies. Discomfort and body aches accompany carrying another human inside that offsets balance. Men don’t easily get this. It’s not like putting a watermelon down your shirt and trying to carry it without hands. This is your body growing, stretching, body parts feeling cramped and squished to accommodate a temporary guest.
Apart from the physical changes that require effort to get through, there’s the planning and preparation for bringing the new one home. Gathering clothes and diapers, a place for the child to sleep, even prepping siblings who may or may not be excited about a new one. Everyone has to get ready. It’s exceedingly difficult if Mom is laying the groundwork for a new arrival by herself. Dealing with all the arrangements for the change is magnified by personal discomfort.
That’s when we get by with a little help from our friends.
Challenges don’t end with delivery.
What if things don’t turn out the way they’re expected? If the child has serious problems, or, perish the thought, doesn’t make it? What happens if, on top of the work of waiting, there’s pain, sadness and disappointment?
Even if the baby is fine, being a parent is never what we expect. We romanticize the joys of caring for and loving a child, through birth, adoption, fostering. Reality hits when we realize there’s no instruction book that comes with the baby.
Every child is different. What one child goes through may never be reality for another. Children are as unique and different as we are.
We can prepare. We can be ready. But when it happens–how it happens–is rarely what our minds have crafted as ideal.
Isn’t this the picture of life for us day by day? We plan and prepare. We anticipate and count the cost. Often what we get is not what we’d expected. Possibly nothing we wanted.
I don’t know everything. I can’t control everything, much as I’d like to on any given day.
God knows it all. He’s reached out in love to us through Jesus, but He doesn’t force anything. We choose the relationship. We get to invite Him to be part of our lives. In a broken, messy world, He promises His presence and strength to get us through the tough places. His love to soften the hurts we encounter.
Our two new grandsons are just beginning life, and they’ve so much to learn. There will be hard and fun. Joy and sorrow. They’ll learn they have choices. And little control.
There’s the adventure. For all of us.
We don’t have to go it alone. He’s in the pod with us.