I never could have imagined what this year would hold for me. Last year as we brought in the New Year with our closest friends at a lake house in Pickwick, I could never have imagined the changes that would have taken place by the time December 31st came around again. I remember watching Marianna and her best friend Maggie dance the night away trying to play Dance Dance Revolution last New Year’s Eve. I remember some of the guys (my sane, responsible, and semi-chicken husband not included) jumping into the freezing lake to bring in 2007 with a bang. I remember one of our friends making a calendar of predictions regarding who would have babies this year. I was included on that list, and I looked forward hopefully to at least being pregnant by the time 2007 came to a close. What was absent from that night was any discussion about the possibility of suffering or loss the next year would bring. Not that there should have been-morbid is the word that comes to mind for anyone who does. But my point is that my outlook was full of hope and optimism, unmarred by the reality of the pain that comes with loss.
The first few months passed happily and uneventfully, and by the time April came around and I discovered I was pregnant, I was thrilled! Surprised, but definitely thrilled. As I gazed down at the two pink lines that indicated a baby was on the way, my first reaction was to laugh. I really did. I laughed out loud because I had announced to some friends just a few months before that I would NEVER have a baby in December. I had decided my life was simply too busy that month with birthdays and Christmas to make room for anything else. How far God has brought me since that moment.
From April to the end of June, we looked forward to the next baby, but honestly found ourselves so busy with Marianna, work, and everything else going on in our lives that we didn’t spend nearly as much time thinking and dreaming of this baby as we did with Marianna. In fact, before going in for the 20 week ultra sound I told Nathan I felt a little guilty that I hadn’t signed up for weekly “my pregnancy this week emails” or taken pictures of my stomach at regular monthly intervals. I didn’t want this baby to look back at her baby book and think “wow, mom really wasn’t as on top of it for me as she was for Marianna.” How could I have known?
As we drove in to the doctor’s office on July 25th, the greatest fear I had was that the ultrasound technician wouldn’t be able to discover the baby’s gender. As we drove out, I left with every dream about my second baby lying on the floor of the doctor’s office consultation room. Life for me had changed. From that point, I began writing on this blog, so I guess the rest is history.
I took several hours yesterday to sit and reflect over the year as a whole. I know that Poppy has transformed me in ways I understand and in ways I don't. God has made Himself present with an authenticity that's hard to explain or describe-like an awareness each day that my strength was literally not my own. He has been there for me in the midst of the pain, not to eliminate it, but to hold me and keep me from breaking while I'm experiencing it. Someone reminded me the other day that my grandfather often said that the eyes cleansed with tears often see the clearest. Ohh, how I relate! My eyes are opened in new ways as my old pre-conceptions, pride, and self-sufficiency have been peeled away, leaving them raw (painfully sometimes) but hopefully with the ability to see more accurately than ever before. As I sat yesterday, I realized that if I could boil everything down into one thing to take with me into this new year, it would be this: focus on what's important. Having Poppy helped me realize that much of what I have filled my life with simply doesn't matter. It's not that it is necessarily bad, but it just doesn't have a lot of meaning. What is important? People. I want to love people more genuinely. Not just those in my life, but also those around me. I want to point people to Jesus. I want to pray for people more faithfully. More than anything else, this is what Poppy has shown me. I'm looking forward to this coming year with a new kind of hope than what I've had before. Yes, I'm not as care-free as I was one year ago, but I don't regret it. I never want to be the same.