Every morning I wake up hoping that today will be the day I can walk again. I slowly try to lift myself only to feel paralyzed by pain. The once simple task of rolling over to get out of bed has become one that I dread every single sunrise. Once I finally make it out of bed and steady myself with a walker borrowed from a friend, I make the long, excruciating trip to the bathroom. My days are spent missing out on life from the couch or bed and not knowing when it will get better.
If you didn’t know, when our sweet William was born I suffered a birth injury. They tell me it could be weeks or months before my pain is gone. These days are real and raw and wearisome. I’ve heard the bootstrap theology—those who plead self-sufficiency and stoicism over their suffering.
Three days equaled two hours of sleep. It’s the place where brain fog and emotions are high. I’ve been staring out the window, I need to water the cucumbers.
I sit in the chaise lounge, Nursing through blood, sweat, and tears. Latching sometimes takes hours, So I can’t water the cucumbers.
My husband holds the baby, My firstborn looks at me and, I see the struggle with the change in the tears that roll down his cheeks. I hold him as we cry together in the kitchen. There are more important things than watering the cucumbers.
Holding onto the wall I walk down the hallway, Pain lighting up my back, hip, and leg. I fall to the ground and it’s there I sit a while. I can barely walk. I can’t water the cucumbers.
There they sit, Leaves wilted and browning. Their importance to me is bizarre. I glance out the window and my eyes meet rain, God watered my cucumbers.…
Years ago, on a whim, I grabbed a bag of zinnia seeds and scattered its contents into the empty earth of my flower bed. A few weeks later, after I’d just lost our first baby at 9 weeks, they began to bloom.
The tall sea of flowers became a sort of oasis for me. Bright corals, deep reds, and unique pinks sprung up before my eyes singing songs of life at a time when death felt so close—so, within me. I cherished these blooms, clipped and gathered them to my heart like I would’ve the little one we lost. I stared at them for long moments, savoring the gifts God was giving me through them. Gifts like perseverance, remembrance, and abiding joy.
That was six years ago and each year since I’ve anticipated the last Ohio frost so I can push tiny seeds into the earth and watch God work.…
I haven’t watered my plants in weeks. As I type, yellow leaves dangle in the wind moving back and forth, hanging by a thread until finally giving up. Next to the leaves, bright red peppers rot right on the vine. Somehow, despite the lack of water, fresh green leaves with tiny buds adorn the top. My half-dead plants remind me of my writing life lately. I’ve got ideas and words and phrases hanging out in my head but no energy to bring them earthbound. Most of the lessons are still being learned and I simply find myself being unable to share much.
What does a writer write about when she can’t say much?
I could write about grief, hurt, confusion, and discouragement. I could write about how it feels like my body is failing in my 30s. I could write about mom guilt and worry over missed milestones and social struggles.…
I did what they told me to do. I left my phone lying around forgotten, I read more, I tried to be present, I took naps. But at the end of vacation, my eyes were wet with tears as I poured out my heart to my sweet husband. I was both longing for the normalcy of home and dreading it. I didn’t feel inspired or ready to get back to work. I’m still burnt out.
This summer, I’ve read more posts than ever about the rest people find in doing these things. They make it seem like the key to rest is getting off social media, trading in your phone for a book, and savoring what’s in front of you. These are great disciplines. But it left me wondering why it didn’t work for me? Why do I feel like my soul can’t quiet itself? Why, after a beach vacation and nearly zero screen time do I still feel restless?…
The scent of fresh honeysuckle filled my nose, touching my soul with joy and thankfulness. Kneeling next to my son, I said, “Hey Theo, can you smell the honeysuckle?” All at once, he bent his knees, stuck his nose to the white petals, and sniffed as hard as he could. Tears glistened in my eyes and I kissed his nearly bald head and said, “I love you, Bug.” Giggling, he ran across the yard to keep exploring.
I didn’t desire nor did I expect an “I love you mama” in return—he has few words to offer right now and the ones in that phrase aren’t among them. Still, I probably declare that I love him at least twenty times each day. My love for that boy is deep and abiding. I can’t help but want him to know how very loved he is.
But I know there’s a greater love than a parent’s love for their child.…