Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I am definitely not where I expected to be. If someone had told me five years ago that I would be a stay at home mama, I might have laughed in their face. Five years ago I was working my sweet arse off as a junior in college, applying to be an RA, thinking about grad school, setting up my summer internship, enjoying my side job working at a floral shop, and dating this sweet, towering towheaded fellow. I was quite sure even then that I would marry that fellow, but well, I was not really a "kid" person (and frankly, didn't ever think I would be. Ha.)

Oh, how life has a way of changing your ever-so-precisely conceived plans. I didn't go to grad school to study Counseling Psychology...and frankly, after working for good ol' corporate coffee for nearly three years, I am infinitely grateful that I didn't. I experienced people that were in desperate need of therapy almost every day, and I don't know if I would have enough grace or patience or wisdom to deal with those folks. Oh yes, and I didn't go work in the non-profit sector like I planned...for some reason, people aren't too fond of hiring during recessions. I put out countless job applications, searched out every resource I could, and finally landed a temp job only through a friend who was leaving and put in a good word for me. And I got laid off from that job a month before I married that sweet, towering towheaded fellow.

Which led me to corporate coffee and the famous (or infamous) green apron...but happily, in a fun and vibrant neighborhood, with oodles of kind regulars (and good tips). And you know what? I actually liked that job far more than I ever expected. I learned that I absolutely loved being active and moving around while working (I thought my soul was going to die while I temped in a gray cubicle). I developed a tougher skin thanks to the joys of customer service, which was desperately needed on my part, since I usually was a teary mess at even a hint of criticism. My coworkers were wonderful, good-natured people who looked out for me when the going got rough. I got health insurance (!!!!!!!!!), wonderful benefits, and...da, da, ta-daaa!...paid maternity leave.

I was just preparing to embark on the path back to school (since my partner in crime had just finished his hard-earned Master's degree-holla! My turn!) when I doubled over one morning in so much pain that I ended up in the ER thinking I had appendicitis. My appendix is still with me, but it was the start of testing and diagnosis and treatments that I had probably needed for a long time. In November of 2010, my doctor told me that thanks to this and this, I could have kids now...or never. Not a choice I expected to make at the tender age of twenty-four, and frankly one that terrified me. I have always been well too aware that I am a selfish person at heart, and I thought of all the countless sacrifices my parents had made for me. My parents worked different shifts so one of them could always be home with us, and consequently, they only saw each other at night and on the one day off that they shared. I remember my mom staying up late at night helping me with dreaded math homework or sewing costumes or any number of countless things. They rarely went away together, but chose instead to take us on family vacations so we could see the country. I thought of all the things my parents did for me, and I wasn't sure if I was capable of that kind of selflessness.

You don't always realize how badly you want something until you realized it was maybe never even a possibility. There were many tear-filled nights, sobbing in my husbands arms as I realized I might not be able to get pregnant, something I had always taken for granted. Then, one happy morning in February, I gazed bleary-eyed at my chart as I woke up and routinely took my temperature (Huzzah for NFP! More on that some other time...) and realized I was late. Like, over a week late. I looked over at my husband, who was nonchalantly getting dressed and said "I think I'm pregnant". His eyes popped, jaw dropped, etc...and oh yes, this is all happening while we are getting ready to leave his parent's house and drive five hours back home. Somehow we kept our bewilderment and excitement and terror to ourselves during breakfast, bought a pregnancy test, and hightailed it home. Two positive home pregnancy tests, one frantic shift at work, and one holy-smokes-I'm-pregnant doctor visit later, we sat together in our little home. Amazed. Friggin' terrified. And incredibly grateful.

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I have ended up where I needed to be.

School? Yes, someday, I want to go back, but the truth is that I am always, and always will be, a learner at heart. I had some serious pride issues back in the day...pride issues that chronic illness and job difficulties beat out of me. Funny how God uses what seems like the end of the world as we know it to make it just that-the end of the world as we know it, and the beginning of a life a little more like Christ. Nowadays, I find it very difficult to look down on people. I have a great sensitivity to the story of others, not knowing where they've been or what battle they may be fighting. And now, this sweet little chubster, this miracle baby with his daddy's towhead is rooting out that selfishness ingrained so deeply in my soul.

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I have ended up where I needed to be.

Gabe sporting his Christmas hat :)

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