Sep 12, 2008

On the other side now..or somewhere in between...

I had a small epiphane today in Target, of all places. I was passing the baby aisles, and for the first time in what seems like ages, I kept on going! Yup, no baby wipes to buy, no diapers in bulk, no bibs, baby spoons, teensie rattles, rash name it, don't need it! Whew! What a strange feeling! Four kids and one tubal ligation later, my baby years are officially behind me. I should have been thrilled for this moment, should have literally stopped mid tracks in Target and done a cartwheel or two. But to be honest, I felt a twinge of sadness as I steered away from the diapers. I paused, racking my brain to think of someone I could buy diapers for. Or anything baby. Those teeny overalls are simply irresistible! And those chenille baby blankets? I want one in my size, please! Alas, no one came to mind. All of my friends, you see, are past their baby years too. What a strange feeling! Years of going to showers, oohing and aahing over pink baby booties and flowered dresses and tiny velcro hair bows...poof..over! Sleepless nights covered in baby spit up and crusty breast milk...gone! Again, you'd think I'd be jumping for joy, and truly, I have no desire to don those nasty nursing pads or DD nursing bras anymore, thank you. But right there in Target, for just a second, I actually missed it. All of it. The weary, bleary days of pushing the double stroller through those very aisles, absentmindedly grabbing for any generic pack of diapers that seemed to remotely fit my child. Frantically juggling a crying baby and screaming toddler at the check out line as I plopped my coupons down on the counter and fished for my Visa card in a sweat. Staggering out to the parking lot, breathing heavily, near panic attack, only to sit there for a good half an hour while the ice cream melted in the trunk as I nursed my howling, hungry baby. Turning up the radio to drown out the noise as I sped on home, praying that someone, anyone would fall asleep, and wishing at the same time that someone could be me!! Yes, I miss those days...maybe just a bit. Not enough to return, but enough to look back with fondness, laughter, and tears. The kindly woman at the check out line who gently tapped my shoulder and said "It goes so quickly, dear" was so right. With three kids in school, I now have time to actually saunter over to the Starbucks counter, ponder my options for more than two seconds, and enjoy a hot cup of coffee at my leisure before I begin my shopping. There is no wailing baby in the car seat strapped to the cart, no leaking boobs in the shoe aisle, no need to buy diapers, wipes...did I already say that?? And so I enter a new phase of my life. Not quite an "old" mom, but not so new anymore. Seasoned, I guess you could say, considering my oldest just started junior high. Not seasoned enough, though, that I can resist calling my mother in tears when my youngest wets his pants at Disneyland on the train ride. Not seasoned enough that I can safely say the temper tantrum days are behind me. No, I'm just hanging out somewhere in between. Reminiscing, enjoying, looking forward. Someday, these days too will be behind me. I'm thankful I'm now sane enough to enjoy them.

Sep 8, 2008


Okay, so I am a bit addicted to Facebook. I didnt think I would ever get caught up in something like that, but it is actually pretty cool! I've found old friends and new alike, and come to discover that it's a great way to stay connected. Plus, it seems a bit more, shall we say, adult? than myspace. Or at least that is what I tell myself when I'm chatting away with my friends at midnight online!
One of the most interesting things about it is finding out where people ended up and what they are doing. I recently found one of my childhood best friends on there. She ended up becoming a chef, which didn't surprise me in the least, as growing up, her step dad was the most fabulous cook I'd ever met. She is married and has three kids and lives in Oregon. Another friend from junior high turned out to be a chemist (I always knew she was smart!) and is now getting her PhD in Europe! Wow! Puts me to shame!
As I think about these different friends, it strikes me as amazing at the different journeys we all ended up taking. As children, we were all the same, for the most part. We spent our days running through the sprinklers and licking Popsicles made from Tupperware molds, and crossed our fingers for a decent grade on our science fair project. We had crushes, made friendships in 2.2 seconds on the playground, and hoped for our favorite teacher each year. We had pesky siblings, watched Disney movies at sleep overs while rolling our hair in big curlers, and tried to not act too cool when we shaved our legs for the first time.
Now, here we are in our thirties, some of us with children, some not, some married, some not, some living on opposite sides of the States, and even the world! Who would have ever guessed these things growing up? Who could have known?
I, for one, knew I wanted to write since the first grade. My teacher told my mother I was an aspiring writer, and that was that. I never wanted to be anything else. I wanted to get married, and have two girls and a boy. I hadnt a clue the twists and turns life would take me on as my future unfolded.
The girl in the silly pink curlers at the slumber party didn't know she'd find herself a single mom at the age of 19, when most kids are still deciding on junior college. The girl in the Taco Bell uniform (yup, that was me, thank you very much!) hadn't a clue that one day she'd meet her husband on the Internet of all places, and wind up in a whirlwind romance that began on a pier in San Francisco and ended up in southern California. And the girl who dreamed about two little girls and a boy? Well, not quite. Three boys and one girl later (thanks to lots of prayer!) I got my sweet little red head and a car full of stinky soccer cleats!
Journeys. Where we begin, where we end up. My journey continued as the Lord led us to Arizona and then back nearly three years later. I found myself in a desert place, literally and spiritually, wondering if perhaps we'd made the biggest mistake of our lives. And then understanding, of course, that there are no mistakes, that God has already designed our journey for us. He's ridden ahead, paved the path, completely aware of each twist and turn our lives will take. Knowing he's a few paces ahead helps me keep focused on the path I'm on, even if I don't always know where I'm headed.
I don't know where I'll be in two years. Five years. Ten years. I knew a woman who plans her life ten years at a time. How can you, really? Sure, we can plan, we can dream, we can assume, but only the Lord holds the map.
Just tonight, I made plans that went terribly awry. I had evey intention of going some place that I very much wanted to go, and things did not go as planned. If you'd asked me this morning where I would be tonight, it wouldnt have been where I sit right now. The old me might have been disraught over this. And I admit, I am a tad disappointed. Okay, a lot. But it was not meant to be.
Not knowing where we're going is almost more exciting than knowing where we're going. Not knowing keeps us relying on God, the one who has no beginning, no end. Our future lies in his hands. The journey has just begun!