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69 weeks | On the eve of something beautiful | no. 0063
Last year, Christmas was on a Wednesday and I wrote about my awkward stumbles through faith in my mothering journeys. I am still working on it. But I think I’ve grown stronger prayer muscles since writing those words twelve months ago.
In the midst of my most challenging storm, I was constantly evaluating my capacity to pray, and to believe that better would come. The storm this time was that my munchkin was sick. And it wasn’t just a cold running its course in a week or so. The last two months have been a tug of war between bracing for catastrophe and mustering the audacity to be open to a miracle. In fact, it’s only now that he’s doing much better that I can even admit that he was sick. When we were in the thick of it, all I could say was that we were “having challenges with munchkin’s health.” The word sick seemed so paralyzing, and I needed all the breaths I could spare to still think positive.
Most days I felt like I was going out of my mind. I felt I had to keep smiling for my munchkin, even though he wasn’t smiling back. I thought it was important that I still mirror joy to him. That somehow he would be in more pain if there were no bright faces and pleasant voices to greet his sad eyes in the morning.
I think during the storm that the mornings were the hardest part of the day for me. I would wake up before him, pleading with God to make my baby get up and be back to his bouncy, busy-body self. I called this acts of faith, but really they were composed of doubts and my worst fears. When he would finally rise and not be magically all better, I would have to start practicing the real faith. I had to go through all the motions with him, even though he wasn’t in the mood. We had to have story time anyway. We had to sing our songs anyway. I had to talk to him about my dreams, explain what I was cooking, make up silly games with his toys in the bathtub anyway.
This faith walk was agonizing. But it was so necessary. I learned through those grueling weeks of worrying about my child what gives the mother her power to act in the spirit of possibility even when the reality seems devoid of certain progress.
I am still processing all we experienced as a family in this first serious health matter with the munchkin. He’s almost 16 months. I know we are grateful that even with the overwhelming ordeal we have come through, there are other families navigating through much more turbulent waters with their babies.
This whole thing has made me pray more for all the babies, for all the mothers, and fathers, and families everywhere. We don’t usually know what our loved ones are going through. I am now looking at everyone with gentler eyes. I know more intimately how sometimes things are going on, and after spending all your energy to heal your child, you really have nothing left for the world.
It’s Christmas Eve. I’m at my mother’s with my family. My munchkin is nursing in my lap. We are blessed.
Merry blooms to all, beautiful people!
The munchkin, my first born, was born on a Wednesday. Wednesday’s Bloom: Textual Portraits of a New Mommy is an ongoing multi-media documentary project about my process as a mother. Today’s story is a part of Volume 1, 73 consecutive weeks of posts, spanning about the first year and a half of the munchkin’s life. Each episode explores my weekly discoveries, challenges, questions, and hopes as a mother. I also facilitate the New Mommy Writers’ Workshop for all mothers and women active in their mothering work who are excited about cultivating their own writing practices.