I’m sitting here this Christmas morning, just had a prayer time, coffee in hand, and the house is quiet (except for the sound of this keyboard), and slowly filling with the scent of maple syrup and cinnamon as a blueberry cream cheese french toast bakes in the oven.
Sound idyllic? Hardly.
Here’s a representative illustration: yep, we are still besot with blue tape all over the living room. Tiny tot #2 is finally sleeping on his own in the kids’ room. Husband had him in the rocker and then downstairs for much of the night, trying to help him through some unknown ailment. Which means they will need to sleep much later than I planned for them (and they may be actually, grossly, ill), which means gift opening will happen late (and no doubt to the great disappointment of big sister), and then breakfast will be late (and I can’t eat all that gluten anyways), and then I will rush off to church (likely all alone-some on my own-some), and then to a huge extended family gathering where the kids won’t nap and everyone will be knocking about trying to relax and have a good time while staying hydrated.
This mama is worn out and not handling herself real well. Christmas until 3 years ago was always a sweet, reflective, active culmination of an Advent of preparation. And my Mom successfully pulled off that vibe with fully 3 times the number of kids that I have. For the visual, imagine me in the kitchen-full-of-ugly-brown-laminate yesterday trying (past my doctor’s orders bed time and screens-off limit) to pull together (in the midst of 3 days worth of dirty dishes and a spilled plant) a web recipe of the french toast bake. I apologize publicly to our guest who was trying to sleep and my kind husband who just wanted to help out and enjoy a very special reserve Dragon’s Milk beer.
So it’s labor, and it’s tense, and I fear I am totally missing, as they say, “the reason for the season” (while dragging the household down with me), and I wonder if Mary went through some of this. It reminds me of being in childbirth. It is a far cry from visiting a friend to celebrate the birth of a new born. No, actual pregnancy and labor is much more like this mama’s experience of Christmases of late. You (to be bare faced honest) dread it a little knowing how much work, pain, uncertainty will be swirling around. Planning can only go so far – after that you are required to chance strategies if necessary.
As both of our dear children were about to show themselves, I think with both it was during transition or pushing, I remember clearly one word spoken to me: “baby”. And I repeated it with a totally different tone than the strange sounds you otherwise hear during labor: “baby”. God bless our doula and nurses who spoke it; they are full of the Holy Spirit. It’s so interesting how simple and obvious it is, but I needed to be reminded during those chaotic moments of the fact that a baby was coming – imminently. (I actually panicked as little man was coming out: “WHAT IS HAPPENING??!???”) That word, baby, spoke the truth to me. It brought peace, order, and soft excitement.
So, mamas, if there are others out there feeling distinctly un-Christmas-y, know you are not alone. There’s a baby (and another slightly frantic mama) right around the corner. Some day, maybe, we will pull off the caliber of the celebrations that we remember so fondly. Today, let’s roll with our roll as mothers. Let’s roll with the punches and speak the Word for balance. Baby.