There are Springs, Summers, Winters, and Autumns, and the funky in-betweens when it can't decide if it's Summer or Fall, and then there are those others. Those seasons of life that seem to throw you completely off kilter and you suddenly find yourself in survival mode for much longer than you expected.
Seasons like right now.
I think I'll call this season the 3 a.m. season. Because I'm awake almost every morning at this hour, thanks to the needs that this second little boy is causing on my taxed and stretched and tired and (at the moment) heartburned-out body. I recently told some friends that maybe I should just schedule something for myself every morning at this hour, since it seems to be the only time I can currently count on being awake, alert, and uninterrupted.
One of them suggested prayer. They're absolutely fantastic like that.
These friends, they're called My Lovelies. I don't think I've mentioned them here before. We are a group of 15 that evolved out of a secret Facebook focus group originally intended to be editors and collaborators for this life-changing book. (Y'all should buy it. Because anytime you can change your life for $3.99 and 31 daily devotions, you should.)
Last Spring we were a group of twenty something online barely acquaintances who agreed to collaborate on a book together. Now we are a group of 15 and they are my best friends. My BEST FRIENDS. These girls will stop what they are doing to pray for another who is half a country away because of an anguished cry voiced on facebook over spilled milk or temper tantrums or ugly days or just plain ol' PMS. And we laugh (ok we LOL) until we cry and our cheeks hurt over things that make no sense to anyone else, like metal chickens and poop. And we intercede for each other and buy groceries and plane tickets for each other, because that's what good girlfriends do.
I've only met about half of them face to face. But that's about to change. Next month - in just four and a half short weeks - they are almost all gathering at my house for a girls' weekend. I've lovingly told my boys they must leave the premises for this group of girls I've never met, so that we can have 4 glorious days of kid-free girl time to do whatever. we. want. After the Are You Crazy!? conversation, Alejandro graciously agreed with that look that I know is only because he knows how much this means to me.
This will be the very first girls' weekend I've ever gotten to be a part of - much less host. (Well, unless you count Mary Kay conferences, which are a big ol' party and so much fun, but not the same as girls gathering at a house for four days to just be together.) We've been planning it for a year and now we are all just trying to keep ourselves inside our own skin in anticipation and excitement. Well, at least, I am.
Everyone needs to go get themselves a set of their own Lovelies to do life with.
Life. Seasons. Survival mode. That's right. That's what I was orginally writing about, wasn't I.... right.
These Lovelies, and my dear, blessed, long-suffering husband are going to be SO glad when this 3 a.m. season of survival I'm in is over. I mean, we're all enjoying it for what it is. Don't get me wrong. There are the kicks, and the million trips to the bathroom and the constant eating. Constant. Eating. ...wait, I meant to go off on a list of the wonders of pregnancy right then. Sorry about that. Anyway, we are enjoying this season for what it is, but we will also be glad - so very glad - when it's over and it feels a little less like survival. And my husband and my Lovelies and everyone else around me can welcome the sane, logical, emotionally balanced Renee back into their life once again.
In the meantime, I'll do my best to cherish the anticipation. The reorganization of a house. The reorganization of a life. The sweet one-on-one moments with my little boy who acts entirely too much like a little man sometimes. Like tonight at our family Starbucks date way past his bedtime. Every time he just holds that little Starbucks kids' hot chocolate and takes a sip while giving me a grown-up look, I could just squeeze him and go right back to when he was a newborn babe, patiently waiting for me to figure out how to mother him. Oh, my sweet boy.
I'll cherish the moments when I suck in my breath and close my eyes and breathe deep and wait, while my body finishes another practice contraction. And that look in my husband's eye as he waits, knowing without a word what's going on. "Contracting?" he says, just to acknowledge what I'm going through. "Mmm," I respond. And just behind the expression of concern and sympathy, is a light glowy expression because his wife and unborn son are just getting ready for what's to come in the next 8 weeks, give or take a few days.
I'll cherish the cute wardrobe thas has been put together by loving loaning friends and Target sales, full of stretchy pants and huge waist-lines and the blessed break from sucking in my mid-section for 9 months.
I'll cherish the anticipation of a baby boy, so close to my heart, and yet still unknown, who will change and shape my faith and my motherhood and my character and my person and my life in a whole new yet unknown way.
I'll even cherish the quiet uninterrupted moments at 3 a.m., when I can read my favorite writers and be uninterruptedly inspired. Even if they are born out of heartburn and the gazillionth trip to the bathroom.
See, Renee? There IS a lot to enjoy right now. So just ride it out. Take each day of these next 8 weeks one at a time. Breathe slower. Or at least harder and longer. And enjoy this 3 a.m. season. It will only happen to you quite this way just once.