Monday, November 16, 2009

Monster Madness

I have a few friends who are pregnant now with their first babies. There is something so thrilling about the first pregnancy. I suppose it's because it's all new. There is more energy and brain cells to put into contemplating the life change that is about to come. I remember in my first pregnancy, I touched my belly all the time, and felt I was "showing" much earlier than I really was. I tried really hard to listen to people's stories about becoming parents for the first time and use those stories to prepare myself. I thought that maybe the lack of sleep would be my biggest transition, and was curious how I would handle it. In the end though, the real surprise was not so much what happened in my life, but what happened to me. As soon as I saw my son's periwinkle body there awoke in me a monster that I had not been aware of. I had a keen sense that, if needed, I was capable of superhuman feats to protect my son. I KNEW that if there was a threat, without a blink, or even much effort, I could rip someone's head from their shoulders. I never anticipated the "Monster Mom" effect, and could hardly believe that something so potent could be fueled by a love so new and painful. All of a sudden, my heart was ripped from my chest, and tied to the wrist of this little being who was careless of it. My sense of protection is as much for him as for myself. If something happened to my children I would not continue to breath. I never could have anticipated how intrinsic to my life my children are.
I know now that the lack of sleep goes on for years after they have begun to "sleep through". The Monster always sleeps with one eye open. I wake now worrying and wondering if someone, tonight, is going to try to snatch them from their beds. I worry about their eating and activities. I know, all too keenly, that my sleep will never be what it once was. When they are teens, I will lay awake wondering if I am loving enough, or firm enough. I will ponder in the depths of the night what they are up to while at a sleep-over. The rest of my life will be deprived of the once energizing sleep, and will be energized instead by the Monster. The Monster itself is fueled by a bottomless pit of this new painful, potent, and powerful love. It is not the "love" of Huggies commercials in glowing white rooms, and adoring smiles (that's only a minor part.)No no, it is a dark and lurking, sometimes ugly love. A Monster love. It's the kind of love that only God could fill a mother with. So, I guess maybe God is a Monster Mom too. His dark and lurking Monster love weeps with us, and for us. He is obsessed enough to count our hairs, and catch our tears. He never slumbers, and He watches our every move day and night. The Monster Mom in me is comforted to know that, even if my super-powers are not enough to protect my children, they are guarded and watched by an even more powerful, and obsessive Monster God.

Monday, November 02, 2009

An Attitude of Gratitude

I am naturally a very negative person. I like to think it's "realistic", as all of us pessimists would say. If something bad happens in a day I will usually define my day as "sucky". As a pessimist, I tend to fear the worst and dread the best. But 12 years ago, God rained a little irritating sunshine into my miserable existence and ever since I have been doing battle with a perpetually positive and perky individual. She stormed my life with her cheer and constant annoying habit of finding something good in everything. She was a Pollyanna to my Grinch. What I have at times thought of as "fake" I have now realized in simply innate in her. As I put my energies into twisting everything into being a "sad reality" she puts her energies into finding the "good in it". In the 12 years of knowing her a little of this pleasantness has gratefully begun to colour my thinking. As I began to realize that things are how we choose to see them, I have realized that my reality is as real as hers and her reality could be mine if I was willing to put the energy into it. I have found myself at times thinking, "How would Becca think about this?" I have even startled myself by actually choosing her thoughts over mine. I find more and more I WANT to think positively. I WANT to see the good in things. I WANT to be grateful. I have spent so much time miserable that it is so easy to go there, but part of me is caught up in the sunshine and wants to stay there. I hope that more and more of me will get dragged there, and that I can begin to see things with the glorious "attitude of gratitude" which I believe is a Biblical view of the world.

I have begun to ask God to show me things to be grateful for. I don't want to miss even the most minute things, and so far I have seen with new eyes the tap in my house that provides me all the water I need. It is drinkable, and can be hot or cold on demand. I have seen with new eyes the roll of toilet paper that is an absolute luxury. I am so grateful to have decorations in my house that are an absolute ostentatious display of the wealth of our household, but, I think, make it a beautiful little home. Even on my hard days with the kids, I am so thankful that I have them as I know too many people who have not been able to keep theirs.

Many times this gratitude is of a forced and concerted effort, but I think it is enriching my life and makes it no less "real". I am so grateful for my beautiful friend who has seen my in my most monster-ish form, loved me anyway, and was bold enough to force me to see some of her reality for myself. Although I have been a storm cloud in her sky many times, she doesn't hold this against me, and has even thanked me (yes, it's true) for being an influence in her life. I think God grants us friends like this to colour our lives for the better, but I hope never to diminish her light. I am grateful to have someone show me the way to a new perspective, a holier perspective, one filled with more light and more beauty that I ever thought my grumpy little self could manage.