Friday, August 11, 2006

Em at Three

Em at Three
Originally uploaded by CaptPiper.
Tomorrow we are taking Emily, our first-born, to college. She will live in a dorm, and only come home for visits. It feels like the beginning of the end. Sam is still home. Well, not much, actually, now that he’s sixteen and has his license, but officially he still lives here and comes home to take showers. And sometimes he sleeps here. But I digress. The future seems so empty. I feel so sad, and yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way. But it’s hard.
Last night I woke up and began thinking about Emily not being here and I couldn’t sleep. I don’t drink, but last night, I think I would have had several glasses of wine. If I could have tolerated the taste. And if we had any in the house.

When I was eight years old, my mother died from cancer. Ever after that, I was haunted by a sense of loss of a family, especially after my older sister, living with us temporarily to take care of me, moved away from home and into an apartment with her husband and baby. Even when my father remarried and my step mother moved in, that connection was never really the same. Then my step mother died when I was twelve, and it was just my dad and me for a long time. I knew that I could not change the past – I could never get my mother back. But I could become the mother.
I waited patiently as the years passed, believing that God would restore what had been lost. I went to college, graduated, and began teaching school. I waited. Around me, my girlfriends were marrying; couples hooked up and began families. I waited. I dated guys, but none of them seemed to fit that picture in my head of my husband and the father of my children. I began to worry that it might not happen for me.
Then Tim came into the picture. He was right in every way. We married. He was 31 and I was 27, almost 28, so we didn’t want to wait too long before starting a family. Months passed and still I did not become pregnant. After a year had gone by, I started seeing a fertility doctor. Eventually I was diagnosed with endometriosis. I began a series of treatments: drugs, fertility pills, hormone treatments, tests, laser surgery… I read books on the subject of fertility. I was ready to do whatever it took.
Each month, when I discovered that I still wasn’t pregnant, became a teary session of longing and prayer. Eventually, I came to a place of faith in which I believed that God wanted me to be happy. Whether I had a child or not, He was building and developing my faith and trust in Him, and that should be my goal, not endless longing for what I envisioned my future should be. I relaxed, calmed down, and sought His will. Then I got pregnant. Finally, after two years and four months of various treatments and intense hoping, I became pregnant. Then came a kind of joyous, edge-of-your-seat type waiting, again praying that I would not lose the child, but at the same time trying to be submissive to God’s will.
Nine months later, right on schedule, Emily was born: A beautiful healthy child and the joy of my life. Then two years later came Samuel, no hassle whatsoever. There was my dream - right before my eyes. I felt so blessed, even though being a stay-at-home mom was possibly the hardest thing I had ever done – especially when taking care of an infant and a toddler. Wow.
So for the past eighteen and a half years, I have been living that life I envisioned. Tim is a great husband and father, and both my kids are pretty good, too. Not perfect, but no serious concerns like drugs or drinking. And I know I have not been the perfect mother; that goes without saying. But we have been happy.

Now I need to begin to create a new vision for my future, so I don’t get this black hole vision when I think about the empty nest. Back to the prone before God position.


Belle said...

Wonderful. I appreciate your God centered approach and think that it will see you through in the future.

Heart warming post.

Lynn said...

I wonder somedays how I will be at that juncture, when my firstborn leaves the nest....I hope today's sadness was offset with moments of laughter and the making of some good memories. I will keep you in prayer as you move through this transition. Thank you for reminding me of where my position before God should always be....thanks too for sharing from your heart.

From Margaret Silf's book, Sacred Spaces: Stations on a Celtic Way (from a course I took at the Methodist seminary called Celtic Chritianity) : "For the Celtic pilgrim, the ultimate boundary was the letting go of 'place' (or solid ground) and symbolically, or actually, committing oneself to the sea in a small coracle. If we allow ourselves, in imagination, to walk that boundary line between land and sea, and feel the lapping of the tides at our feet, we might gain some sense of what this 'letting go' might mean. On the one side we see solid ground of what we have lost___On the other side we see nothing but the expanse of an unpredictable ocean, with no land in sight. Yet this place of boundary, so Celtic wisdom assures us, is sacred."

Silf has used the story of Mary who meets Jesus outside the tomb as an example of someone who has to let something/one go (her idea of who Jesus was supposed to be, and Jesus himself) and move on to become an apostle for Christ.

"In Mary's story, too, the ground is hallowed, even though it feels, to her, like a swamp of despair. It is hallowed because it is precisely there that she encounters the call to move to a new stage of growth, and a deeper layer of the 'ground of her being' (or bedrock;-). Our boundaries always hold this element of challenge. Will we try to cling to the solid ground we once knew, but know we have now irretrievably lost? Or will we get into that little coracle, and entrust ourselves to the high seas of all that lies beyond, still unknown, untested, unseen?"

"This was Mary's final choice, encouraged by the indestructible presence of her Friend, assuring her that creation (and I would add our Creator), ultimately, is benevolent, and that the seas would carry her to new realms of being."

I remembered this passage when I read your post....had to search for the book but wanted to share that with you. In hindsight I can see where God was in each of these boundary places in my life, but at the different stages it was always hard to let go of the known and move towards the unknown.

I'm struggling with that now myself as I try to decide about returning to work after being a stay at home mom for 12 years. Your words remind me to lean into God and trust His will for my life.

Be blessed, stay safe, but enjoy your journey.

Lynn said...

p.s. There's a picture of my 3 miracles in my August 3rd TT post.

A.Toms said...

Hi, I absolutely love your photos and would love to know what your preference in camera/lens is.


Falk's Creative Outlet said...

Hi, Tom. Thanks for your kind comment.
I have three digital cameras: my purse camera is a Nikon 4200. That's a nice little versatile, handy camera but only has a 3X zoom, but takes excellent macros if you can get close to your subect. Handles low light well, too.
My old digital is a Nikon 5700. 8X zoom and 5 megs. It was top of the line at the time, for non-slrs, but now I don't think they even make it any more. Still, I like it and use it.
I bought a new camera at Christmas after saving for a year and a half: a Konica Minolta 5D, a digital slr. I bought a Tamron 28-300 lens for it. I like the arrangement of the controls in the design, and I love that 3200 iso, which can stop basketball action in the school gymnasium with a minimum of noise, but I have had some problems with it and had to send it back to get it fixed when the memory card wouldn't stay in its slot. Also, I get consistantly blurry shots when taking large group photos, yet sharp photos when zoomed in. It doesn't make any difference where I'm at or what the light source is, or whether I'm on manual or auto focus, or what my bracketing settings are. Large groups must be taken with my old camera.

If I had to do it over again, I might choose the Nikon D50, a very popular camera with photographers. Or the d70, or the Canon Digital Rebel.

Anonymous said...

Lovely posting!

The one constant in our lives is change; if we keep our faith that all is happening according to Divine Right Order, the uncertainty and sadness that may appear don't last long. One moves on to the next phase and joy returns and new pleasures come in to fill what might seem to be "gaps". For me, it all comes down to being able to let go....