I have a Morning Glory on my fence. It’s one of my favorite plants each year. I love the way it grows and climbs, and the bright blue flowers are exquisite. But this year, day after day, week after week, my Morning Glory didn’t bud or bloom. I was so disappointed. I thought it wasn’t going to bloom at all. After waiting all summer (because it’s a late bloomer), I thought there wasn’t going to be any reward for the wait. Humph. I was disgruntled by the uncooperative nature of my plant.
This unruly plant started my wheels turning, though, and I started seeing how frustrated I become by things that are outside my control. Motherhood has been one big lesson in relaxing for me, in letting go, slowing down. With my return to work this fall, we hit some parenting road blocks that I’ve been really frustrated about.
For instance, while I often use my blog to celebrate Sophie’s amazing progress, there are also many days that my heart is so frustrated over her snail’s pace. She learns things more slowly, and she is naturally a person who moves at a slower pace. My return to work has caused some regression in some of her behaviors as she strives to cope with her changing reality. Little ones can’t control very much about their lives, so when changes shift their worlds, they exert control in the only ways they can. For Micah, this is temper tantrums and emotional spewing. And that is just lovely. For Sophie, it’s regressing in areas of independence in order to achieve more attention by acting more dependent — wanting to be carried around, wanting to be fed, wetting her pants, pulling out her hair. We made so much progress in her independent function this summer, so it is extremely frustrating to see her regressing. And it’s hard knowing that her separation from me is rocking her equilibrium. I fought with Sophie for several weeks in these areas of regression, trying to get her to continue in the positive and independent behaviors we established this summer, but it was like banging my head against a wall. I couldn’t make her do it. I couldn’t force the bloom. When I finally saw what was happening and just let go, and just lavished her with love, she started to come out of her regressions.
Just like that plant — there wasn’t a darn thing I could do to make it bloom. There wasn’t a lot that I could do to move Sophie through this regression. I just had to wait. I got frustrated. I got tired of waiting. It felt like the bloom would never come. I’m guilty of wanting things to just happen right now; waiting is hard when the reward remains out of sight.
But then, in the first week of October, my Morning Glory sent out two beautiful blue flowers. They bloomed all day, revealing the depth of confusion in this plant. I now call it my “All Day Glory,” because it can be found with flowers on it just about any time of day. It’s been blooming for a month now, and more buds appear each day. In spite of the two hard frosts we’ve had, it blooms on.
Sometimes you just have to wait longer than expected for the bloom. But then when it does appear, it is more rewarding and more beautiful than a less anticipated bloom.
We have another bloom coming. It’s not a bloom we planned on or expected … It’s a bloom that I grieved and said goodbye to when I saw my final MRI results, when my neurologist confirmed again, “you’ve definitely suffered a stroke.” We were cautioned to consider carefully growing our family any further when doctors concluded my stroke was a result of pregnancy, and so I worked to envision my family as one of only four. I struggled. I prayed. I waited. And waited. And I accepted life. I grew content. I enjoyed being with my tribe. I loved my two babies. And now I will love a third.
After the mind-blowing shock has worn away, I find that I trust my Father’s timing. I always have. If I had been born when my parents desired me, I’d be a good decade older! For reasons known only to him, God has chosen this babe, and not the one I desired much sooner, the one that I let go of having. My heart feels certain that this has always been the plan. This person is the one God planned on. He or she is eternally significant. In June we will meet this sweet babe, our belated bloom.
Although we had altered our plans because of my health, God has re-orchestrated those plans once again. We trust that he is able to uphold my health throughout this pregnancy, and we ask for your prayers for my health. Each morning when I wake up, I am thankful to have another day. Somehow my heightened awareness of my fragility has bloomed a new gratitude for life in me and a new awareness of what really matters. Every day I’m given with Sophie and Micah and Andrew is a gift, and I am so thankful.
No matter what the next months hold, I have chosen to believe that God is big enough. He is big enough to keep me from another stroke. He is big enough to protect my life. And if he chooses otherwise, then he is big enough to keep my beloved husband and my sweet babies in his care. He is big enough.