I've been spring cleaning for the last two weeks. I'm not sure that that's even an appropriate title for it though, since what I'm really doing is cleaning one area of this place while the kids destroy another. So lets just say I entertain myself with cleaners, scrubbing, and organizing in different areas of the house until it is no longer recognizable that I did so, and I either choose to repeat the process or hide in my closet with a book and check out of life for a little bit.
So yes. Our school room had become a room piled with books and curriculum, notebooks and crafts. I spent much of the day sifting through and reorganizing piles of papers while walking around this little baby rocking seat. It's the same one I'd set Adeline in as a baby and rock with my toes while I stirred dinner. The same one I'd sit Gideon in while I potty trained Adeline. The same one Selah sat in while her older sister and brother would perform tricks for her to watch and wonder at. The same one all three of the older ones would push Ryder around in a train of little children I'd made. It's been forgotten and unoccupied in this room for a year now, and I'd walked around it from one pile to another all morning. I am not a stuff person. I don't tend to covet things. It is quite easy for me to give things away or throw them out. So I thought I'd take this chair, a purple Bumbo I used for all 4, and the high chair that has been collecting dust in the corner of my kitchen, and let them go.
A year and nine months ago my baby was born through what was an extremely traumatic birth. Here on this blog I have a birth story for all of my other three, but I've never been able to share about Ryder's because it's hard enough to think about, impossible to speak about, and just too soon to share even almost two years later. Because all 4 of my pregnancies threatened my own life and the life of the babies I carried we spontaneously chose to have my tubes tied after prominent urging from medical professionals that I trusted. Pregnancy was the hardest thing I'd ever been through, and to think it was finally just a piece I could lay in the past was something I thought I was ready for. 10 hours after the procedure my husband left my side and went home to care for our 3 older children. He called me on his way home and said a sentence I never saw coming and will likely never forget. "I'd do anything, pay anything, to ever undo this surgery."
All of the bravery I'd mustered suddenly vanished, and I immediately knew I'd made a mistake. I looked down at the baby in my arms and knew I'd never get to do this again. The pain inside of me was completely unbearable, and I cried uncontrollably for days. Pregnancy was my ultimate low but my newborns. They were the high of my life completely erasing the trenches I tried to claw my way out of to bring them to this Earth. Those trenches were so deep only Jesus himself lifted me above and graced me with these gifts that blinded me of the battle it took to hold them. First baths, the smell of newborn skin, the way my heart felt as their daddy held them so small in his arms so strong, the long nights I never complained about because baby breath on my neck was enough to trump sleep deprivation. I live for it all. Every scoop of heavenly sweetness that a new life brings to my arms and my heart.
and it was over for me.
I'd wake up next to this little life nuzzled in between his daddy and me, and I'd cry that one day it would be the last time he fit so perfectly right under my neck to my elbow.
People would pry as they do and question whether he was our last or not, and I'd try my hardest to fight my swollen throat to answer them and tears would beat my words out.
He'd grow out of onesie sizes, and I'd look at the clothes and absolutely lose it because I'd never have a tiny body to put back in one.
I was depressed for months with the overwhelming feeling that I took God's design for my family and signed a consent form to make it my design instead. I'd been weak for 41 weeks of pregnancy, and postpartum was usually my shine time, redemption. This time though, it was prolonged weakness that I could not rise above. It immersed me when I least expected it. Pumping gas looking into my car and watching his little chest rise up and down in his car seat while he slept. Nursing him and studying every single shade of blue in his eyes and memorizing the dimples in his hands. I felt more guilt than I could even sift through for the surgery, and today it is still the biggest regret of my life.
But I wanted my strength back. I was tired of being so weak and tired of being so consumed with my mistake. I worked really hard at controlling my emotions. I was really good at turning happy on, and really good at masking sadness. Jesus was the only one who knew the true condition of my heart, and soon enough he asked me to trust Him with it. I became so emotionally exhausted every day I knew I didn't have a choice. So I began to pray that he'd fuse my tubes together and perform a miracle that I could use to to reflect his Sovereignty. It was hard to even pray the words because I knew placing my faith in them could either result in the miracle I was asking for or an empty hope and prolonged aching for it. I prayed anyway.
And soon I let it go.
That doesn't mean every now and then I don't pick it back up.
It means I gave it away, and a lot of times I have to keep giving it away.
It means that I understand when He makes all things new, my burdens are considered, my mistakes redeemed.
It means the ashes I waded through are being worked into beauty that will be for my good.
I've got a promise, and I'm faithful whatever that looks like it will be greater than I could have ever chosen.
So I took the chairs that seated some of my most precious memories, and I walked outside and put them to the road. I arranged them respectfully near the curb, not too close to the road, but not to far away to be overlooked. I walked inside, and I cried.
Then I walked back outside to bring them back.
and they were gone.
I let them go.
I texted Philip at work and told him what I'd done. (I feel as though it is only fair to warn him on days like those about my emotional instability so that he isn't blindsided when he walks through the door at night)
"What if we get to adopt a baby, and he or she won't have chairs?"
(because I should also mention that when I am having "one of these days" I am also dumb as rocks.)
"We'll be just fine, ma."
and I believe him.
So I let it go.