I am packing all my worldly possessions once again. We are headed 24.5 miles north into the wilds of West Asheville. We are trading coyotes for jogging strollers and corn fields for coffee shops. I am both excited about this opportunity to serve God and sad about leaving this home. I can't even describe how quickly my roots sunk into this rich soil, but I know that with a bit of work and some prayer, it will happen again.
I am reading a great story right now called, A Wise Man's Fear, (don't bother, Mom) and there is a little snippet where one character asks another what he calls himself. I heard that in my heart. What do I call myself. Mostly, to be honest, I think of myself as me. No name, no function, just me. I think of the spark that God created when I was still unformed. That is me. No name. Just me.
But names are powerful. Laine was struggling with feeling shy on the playground around a new face this evening, but after we asked the young girl her name his sullen scowl was edged out and they were soon giggling and chasing freely.
But not before we knew her story. Her favorite color is blue. She is a triplet. She lives in Florida. She is 12. She became real when we knew her story.
Why do I write here? Probably because I have always written my thoughts in some way, but also to remember. I am a little frustrated by how easily I forget pieces of my own story. One of those stories I do not want to forget is the births of my children. They are deep and joyful stories. They are stories of becoming an adult. They are stories of me. My story. My deep self. So if you want to read these stories, please know that these are my deepest words. I hand them to you with the fear of a new mama. Proud but fierce.
This might take a few days, so be patient.
Beginning is difficult. When do you become a mama? I loved my little brothers more maternally than they wanted. I babysat a lot. But that isn't really even close. Like paint by number instead of art. Luke and I talked about having a baby and like children talk about going to the moon. We had no idea what we were talking about. But we began to dream and yearn and...well...try. For seven months we hoped and worried and wondered and cried. Each month when my body would start over, we would grieve.
Then my shoulder started to ache. Slowly, my arm went jangly. Almost like feeling returning to a "sleeping" foot, but not quite. More like my nerves were on. Then I started dropping things and missing chairs when I sat down and falling asleep on any couch I could find. Being a two week graduate of nursing school I had lots of fun names and prognoses to attach to my worries. I went to urgent care where the doctor said (in a surprisingly cheerful tone) that I probably either had shingles or MS.
He said we could just wait a couple of weeks to see if I developed a rash.
After a few agonizing, rashless days, Luke and I made a plan. We would travel. We would learn languages and read really good books. We would live fully and wholly. We were terrified.
Then I broke down and told my mom. I wanted to be a grown up so badly and be able to tell her the full story, but that never works. I told her about the dumb doctor and my tingly arm. Mom and dad scheduled an appointment with a neurologist.
I asked for prayers. Luke and I went together. We held hands. We were nervous.
The neurologist did lots of tests. Asked some questions. Sent me for an MRI. Asked if I had any metal plates or was pregnant. I said I didn't think so, but figured they should check (the pregnant part...not the metal part), and off I went to the hospital for a routine blood draw before the MRI that would change my life.
Only, they couldn't do the MRI, because my neurologist called and announced, "Congratulations! You're pregnant! I never get to say that!"