It’s late summer 2020. The house is quiet and dark and I’m awake. Jordan is asleep beside me and the girls are tucked in across the house, their little girl hair sprayed across their pillows, their chests rising and falling slowly, rhythmically. I have visited them a few times already to kiss their cheeks and whisper prayers of thanks and protection over them. I’m so grateful for these people - my husband and my children. I love them so much it terrifies me. That’s a new feeling, the fear - like a fog that always hovers just over top of every moment of motherhood now, of life.
I’m only a few months out from feeling my whole life spiral out of control when Bonnie was rushed into emergency surgery for a septic joint. For weeks words like “could be cancer, could become septic, could lose the leg” were lobbed at me while I floated somewhere outside of reality. And the toll her illness took on my emotional, mental, and spiritual life still reverberates my insides in ways that sneak up on me. It is the closest I have ever come to my world crumbling and running through my fingers like sand. It was the first time in my life that I was the real grown up, the decider. The one everyone looked to for what we would do next. I was the one at the center of her care. - the one the doctors looked at first when they came in the room. It was the closest I’ve ever come to crushing pain. To losing what I love the most. I didn’t. She was fine after all of it. She doesn’t remember any of it. But I’ll never be the same. And tonight, months later, here we are in the the thick of a COVID surge. So right now, lately, I don’t sleep well.
After I check again that everyone is safe in the quiet dark, I stare at the fire alarm light blinking blue on the ceiling. A secret thought is running through my mind and I don’t understand it. It’s a whisper I can only hear in the quietest most secret place in my heart. But it’s scary because I know now in ways I didn’t understand before that this desire would be my greatest joy, but also could be the source of my deepest sorrow if I ever lost it. I want another baby.
Tears fall because I’m too scared to ask for it. Too scared to want it. We’ve already decided we’re done. I should be grateful. Not push my luck. I have three healthy children. No one would understand. I don’t even understand. But tonight and really every night lately I feel the pull of another soul who is connected to mine across space and time. We are already connected. We always have been and we always will be. But what keeps me awake is a sudden awareness of the existence of this soul and the thought maybe we are meant to be together in this life, in this world.
My fear of what might go all wrong is palpable and paralyzing. I don’t want to hurt the way that love sets me up to hurt. But to love is to be vulnerable- able to be hurt. So I can hide from pain and limit my love. Or I can risk it all and open myself to great suffering with limitless wide open love. It seems obvious to choose love, but I think we all hide from pain in our own ways. We qualify and justify and deny and evade love because we all know deep down that if we love big we will get hurt.
So I hide. For months of nights I stare at the blinking fire alarm light and wish away the desire to love another baby. It’s too risky. I’m already in too deep with the people I love now. The suffering will find me. It will find them. And that feels unbearable. The anxiety of it all crashes into my body in panic attacks and headaches and a racing heart. I quit alcohol and caffeine and sugar. I exercise and read and pray and eat well. I take supplements and get blood work done. And while my insides are healthy my soul still isn’t, because my soul is made for limitless love. And I am still living limited.
Time goes on like this. Limited. Afraid. Closed. Wounded.
Now it is early 2021. I have tried to will away, pray away, clean lifestyle away my fear, anxiety and my secret hope for another baby. But it all still pulses through me, asking me to give in and give love a chance. Give God a chance. So finally I speak it out loud. I tell Jordan that I want another baby. And he is so honoring and so gentle, but he does not understand. We do not see each other. He is here in our real lives, I am away in our could be lives. But for months we work and work to find each other. And when we do, everything changes. A baby is coming.
And while this prayed for, begged for baby grows in my belly, I pray every day that I hold a healthy baby at the end. I am terrified that it will all go wrong - that I have asked too much and gone too far and that it will all slip right through my fingers and I won’t be able to handle it.
But God doesn’t work like that, I’ve learned. He doesn’t bait us with a desire and then switch it all just to teach us a lesson. Pain and sadness happen and life can go all wrong. And He can work through our pain to create beauty, yes, but I don’t believe he causes our pain to make a point or teach us a lesson. I didn’t know that I believed he might work like that until I was begging him not to. My faith was so weak.
Selah. His power is made perfect in my weakness. On January 17th, 2022, the precious soul who called out to mine is embodied in a beautiful 7 pound baby boy. He is placed right in my arms here on Earth. And heaven celebrates with us. We found each other, or rather, we were guided right to each other. We were always going to come together, but by grace, we came together in this world in God’s perfect timing. It is all as it should be. And we float here together in a thin place - where the space between Heaven and Earth comes so close they almost meet, they are only a whisper apart.
We have a name picked out, but it isn’t really his. He tells us his name. Grant Michael. Grant for a spiritual desire granted us in this world. Michael for my dad, and because God ushered him right to us as a holy gift. He completes our family and settles my soul. The future is unknown, and my fear of all this love still edges in. But for a flash of eternity here in this life, the six of us are together. The chances of it are impossible - that we’ve met each other here. So I’ll call it a miracle every day that I breathe. And I’ll rejoice in knowing that for all eternity we will never be apart for long.
Grant Michael, I have loved you forever. And my darling beautiful boy, we are not limited. We are limitless love.