Ever time I stop posting for any period of time, I feel this need to explain myself, as if there is some invisible boss standing over my shoulder wondering where they hell I've been. Obviously that's not the case. Does that ever stop me from acting on that weird guilt ? No, not really.
So this is where I was. I was enjoying my last week of maternity leave, including four wonderful days with my husband at home. He had that block of time off because we were supposed to go to Mexico for one of my best friend's weddings, but I pulled out because I decided I couldn't leave Luke behind for four days. Instead, we laid low, we went to the cider mill on the last nice day of the fall, we got stuff accomplish around our house (like the crap removed from our basement and the muck cleaned out of all its hiding places in our kitchen), we had a date night and we hosted a lunch party for family and friend's following Luke's dedication. I also did a lot of private thinking about What It All Means in terms of my maternity leave. I don't know that I came to any real conclusions, but I did come to one realization.
It was the best time of my life.
OK, maybe not the first two weeks when he was in the hospital. Maybe not the two weeks after that, when life as parents was becoming our new normal. Maybe not even for two more weeks beyond that when I found my comfort zone as a mother. But the last six weeks to eight weeks? They have been the best of my life. I love my son, and I love my life. I don't care how unprogressive it makes me, but I love taking care of my baby and taking care of my house. My house has never looked better. I started a chore chart and stuck to it. I cooked from scratch almost every night. I examined our finances and tried to find ways to do better. I did all that and had lots of time left over to coo at Luke, to snap 140 photos of him, to see friends, to drive and see my parents. I loved not having to make sure things would fit into my life around a cumbersome work schedule. I loved having more time to think about things I WANT to think about. Mostly, I just loved spending a majority of time with my baby.
I know being a mother is hard, and it hasn't always been easy with Luke. But I do think he is a pretty good baby. I have rarely felt overwhelmed. I have just been really, really happy.
And so. Going back to work is something I have both looked forward to and dreaded. I am excited to do new things. I'm sad to leave Luke. I'm worried about my milk supply and our patched together childcare system. I'm a big old mixed bag of emotions. And so I've spent a little time just trying to figure out where I really am with all this, and although I started today, i still can' really tell you. It felt kind of nice to wear dress pants and strut into an office and train on a computer system and meet with my boss. It fely even nicer to spend the rest of the day reuniting with Luke during a shared nap in my bed. I'm here, i'm there, i'm everywhere. It's hard to blog -- for me anyway -- when life is anything but clear and certain.
Also, during the last week, I spent a good deal of time tweaking a one-page letter to Luke. I read it Sunday in church as a part of Luke's dedication ceremony. I had several requests from people to post it, so tha's how I'm ending this jumbled mess of a post. Here it is:
When your father and I named you, we chose Luke for several reasons. We think it’s classic but not stodgy, simple but not too common. It’s the name of a fictional crusader, Luke Skywalker, who is dear to your father’s heart. And it’s the name of a Gospel writer who chronicled the earthly days of the world’s greatest crusader, . But beyond those impressive namesakes, we also liked its meaning -- “Bringer of Light.” Your middle name, Xavier, comes from one of your great-grandfathers. But we like its meaning, too, which is, simply, “Bright.” We could hope for nothing more than for you to live up to that name, to bring a bright light wherever life takes you, a light that can only be fueled by the grace and peace of Jesus.
We are here today to hopefully ignite that spark in you. We want to acknowledge that you are a beautiful gift to us and that as your parents we are dedicated to raising you to be a gift back to God’s kingdom.
We pray you will recognize that God has given you unique gifts and hopes you will use them to make the world a better, brighter place. We pray that whatever good or bad come your way, you will persevere knowing this life is just a precursor for what’s to come. We hope you will always know your family and our friends love you dearly, but we cannot love you as much as the one who created you. He loves you perfectly. We hope that love will inspire you to love those around you in return.
We hope you will look at the first days of your life – when you underwent open-heart surgery to correct a series of birth defects – and know God was with you, that he sustained you and did so because he has a plan for your life. We hope the scar on your chest will serve as a testimony that God can do great things. We pray your repaired heart sees you through a long lifetime and that you never let that rough start hold you back from pursuing big things.
We pray God will help you charge through life with confidence and compassion, generosity and faithfulness. We hope you will always want to help those in need and that you’ll have the courage to do so. We pray you will ask questions, think for yourself, read, play and laugh often. We pray God will bless our marriage so that we might be an example for you of his love and forgiveness in action. We hope you will forgive us for the ways we will fail you, and we pray those failings will be small. And we pray that when the time comes, you’ll go easy on the ladies who will fall in love with your dark eyes and deep dimples.
In the Gospel of John chapter 3, Jesus explains what happens when someone chooses to follow Him. He says, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” Just as the wind moves mysteriously, so do those who are brought into God’s family. In the best cases, they will live lives of radical love, lives that don’t always conform to our cultures norms. They are set apart, carriers of that distinctive bright light. That is our hope for you. And we pray we will be blessed with the grace, patience and energy needed to see you through it. We love you, our little funny bunny. Love, Mom and Dad.