Love, Grow, & Overflow

My cup overflows. My laundry does too.

Month: August 2013

Worth It

 

copyright D. Sharon Pruitt

copyright D. Sharon Pruitt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I write this, I’m six weeks pregnant.  It’s the sweetest little secret, like carrying around a diamond in my pocket.  Already somewhere deep inside me, the tiniest of hearts is fluttering.  And even though this is my third go-round, this quiet miracle stuns me every time.

My head can never get too far in the clouds, though.  “Morning” sickness keeps me planted, usually on my knees on the bathroom floor.  When I’m not vomiting I’m trying ridiculous remedies like walking around holding a lemon to my nose.  Some of my lousiest parenting days are unfolding right at this moment, like the other day when I laid down the whole afternoon and let my kids gorge themselves on Netflix videos.  I’ve also perfected parenting from one place: hide-while-I-seek-you-from-my-chair and let’s-read-a-story-here-on-the-bed.

The first time, when I was pregnant with my eldest, I felt guilty that I was doing pregnancy wrong since I didn’t enjoy it.  And then I felt guilty that my little lima bean would sense my negativity and grow up emo.  The second time, I felt guilty that my one-year-old would be forever scarred by the days I spent hunched over the toilet instead of creating stimulating fine-motor activities.  And now, with my healthy and well-adjusted preschoolers as testimonies to grace and resilience, I press play.

I have no energy, I have no appetite, but I also have no nagging guilt.  Not much, anyway.  So, there’s that.

This, too, shall pass.  Meanwhile, hello again, Caillou.

I’ve heard people say morning sickness is a good indicator that the body’s producing enough hormone.  I found it when I googled, so it must be true.  But in my searching, I found something even more interesting: some scientists theorize that morning sickness and food aversions exist to protect the baby by preventing moms from eating toxins.  Morning sickness usually abates after the first 14-18 weeks, which is when the organs form.  Moms usually have aversions to meat, fish, eggs, spicy foods, certain vegetables – foods that, especially in the pre-refrigeration days, harbored a lot of bacteria that could damage fetuses.

I like this theory.  In the past, morning sickness has been one of the many things rising against me first trimester, along with craving empty carbs and crying every time I read Tina Fey’s thoughts on motherhood.  But now I’m realizing this ol’ body is with me, not against me.  I’m praying each day for this sweet baby.   I’m doing everything I can to be a haven for this child.  And physically my body is doing the same thing, protecting even now, sheltering from danger.  It’s a little unnecessary in these days of at-my-fingertips knowledge about listeria and nitrates and proper food handling.  But still, I understand, this body fighting like a warrior for something worth defending.

Even at these early weeks, Baby, this truth is clear:  I will always fight for you.  I will always protect you.  Even when it’s primal and a little violent and my eyes stream and my legs shake.  Even when it’s undignified and messy.

I will be weak so that you can grow strong.

 

Cicadas

 

We’ve got a great playground in our backyard, a hand-me-down from friends who outgrew it.  It’s far nicer than anything we could afford, and we love the chance for kids to work out their energy in a way that involves neither our couch nor the cats.  Late in the day, the sun peeks through the trees and dances on my kids’ faces as they slide and swing and climb to their hearts’ content.

Last week, in the midst of play time, my daughter let out a shriek and exclaimed, “Eww! A bug!”  My husband, who is our one-man bug patrol, was mowing the lawn with earphones in, so even when he was in view I couldn’t get his attention.  (Well played, husband.)  So I sauntered over, expecting an ant or spider.  Two insanely ugly bugs were latched on to the underside of the platform.  They were giant and gray with huge eyes and long, bent soul-crushing front legs.  (They looked straight out of Starship Troopers, or what I think Starship Troopers bugs would look like.  I didn’t see the movie because bugs are gross enough without Hollywood’s touch.)  Inside I was saying “EWW! A bug!” but someone needed to be the grown-up, so I put on my best parent face. I said,  “Wow!  I wonder what kind of bugs they are?  Now we have a science mystery to solve!”  My daughter looked at me skeptically and said, “I think I’m just going to swing instead.”

I took photos (carefully, trying not to get too close) and shared them with a few friends online.  One friend identified them as cicada exoskeletons.  She told me the cicadas had already molted, and that the creepy things that looked so much like live bugs ready to devour us were actually empty shells.  I was doubtful, but after doing some internet searches I realized she was probably correct.  I found some cool molting videos and a coloring page of the life cycle of cicadas, and I showed my daughter.  “Like a butterfly!” I cooed, which is true in the sense that I am like an Olympic athlete.  But my kids were comforted by the fact that they weren’t alive, and my son was especially comforted by the fact that he could, with parental permission, whack something with a stick.

As soon as we got into the backyard, my kids dashed valiantly to the playground to knock down the cicada shells (which was a little scary, honestly, because I was only mostly sure they were just shells.)  Sure enough, one gentle poke with a stick sent them falling down, empty and crumbling like paper.  My daughter said, “I wasn’t afraid once I learned about ‘em.”  And it felt like one of those “The More You Know” videos from the my youth, like maybe Tutti from Facts of Life would step out with the collar popped on her bedazzled jean jacket and say, “Cicada shells aren’t scary.  They’re not even alive.” And then a star would shoot across the screen with a rainbow burst and a sprinkle of piano keys.

I think this is true:  knowledge trumps fear.  It was utterly ridiculous to avoid half of the playground because of bugs that were not even there.   And I think of all the friends and opportunities my kids will miss if they grow into adults that let paper-tiger fears keep them from engaging the world.  I hope I can teach them now that when they feel uncomfortable or afraid of something they don’t understand, they can ask and educate themselves and poke those fears with sticks until they crumble.  And while some fears are valid, my kids don’t need to be shackled by those fears.  They can rise, like stars.  Like butterflies.

But not cicadas, because, ew.