Her blue eyes match the color of the evening sky, as I spin wildly, holding her above my head. She laughs, as I continue to spin and dance, marveling at the way the fading clouds capture the joy of my daughter’s baby grin. We snuggle and run toward her Daddy across the park’s green grass. She screeches in delight, and my heart sores.
It’s been a long time since I wrote, documenting this child of mine. For several weeks, the rigorous schedule of a full-time teacher and the duties of motherhood kept me too exhausted to put words to page. Then, for the past several, I’ve been processing too much sudden change to even know which words to choose. The elusive newness of what has occurred, what is upon me, and what has left my world tipped crooked competes with the peace of knowing that it’s all going to be okay. Truly okay. Sad. Painful. Scary. New. But, okay.
Tonight, the sunset background of my little family’s first picnic released a healing balm in my soul. Everything that matters most remains intact. David and I are more in love than ever before. Abby grows happier and healthier, more curious and more opinionated with every passing day. Stability is not in finding predictability. Stability is finding the calm in the midst of change, the glory in the midst of challenge.
Change and challenge…they have gone hand in hand the past many weeks. They leave me breathless and simultaneously fill me with hope of what God has in store.
Friday, September 5, was my last day as a teacher. After 6+ years of teaching, I turned in my keys and left my classroom to an incredible woman who will love my students, as I already do. Many of the details are unimportant and aren’t worthy of repeating here, but basically an unintentional error on the part of the school was found in my 2014-2015 teaching contract. This error caused me to have to choose between spending more hours away from Abby in order to maintain my health benefits (and finding more hours of childcare) or keeping my current flexible schedule, losing benefits and some of my salary. The finding was sudden and unexpected. My decision quickly made. Despite the fact that I will always love my school and the teachers/administrators there, it was time for me to resign. And, resign I did.
It’s time for something new.
Abby laughs and rolls on the blanket in the grass. Purity and pleasure reflect in her sea-blue eyes, and she drools and blows bubble in delight. I stare at the simplicity that is the gift of life and revel in the mountains sheltering us, the crickets serenading us, the friends picnicking with us, and the desires of my heart coming true.
Tomorrow morning I will wake up and begin to process how I am going to bring in a full-time income without teaching. Perhaps I will grieve a bit the rending of a career that I passionately loved. I was changed by the blessing of mentors, coworkers and students alike who spoke into my life, prayed for my family, and taught me to love middle school humor. I am walking into this next season with a grateful heart for everything that FCA has meant to me.
In the coming days, I will write more. Explain how David and I decided to take until Christmas of this year to see whether or not I can make a sufficient income as a birth doula (SOOOOO much more on this topic to come). Discuss dreams of working from home, as I play with my daughter and watch the leaves change colors.
This life decision is a reflection of my heart and a product of the processing David and I have been doing even prior to the situation with my contract. We’ve been dreaming about our family’s future and writing down our family’s core values. We had no idea that we would need to put into our practice our ponderings so soon.
Yet, I love the changing of the seasons – both in my heart and in trees around me. I revel in the days leading up to momentous holidays and enjoy the simple things like Pumpkin Spice lattes that characterize the Autumn months. It is with this same childlike wonder and delight that I’m looking forward to watching God open doors in the birth community as I pursue my dream of being a doula, while bringing rest to my heart. He is more than able.
Abby opens her mouth wide for the homemade cinnamon applesauce that her Daddy made her. She is strapped into the jogging stroller, staring in wonder at the dignified trees sheltering our picnic table. Fussing, she wants more and more, faster and faster. Applesauce dribbles down her chin. My daughter’s patience seems to match my own. She coos. I coach. She flaps her arms. I respond with a full spoon. We find contentment in an emptied food jar, a full belly, and a sticky bib. We find joy.
I’m continually amazed at how quickly Abby is changing, learning to undulate her voice, rolling over, responding with such dramatic emotions. I’m taking less pictures, but making more memories. I’m blogging less, but doing more thinking. It’s a season of soul stillness as striving ceases, and I find healing in the company of my family and the challenge of a new career as a doula.
Below are a couple of photos to remind me later of how “little” five months appears when she is six, seven, eight…years old. Already time is flying by, enveloping each day with a sense of preciousness. A sense of wonder. A sense of sadness. This is motherhood. This is a new part of me. And one final memory…