Savor the Circus

Third trimester pregnancy insomnia. I woke up this morning at 4:45 to go to the bathroom and after hearing Logan stir in her crib, couldn’t fall back to sleep. An hour later, still laying in bed awake, I decided to get up. I came out in the living room to catch-up on some blog reading or online shopping, things I rarely get the time to do during the day, but I grabbed one of my bedside table books on my way out of bed.

I told myself to read one chapter from Grace Not Perfection before I started any mindless activities. I’ve been slowly working my way through the book for probably 7 months or so, and rarely make the time to read it. The chapter I opened to was entitled Savor the Circus. It didn’t take but two pages into the chapter for the tears to start falling from my eyes.

These past few months have felt like a circus to say the least, and not always a fun one. We’re pregnant with our third child, another sweet girl. And while this pregnancy has been flying by, without troubles for the most part, I feel the constant need to stop and savor these moments of growing a baby inside me, as she will probably be our last.

We had four and a half years with our Riley before having our second baby, Logan. Riley had the best childhood ever. She is the nicest, sweetest little girl. She was the first grandchild on my side of the family, getting lots of attention and adoration. She got to go to Disney World when she was two years old. Our whole world revolved around her for years and life was good.

She was so excited when Logan came along. She had been asking for a baby brother or sister and turned into a proud, protective sister as soon as Logan was born. Logan is a different breed of child than Riley though. She is one tough cookie. She is determined and stubborn and thinks she runs the show at only 2 feet tall. Riley, the sweet kid she is, never gets frustrated with her, always wants to give her whatever she wants, even if she’s in the middle of playing with it, eating it, or drinking it. She will never admit that Logan is a pain and hates when her dad or I scold her for being bad.

Logan is at that tough age of knowing exactly what she wants, but doesn’t have all the words to communicate that to us. She went through the worst phase of teething I’ve ever witnessed from one year to about 16 months. There were weeks where I truly didn’t even recognize this miserable and evil child that would not sleep and was always in a bad mood. She has always had a close bond with my husband, something I know I will be grateful for in a few weeks when I have another baby to tend to. However, lately, this bond has really been hurting me, and many days, brings me to tears.

She runs to Dave when she gets hurt instead of me. She screams when he leaves for work or a meeting. She cowers away from me in her crib if I’m the one to go get her after a nap. I’m her mom! I carried her in my womb for nine months. I nursed her and kept her alive for 10 months! I only want to love and kiss and take care of her. In only the 8 weeks I have left with her as my only baby, she seems to be punishing me for being pregnant, or for just not being her dad, and it’s been killing me.

In these moments, Dave and I have really struggled with our patience and grace with each other and the girls. Dave is tired from having Logan constantly climb all over him. I know he feels bad that I’m getting the shaft and feeling pain from Logan’s rejection. Parts of me give in when he’s around and I just leave the two of them alone, but other times I just want him to leave so she and I can bond without him around. I never want Dave to leave. We already do not spend enough time together. But there is definitely a wedge between us with this ongoing Logan battle.

And in the background, there’s my guilt about Riley. She’s watching all of this. She loves her sister more than anything. But when tensions are high, it’s hard for us to hear her stories about school, or take joy in her singing and dancing craziness before bedtime. We’re done. We’re spent. And as soon as both girls are in bed, Dave and I are not far behind. We spend a few minutes talking about work or plans for the rest of the week before falling fast asleep around 8:45.

I’ve also been in a state of limbo with work for going on 4 years now. I’ve had one foot in my design business- working for clients, blogging, creating an online course, and attempting e-design. All endeavors that I have loved, but have not supplied the income I had hoped for. I’ve had my other foot in part-time teaching, and now have an opportunity to go back full-time this coming school year. Teaching, a very practical job that I’m apparently good at and can certainly live off of, but have never been super passionate about. I’ve been trying so hard to figure out ways I can make it work financially this coming year without going back to teaching. With two young babes at home, God only knows how much sleep I’ll be getting, and the thought of getting up early and to school at normal time (I don’t have to be in until 11 with my part-time gig), makes me dizzy at the thought. Will I just be trading money and benefits for my sanity? Emily Ley in the book Grace Not Perfection says:

“We’re all after the elusive state of balance in our lives, whatever that is. But I have news for all of us- no one has ever really achieved it!”

On top of all of this, we live in a world full of comparison. In the business that I’m in, I’m constantly looking on Pinterest for interior design inspiration and following designers and mamas on Instagram only to be misled in the neatness and perfection of their lives. Their kids are not always cute. Their homes are not always clean. But those pictures are in front of us all the time. Look how pretty her living room is! I wish our kitchen looked like that. How come she gets all these free baby clothes and products when she’s rich? We’re poor and I want them!

It’s an ugly side of ourselves that comes out when we covet. Where is the gratefulness? Where is the grace? Where is the contentment? It’s confusing to the mind, these conflicting desires: To live in the moment and savor the circus. To remember the times when Logan does snuggle into my neck and fall asleep. To laugh with Riley and her vivid imagination and watch as she learns to read and add and subtract right before my very eyes! But also having these earthly desires for a finished home, a vacation to someplace warm with perfectly photographed family pictures, a facade of having it “all together.” How do we do both? How do we do it all?

What I’m learning is that you can’t. There’s a level of acceptance we need to have in where our life is at this very moment. We can only do so much. We can only try so hard. And at the end of the day, not only is it enough, but it HAS to be enough. Put your head on your pillow knowing that whatever went wrong that day, you did a good job. You did your best. And let God handle the rest.

Sometimes I feel like the little boy in the Bible who brings his lunch of bread and fish to Jesus. I don’t have much. Sometimes it feels like I don’t have anything. But whatever I have, giving it to Jesus means it will be multiplied in ways I could never imagine. Yesterday, our pastor gave a message about praying big prayers and asking with confidence that God will answer. Dave and I both prayed for our circumstances right now with work and our state of limbo. Between that and reaching out to some close friends over the weekend to pray for my difficulties with Logan, we actually had a happy and restful weekend.

I don’t know if any of you can relate to these feelings I’ve mentioned in this post, but if you find yourself struggling this week, I just want to encourage you to reach out to some close friends and ask for help. Allow your community to help get you through it. And ask some big prayers from God. And wait expectantly that he will answer them. And remember that this is just a season, filled with good things in addition to the struggle and growth. Here’s to a calm and easy week ahead!

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