About a year ago Tim and I were travelling through the New South Wales countryside wondering what the heck had happened to our lives. We had two kids, a toddler and a baby. And while I'd always wanted to be a mum, I missed the adult conversation, mental stimulation and positive feedback of the academic life. Tim missed having a wife who had interesting dinner (and travel!) conversation. You may have read here that I drew hope from the trees and their seasonal life and started to formulate a quilt to express my reflections.
Around the same time, I was reading Maureen's story. At the other end of the 'small children' season to me, and on the other side of the world, she was processing difficult news about her health at the same time as sending her youngest off to school. I was discouraged that this season felt so long, she was grieving that it was over so fast. And her story, a reminder of how much a mother's life changes over and over, connected deeply with me.
So I decided to make that quilt for her, stitching away, praying it would be a blessing, terrified of sending my work to someone I admired so, pushing back the voice the told me not to bother. I don't write this to 'big note' myself. I write it because pushing that voice back felt like the main thing I was doing through it all. So when Maureen wrote to me recently and this amazing quilt arrived in the mail and she told me how much it had meant to her, and how perfect the timing had been (it arrived the day she dropped her daughter off at school!), I felt like that little boy, so long ago, who had given his fish and bread to a master chef, and it was used to give a feast to a crowd.
This beautiful quilt, with the lady that looks like she's waiting for something, and the butterflies fluttering off in freedom, also came right on time for me. Tim and I had found out a couple of months earlier that we were to be officially outnumbered. I have been excited, but if I'm honest, mostly I've been terrified. It feels so ungrateful to say so after losing a little one earlier this year. I'm sure it's partly been hormonal, and partly the result of morning sickness, but also a big old part of me is just scared to go back to that time where I'm constantly tired, working to someone else's rhythm and no longer have life in my control. We'd just hit the stage where Tully could pour milk, butter bread and work the computer. Were we crazy??
Yes, I'd say we are, but Maureen's note encouraged me to remember that I don't have to have full brain capacity or energy levels to love people, be inspired, or grow or enjoy the sunshine and the new leaves budding in our yard as I write.
Thank you Maureen!
Thank you Maureen!
And then today, seeing that tiny heartbeat, knowing it was made to be loved, loved by me! I could feel those fears start to fade. I know there's a crazy, noisy, experiencing too much 2am, road ahead. But I also hope that 3rd time around, I've learned a little patience and grace to remember that my turn for sleep and ease will come in time, and this precious gift will be a wonderful reward.