It's Christmas Eve, and I have a quiet house.
There's a chicken roasting in the oven, and cranberry sauce bubbling red like wine on the stove, and when I look over to my right there's the tiniest baby snuggled up in her new Christmas outfit, struggling mightily to stay asleep under the soft glow of the Christmas tree.
She came 3 weeks early, our little Ellie Rose. I'm not entirely surprised - I was 4 weeks early leaving the womb, and Price was 2. We're hurry up and wait kind of people, and my whole pregnancy was marked with unrelenting anticipation of the next phase.
And I've found myself trapped in the same pattern these past 2 weeks. As in, researching how quickly we can establish a sleep schedule, and how long it will be until these every-3-hour-feedings space further and further apart.
I've been trying to figure it out, it seems, when my life will return to normal.
But life with Ellie Rose isn't normal. It's disruptive on the biggest scale. I'll never get used to the late night and early morning disruptions of my circadian rhythm. I may never get used to staring at her apple cheeks and her little turned-up nose and her perfect ears, and I certainly may never register that she's ours, made of our flesh and bone - that she grew inside me for just over 9 months and that somehow just over a week ago we didn't know that she specifically existed, that this surprise baby inside me was indeed a girl - "we got our girl," I exclaimed with tears streaming down my face as Price held my hand and the OB held her up over my numb knees to reveal our Ellen Rose.
What I know is this, in my sleep-deprived and newborn haze, now that the (praise the Lord for) percocet has worn off but I still can't quite articulate the magic and mystery of what is happening in my heart and mind with every hour that passes so fast and so slow, is that I promise to try to wait better, to slow down, to stare and to wonder, to pray and to praise. I have to fight my own instinct to hurry up, because these sweet and silly and stressful moments are perfect just the way they are.
Really waiting means letting things go - it means letting my mom take the midnight shift, and the 2 AM shift, and the 6 AM shift, because she wants to. It means not rushing back to my old life, but rather waiting in sweet anticipation of the new. It means not dreading the impending feeding as the clock ticks down, but rather looking forward to the hour of precious quiet time it will give me with my sweet girl. It means slowing down. It means to quiet the endless cycle of anxiety in my mind, it means stopping the endless and obsessive research, and it means trusting the Lord to take care of me and Price and sweet Ellie Rose all the days of our lives.
And perhaps this Christmas Eve, the end of a long Advent season of anticipation for us and for all mankind, it can remind me that even though there is so much joy and life to be sucked out of our days here, there is much to be said for quietly waiting, for rejoicing in the long-ago arrival of another sweet babe, and for the promise of a end to our wait for his kingdom to come. For taking time to reflect and to wonder, to pray and to praise, to sit in the quiet presence of our Creator and just wait.
Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.
The ultimate hope for the ultimate wait.
Merry Christmas, dear friends.