Life at the Blue House

They Gave a Backbone to Happiness // words for our 7th Anniversary

Our garden tells the story. Our bright yellow shed. The way we approach each new spring. How we laugh together.

It’s been seven years of marriage.

We wear our ugly crocs and go out in the garden in the evening after our children go to bed. He waters. I trim roses. We admire our tiny bursting sunflowers every day. In awe at how they’ve grown.

We walk on the garden path of stones, almost completed. I pick up our little boy’s toys all over the garden. Our two plastic hand-me-down chairs sit side by side tilted on the grassy hillside. We make plans for the rose bed. Note the new growth on our daughter’s rose bush. It’s a story we’re living in exploding color.

And I celebrate seven years with the poem I wrote for Hope Gives a Eulogy. Because this story which the garden tells and our laughter accompanies, began years ago when in our earlier youth we stumbled through the graveyard, harsh reality nipping at our heels.

From the grave the garden grew and our love deeper with it.

Backbone

Happy people live here.

Bright yellow, light blue,

Big parties, belly laughter,

And year-round Christmas lights.

Happy people live here

Even after the music box

Abruptly changed its tune.

Happy people live here.

Making up magic and merriness,

Composing a new anthem

For easily missed things

Too big to fit in a box.

Happy people, the happiest

They gave a backbone to 

Happiness.

While harsh realities nipped at our heels we cultivated life with our fingertips. Side by side. Until the bright yellow on the walls became the bright yellow in our laughter and the music box got swallowed by the music of a garden that keeps on growing.

We pass through the garden gate made of splintered scraps of wood, and close it for the night. We walk by the sunflowers, step into our home, children sleeping soundly.

Indeed, it has been happy.

A grave. A garden. A dying, living, growing thing.

Indeed, it is us wrapped in seven years of love.

A story hard-won.

motherhood

It Was You The Whole Time

It was you the whole time.

Before I knew I was pregnant. When two lines showed up even though that second one was faint. When I texted our midwife with the happy news even though it was early.

But see,

I’ve learned there’s no such thing as “early.”

Just you!

You the whole time.

And when you were smaller than you “should” have been, it was you fully there. You the whole time. Your strong heartbeat the best sound in your mother’s world.

You.

You.

You.

The whole time.

There was a night I thought I might be losing you. I was scared out of my mind. Desperate, “I WANT THIS BABY!”

And that baby was you.

You the whole time.

And praise God, you were well! Strong. And all of you there, here with me, the whole time.

Conception. Week 7. Week 13. Week 20. Week 35. Last of summer, all of fall and winter, early spring, 39 Weeks, 5 Days. . .

it was you the whole time.

And now I get to hold you in my arms, see your face, treasure every bigger-than-life smile, calm your cries, run my thumb gentle across your forehead. There is wonder in finally holding the reality of you after carrying you for so long. You who has been you the whole time. Since before I knew! Since before I saw. Before I heard. Before I felt. Before I held.

It’s just always been you.

You!

Growing.

Living.

Being.

Heidi.

The whole time.

You.

No such thing as early. Just wonderful, radiant, miraculous you.

You the whole time.

Hi there, I’m your mom.

And don’t you worry,

I’ve been here the whole time, too.

motherhood

Mommy Is Human But Here (and other postpartum reflections)

Hey kids,

I’m crying in the kitchen, but I love you. And I still want you in my life!

Hey kids,

I want to enjoy mothering, but I feel like a machine.

Yes, I want to enjoy mothering, but I feel like a machine.

both kids near, postpartum April 2022

And I want to go outside with you, but I don’t know how to get us all there.

Hey kids,

You are gold, but the treasure of you feels like weight. . .breathtaking, chest-constricting. Mommy’s still learning how to hold you.

And I love that you’re in my life, but sometimes I can’t see the life inside my days. Don’t worry, mommy has Hope, is asking God for help. He always gives it.

Hey kids,

I want to play with you in the water, but mommy is still trying to get out of the deep end. And Mommy hasn’t forgotten how to play. It just takes time for water to be playful again.

And I’ll keep the music going. Mommy can’t wait to dance with you, but she’s healing. And that’s no waltz. But soon. She still remembers the steps.

Hey kids,

I love you.

And Mommy is human, but I’m here no matter what.

Yes!

I am here!

No matter how long it takes for me to laugh in the kitchen instead of cry. Or for the machinery to stop humming while we break free in the great outdoors beneath the sun. No matter how hard it is to hold the weight of gold, or notice the life of life, or come back to shore and splash in the water, and dance to the steps you’ve made up for me.

No matter what.

No matter how long.

I’m here.

I’m here.

I’m human. But I’m here.

And God is here with me.

So, we’re going to be okay.

And pretty soon,

we’re going to be great.

Hey kids,

I can’t wait.

Speaking of which. Did you feel that lovely garden breeze? Me too.

It won’t be long now.

All my love and forever here,

Mommy

motherhood

Should You Become a Mother

to the mothers now and those who will be. . .

Should you become a mother, yes you can give birth in happiness, with celebration though a generation asks why would you ever bring a child into this world? And you look at the world you’re living in with a broken heart while your whole heart beats with hope and love and joy for this child.

And so should you become a mother, the child in question was never a question for you.

Or for God.

(And aren’t you glad the mothers before us did not heed that age-old question? For here we are. Thank you, Mom. Thank you, God.)

Should you become a mother, yes you can breathe with your heart outside your body. Yes, you can sleep without fear for their breathing. Yes, you can hold little hands and be held like a child too. God is with you. God is with you!

Should you become a mother, yes you can be taken up with wonder while tangled in exhaustion and lists. Yes, you can laugh with your child while the world falls apart and wars rage and dark alleys exist. Yes, you can turn the music loud and live in the song of goodness through tears, with grief.

Should you become a mother, yes you can let go and truly enjoy your kids growing up. Even if it feels too fast. No overwhelming burden of “only this little once,” only this, only that,” and all the onlys you can think of. Exhale! Because should you become a mother, you are their mother for life. Take it one brilliantly fast, wonderful, hard season at a time. And let it take you! All your love. All your life. A mother forever. So let them grow. And love the days that feel like years, the years that feel like seconds. You’ll lose. And win. All at once.

Should you become a mother, yes, you will be in the thick of it, stretched thin, feeling like you’re disappearing into thin air. But the magic is you reappear over and over as your child laughs, falls asleep safe and peaceful in your arms, talks to you without end, explores the world in wonder, little arms tight around your neck. And you’ll remember that, magic aside, you can ask God for strength. Of which you will receive. And thin air becomes fresh air as you become more mother, more child. More of both at once.

Should you become a mother, yes, you can hide under God’s wings as you run through fields with pervasive weeds and poisonous snakes, showing your children where all the wildflowers are, where goodness and beauty dwell, where feet are safe to go, where laugher overflows, where green pastures and still waters always outrun the valley of the shadow of death.

Should you become a mother, yes, you will forever be becoming. So, let your guard down and grow tall into your motherhood needy as God’s child.

This is a love story two-fold.

Mother of your child.

Mother, child of God.

You are safe to be as you become.

What a love story.

So, may you and us all, go forth breathing, laughing, enjoying, reappearing, asking, leading, singing, sleeping, resting, being, belonging, becoming.

And may our children see us as children of God. And how wonderful it is to belong to Him as we be and become.

Enough talking.

There are wildflowers in these fields to pick. Life to gather. A love story to live.

Let us go!

a mother like you,

S.V.F.