Two hours later, I was once again awakened by the intense smell of cologne I have become addicted to. This time, I opened my eyes to a handsome Director of Operations, all showered, dressed up, and energized for work. I kissed him once again, this time wrapping my arms around his neck for the longer embrace he requires each morning. He read somewhere that men who passionately kiss their wives in the morning live longer; a fact apparently so appealing it causes him to be undeterred by my morning breath.
I’m never quite ready to get up right after he leaves. I usually lay back down in a complete love struck daze and thank God for the beautiful relationship we have. I continue meditating with a grateful heart until one of the kids barges into the room announcing their starvation and begging for a snack no matter how many times I’ve instructed them to knock first. Today it was Zia.
I make a huge deal out of my babies in the morning. I thank them for waking up in my house. I squeeze them and thank God out loud for giving them to me, and letting me be their mommy, and keeping them safe overnight like we prayed the night before. I lift them up off the ground, spin them and kiss them until their face can’t take it any more, then I kiss their necks and shoulders and belly. I look them in the eye and tell them I love them, I’m proud of them, and they’re beautiful or cool. Every. Single. Morning. Sometimes I do it right away; other times I do it right after I scold them for forgetting to knock or for getting up too early. Still, we celebrate big every morning and they know I’m crazy about them.
After drenching Zia in my love, I released her to prepare a snack for herself while I showered. When I got out of the shower, there were not one, but two little Walters children waiting on my bed. More little people meant more hugs and kisses. As much as I was enjoying the love fest with my two loves, in the back of my mind all I could think about was the baby inside of me.
A month ago, after a year and a half of debating, my husband and I decided we would take the plunge and go for number four. It took a lot of prayer and courage for me to welcome a pregnancy just one year after losing my mom, but I was certain this baby needed to happen. However, less than a week ago at my birthday dinner, something wasn’t right when I went to the bathroom. During an ultrasound at the Emergency Room the next morning, I saw my sac and the little dot that was the baby six weeks along. The ER doctor sent me home with the hope of a miracle, but the facts of a miscarriage. My OBGYN was set to see me on Wednesday. That was the longest weekend of my life. On Wednesday, I went in for my ultrasound. As soon as the image appeared, I knew the baby was gone. There was no dot, no sac, it was all static. I didn’t need the doctor to say a word because I already knew. She said my miscarriage was completed. There was nothing else I needed to do. She gave me her condolences and I held my breath until she exited the room with her nurse, then I fell into my husband’s arms and burst into tears. This was a loss I wasn’t prepared to handle. I pulled myself together as best I could and went to the lab to have my blood drawn so they could do a final count. They would email me the results.
Now, just a couple of days later while embracing my children, all I could think about were those results. I had seen the ultrasound, but I was hoping my blood work would tell a different story and the baby would miraculously still be there. I picked up the phone and checked my email. I had a message from my doctor with the test results that confirmed what I already knew, but still hoped would be different. Isn’t it funny how irrational hope can be? Instantly, I was enveloped in a cloud of more questions than answers. Since Wednesday, I’d had my good cry, my alone time, my girlfriend time, my Daddy time, my husband time, even my retail therapy. I had been doing ok. But this email knocked me back to square one. In the fog, I stood up from my bed, walked into the kitchen and made breakfast.
Like a pre-programmed robot, I reached right into my pantry and grabbed the bag of pancake mix. I pulled out the jar of syrup beside it and carried them both back to the counter. I pushed the power button on my Keurig and noticed my coffee mug was the one thing that didn’t fit in the dishwasher last night. It was right next to the dirty griddle and high chair tray. I washed the three dishes and rinsed them as I watched the rain start to drizzle outside the kitchen window. I wished I could go stand in the backyard, face to the sky, and with arms open wide let the rain wash my grief away. But I just grabbed a towel and dried the griddle, hunted down my favorite spatula and used my foot to open the bottom drawer where I could fetch a mixing bowl. I walked back into my room to kiss the kids again and cast a YouTube video for them while they patiently waited for their pancakes. Alexander Graham Bell is who they asked to learn about today.
On my way back to the counter, I stopped by the table to quickly text the update to my Pastor’s wife, the beautiful woman who had been faithfully walking this journey with me in spite of her own health battles. I also remembered my friend with the upcoming party; I needed to know what her daughter wanted for her birthday in case I went to the store later today. And then there was the girlfriend who texted me yesterday to invite me to a belated birthday dinner this weekend and I hadn’t responded to yet. After all the texting, I just wanted to sit and stare at the rain. But the butter was getting soft on the counter and the kids’ video was half way through. So, I got up. I rose from my seat and walked to the counter, and plugged in the griddle, and poured mix into the bowl, and got a big spoon, and a glass of water. And the tears poured from my eyes as the water poured into the bowl. I thought about God and faith and promises. I missed my mom and wished she were here for me. I reflected deeply on my intentions. I examined my heart. I searched my soul. Yet, as I stirred the batter, I recognized something amazing: a glimpse of a woman’s God-given strength.
How true that His power is made perfect in our weakness! I’ve sung before thousands of people over the course of my life. I’ve spoken before large audiences. I’ve planned expensive parties for high-profile clients. I’ve had my fair share of magazine and television features. Still, I’ve never felt as challenged or as strong as I have while making breakfast. It is in those moments of simplicity that I can hear God’s voice calling out to me, “My daughter, my grace is sufficient for you.” Those moments when I’d rather do anything but what’s at hand have been the very moments that have solidified my faith. He treasures our faithfulness in the ordinary things, just as much as he values our obedience in the things that seem important to our culture.
A friend recently asked me how to pray for our family. I told her to pray for strength and peace because sometimes the worst part of a trial is that life goes on after. I wish I could sleep in and sulk, or escape to the beach for a few days, but that’s not my reality. My reality is that three little tummies wake up growling regardless of what’s going on in my grown-up world.
So I drizzled the batter into those six little circles and waited for the bubbles. Meanwhile, I accepted that I’m not in total control of my life. I settled in my heart that I trust the one who is. After all, the only way the enemy wins is if he can get me to stop believing. As I flipped the pancakes over, I turned my attitude from despair to trust. Life goes on and I must keep moving forward because God’s purpose for me stretches beyond this loss. Healing will take time, but with the promise in my heart that He is working everything out for my good, I’ll continue to work on surrendering in full trust to Him regarding both the ordinary and the seemingly important.