When I was 27 years old and expecting my first child, (Yes I know, shocking isn’t it? I was LDS then, too, although judging by the sounds emitting from my mother-in-law and various neighbors, I could barely claim that. First child at age 27? Ye Gads and Little Tater-Tots! I was nigh unto pre-pre-pre-pre-menopausal. How could this be my first child?) Where was I? Oh yes. When I was 27 years old and expecting my first child, no one could have told me, engaged as I was in the wonder of it all, that a mere 29 weeks later I would be grabbing my doctor by his Hippocratic Oath and telling him to get that kid out of me now!
I’m telling you this because a few months ago, which was roughly 18 years after my OB/GYN performed the fastest baby delivery of his entire career, I found myself thinking very nearly the same thing about the same child. Only this time the sentiment was directed at my husband, and it was more along the lines of me grabbing him by the Proclamation on the Family and saying, “Get that kid out of here and on her own now!” Don’t get me wrong. I love this child. She is a marvelous person. Living with her has been a delight. She is intelligent, witty, incisive, loving, fabulous with her siblings, and is quite frankly the only one who is able to get my 7-year-old to sit through sacrament meeting without his tongue flapping on every passing breeze.
However, this child has also reached a point where she has outgrown housework, knows how to raise kids better than I could ever hope to, and has perfected a withering glare designed to render all of my reasons and rules impotent. In short, after 18 years my child has outgrown me, and it is time for her to move on. What’s more, what was once a charming, flutter-kicking relationship inside the safety of my literal and proverbial womb has now become something that needs to be ejected so it can find its own way and become its own person. And I’m happy to pay for that. Both times.
This, I’m starting to think, is how God works. He does all sorts of clever things to get us to move ahead in life when we would be very happy to dig into the cushions, wrap up in our sage-green leopard print Snuggie (not saying I have one) with a hot chocolate in one hand and a good book in the other, and stay just where we are, thank you very much. I mean, think about it: nothing on this planet could get any sane woman to, not just go through labor, but practically sign up for it, except the sweet little lima bean inside of her becoming a ginormous, aerobicizing, bladder stomping, Rolaids-addiction-inducing, body-aching, vein-inflaming, nose-widening behemoth. Once that happens, you’d go through a double root canal with no anesthesia to have that kid out. And you’d be better for it.
So I’m thinking that there’s something to be learned here. When life gets uncomfortable, difficult, or downright slap-me-with-a-tuna-can-awful, maybe I’m on the cusp of something better. Maybe if I hang on and forge ahead, instead of fighting like the dickens to get out of it, I’ll get through the challenging bits and find something deeper and better on the other side. Judging by past experience, I’m pretty sure that if I take the time to look around me at what’s going on, and peer ahead with acceptance at what I’m moving toward, fewer tuna cans will be harmed in the making of my personal life movie. That seems like a good thing.
Well, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to pack my daughter’s bags and set them by the front door. She’ll be standing there carving tick-marks into the wall by the porch light. We’ll get our purses and head out to dinner and a bookstore together. I’ve got plenty of change in my wallet.