Thursday, August 14, 2014

Walking into a new season – together

Jaclyn and I used to meet at the park between finishing work and cooking dinner and walk laps. She told me about her day in an elementary school classroom and I shared stories from the small-town newsroom.

We talked about marriage and careers. We reminisced about our college days at the beginning of our friendship. We made plans and dreamed of what would come next.

And then neither of us got what we wanted next when we thought we wanted it.

Both of us, her first and then me, we wanted to be moms. Charting temperatures, having countless vials of blood drawn, going to more doctor’s appointments, keeping a calendar on paper although we knew it so well in our heads, and crying out to God dominated our conversations for what seemed like a long time.

She had a miscarriage not long after she first saw a positive pregnancy test. With one tube, she went on to birth three healthy babies in five years. Meanwhile, I never got good news from a pregnancy test, but adoption made a mom – twice in less than three years.

Together, we have five kids in five years.

And for the first time since we became mommas, they all went to school on Wednesday. Her first two and my oldest are all about a year apart, but then there’s 19-month gap before the next two, who are almost exactly nine months apart. So we don’t have a kindergartner between us this year, but we do have third-grade, second-grade, first-grade, and two different preschool classes covered.

I texted her Tuesday night: “Do you want to walk tomorrow morning WITH NO KIDS?”

Her response: “YES!”

We’ve spent some time as adult friends while our husbands or some other childcare provider had our kids, but it’s not regular. We mostly do life with these five in five years – or more recently some smaller combination of them – tagging along. We’ve pushed single and double strollers and figured out what to do with our kids who were too big for strollers while we walked. We’ve picked up toys our kids dropped while trying to share {or steal!} from each other. Those same kids have shared fruit snacks, claimed Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star as their song, and ended up in each other’s strollers.

That’s fine and good – and, really, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This is what we longed for. 

Seeing these kids who don’t know life apart from each other is the best testimony to God’s faithfulness. He heard the desires of our hearts. But walking our laps at the park Wednesday morning reminded me of just how far we’ve come.

Yes, we’re mommas now, but we’re also not the same people who walked and talked a decade ago.

We’ve experienced joy and pain in ways we never expected. We’ve settled into a community here that we weren’t sure we’d ever have. We’ve quit jobs and taken on new ones. We’ve changed more diapers than I’d ever care to count, swapped kids to help each other, and gathered around each other’s tables and in each other’s mini vans.

This is our life. And here we are in a whole new season – together.

Linking up with Lyli Dunbar's Thought-Provoking Thursday.

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