Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Jen

'Tis the season of thankfulness. All month, I’ve read the many things my friends have given thanks for each day, and contemplated my own state of gratitude.

This year, I’m thankful for something rather odd, something I never thought I’d ever admit to being, much less thankful for. Take note, mark it on your calendar, burn it into memory, because it’s that unlikely an admission and you won't see it again v. I’m sure Mr. Hat will be hauling this out for years to come. Ready?

I’m thankful that I WAS WRONG.

Better said, God was right. As always.

It isn’t the first time He’s taken my well-laid plans and altered them. By “altered” I mean laid waste to, annihilated, completely obliterated. I never get that “still, small voice,” but rather the 2'x4' upside the head. Hard.

And back in March, that two by four was shrunk to one little stick 6"x1” – a little white stick one pees on. 

After 17 years of fertility treatments and sheer negligence that produced nothing, one doesn’t expect it to say “pregnant.”  I gave up any hope of seeing that result 12 years ago and happily adopted to complete my family. My family was made complete six years ago, with the adoption of our son. All three kids were finally in school all day.  Everyone could carry their own gear, zip their own coats, feed themselves, pick up after themselves (even if it does take lots of badgering). We could go out without having to hire a babysitter or take kids with us. It was a brave, new, wonderful stage of life – and we loved it.

So, I wasn’t at all happy to see that word. Nope. I cried – and it wasn’t tears of joy. I ranted. I contemplated jumping from the roof. I swore a blue streak – a few blue streaks. I cried some more. I panicked a lot. Why now, after all those years we would have welcomed this news but went without? Suddenly, I identified with a whole new side of Sarah, beyond the years of ache.

So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” Gen 18:12

And so began eight months of denial, discomfort, health complications, tears – and a good deal of laughter. It really was just so ridiculous at my age, when menopause was more likely than pregnancy. My oldest was beginning her senior year; surely one shouldn’t be shopping for colleges and layettes at the same time. I felt like I was the amusement in God’s sense of humor.

Then, as suddenly and surprisingly as it began, it ended in an emergency c-section a few weeks early.

They handed me this unbelievably tiny little thing, with a nose the size of my fingertip and a mouth equally small. His cry, when he cried, was also tiny, much like a slow leak in a helium balloon. He looked at me with these steel blue eyes, pursed his little lips into this adorable little “o” the size of a Cheerio – and suddenly it was all OK. More than OK.

It was perfect. And wonderful.

I confess I spend a good portion of each day just staring at him, loving him so much it hurts, overwhelmed with the feeling of unbelievable gratitude to have him. Sure, I knew in my head that when he got here, it’d all be fine and I would be glad. But I find I underestimated just how thankful I would be. Sleepless nights, being covered in spit up, changing countless dirty diapers aren’t dimming the wonderfulness in the least.

I should have known that having my plans thwarted would be this wonderful. I've been here before. In being deprived of the ability to conceive, I was moved to adoption, a thing I’m so privileged to be a part of. I’ve known for years I’d have been robbed of something so awesomely marvelous if I’d have had the biological kids I’d planned on. There it is again – my plan, exchanged for something better.

So this season of Thanksgiving, I’m tremendously thankful: for miracles, survival, sanity, coos, a sacrificial spouse, a six year old who adores being a brother, a rosebud mouth and tiny fingers, supportive friends, thwarted plans, a God who knows me and my needs so much better than I do...

...for being wrong.


  1. Drat it, I'm crying. So happy for you!

  2. OH, JEN! How beautiful! Congratulations! And...isn't our God wonderful?