I am finally announcing that we are expecting baby!
Most of you probably already know at this point, but it's always fun to make exciting announcements :) We are going to try as best as possible, and despite many predictions, to wait until birth to find out if baby is a boy or girl.
Edwin and I are very excited! Of course for me the excitement comes with the (I'm assuming) usual pre-baby ups and downs- all the questions, thoughts and some worries. But, I do remind myself that baby is in God's hands and that is a beautiful thing and the safest place for him (or her) to be.
Reality has begun to sink in a bit more, as baby grows and my belly has started to grow a little more. What an amazing, beautiful, and down-right scary thing it is to have a living being growing inside of you! I'm sure all new mothers have these mixed feelings. Sometimes I wonder how God can be so trusting of us, as to allow us to care for one of His creations. But, then again, God does not leave us alone and our children are not just our possessions to care for. This is quite relieving to me. Of course I want to be a good mom and I want the best for my children. But, I also must grapple with the fact that I will not be the perfect mother and mistakes will be made. All in all, it is more evident to me that our children are gifts. Gifts presented to us to care for and bring up; but we must also allow them to live life. Always have an open home, an open heart, an open ear (and of course the necessary parental advice!), but allow them to find their path. Afterall, my parents did this for me, and I am forever grateful for that.
What a balancing act that is! I imagine parents for all centuries have struggled with those desires- wanting the best for their children, wanting to do things for them, but also wanting them to grow into their full person, figure things out for themselves and have that independence. We all have memories or can think of examples of things in our childhood that have scarred us for life, or had effect on how we are today. These fears can be paralyzing if we let them, and can hold us back! Despite the many fears and questions, I see that this is exactly how our Father grows us! It is exactly the questions and fears that can also motivate us to go out there and face them, and give our best shot!
This does not mean being completely unprepared, but in my book mostly means picking up your armor of love! After seeing so many of my beautiful friends become spouses and parents, and many families growing up throughout life, I have come to the conclusion that the happiest are those with love. By love, I not only refer to the snuggly feelings that you get cuddling with your favorite animal or husband! But, the love that is worked out in the trials and hardships of life; the love that shows your family that you stick together no matter what; and the love that is determined to make things work. This is the spirit of 'be not afraid' that I would like to have the courage to take up for our family.
I just read an article and watched a little video where Pope Francis spoke to the youth telling them to have the courage to get married and have children! (of course that is, if you do not have a vocation elsewhere!) Yes, that is what it takes- take heart and have courage!
In response to one mother who expressed concern that her son was 30, had a girlfriend but did not want to get married, the Pope said 'stop ironing his shirts for him'! I love it! But it is true. I thought about how we can 'love' our children so much, that it can smother them and keep them from growing. However, we can also be people afraid to give up our known freedoms and familiar worlds. God asks us to take time to prayerfully consider and ponder these large steps in life, but there is usually also a time He calls us to jump in, and to do so joyfully and purposefully! (if you are interested, the video and article link is below)
I'm sure I will have more thoughts to share as we near the beginning of March. But I pray for all those around my age who are faced with their vocation choices- marriage, career, priesthood/religious life. Whatever it may be, it can be a challenging time. But, these passageways are necessary for our growth as human beings, on our often rough journey in this world. Don't forget, our journey is to lead us to holiness, to teach us humbly about ourselves and about our Lord... and to lead us to Heaven to eternal happiness. And He is with us each step of the way!