It has been a hard five months for our little family. Nothing cataclysmic, just many small stressors piled one on top of another. A trip to Haiti (more on that some day. I’ve tried writing about my experiences and it comes out sounding whiny and depressing. So I’m tucking it away and trusting that God will make sense of it in time). A ridiculously busy, stressful summer. Sickness. Some health challenges. General, run-of-the-mill relationship frustrations. None of it huge, but together they have been exhausting.
Oh, and I’m pregnant. With a girl!
I found out I was expecting about two weeks before leaving for Haiti. I spent the summer battling constant nausea while chasing a one year old. Good Times! We really are super excited – despite the rough start. I know the immense blessing and miracle this new little life is.
But I am also completely overwhelmed and scared. It’s not so much about having two kids 19 months apart. That will certainly be crazy and I might not leave the house for months. For real. I’m not worried about having enough love for two kids – enough sanity, yes, but my journey to falling in love with my son taught me a host of things about how love grows and how faithful God is to provide for us.
I am frightened of what it means to raise this baby girl into womanhood. I knew from the moment I saw that little pink plus sign that I was having a daughter. I think God told me right away so that I would have some time to process this new reality before sharing the official news with the world. It kind of gives the wrong impression when you tell people you’re having a girl while crying and looking terribly disappointed, eh?
I feel so ill-equipped to mother a girl. Boys feel more comfortable, make more sense to me. Heck, girls make no sense to me and I am one! I’ve never felt like I fit into the “girl” world – a strange thing to say in this 21st century liberated world of ours, where views of femininity can run the gamut. I hate shopping. I’ve never liked to talk on the phone – or any of the social media equivalents. I refused to wear pink until I was well into my twenties. I like movies where things blow up. What if my daughter is a pink-wearing, princess-loving, social media maven and I have no idea how to connect with her? What if (gasp!) she makes me go to the mall with her?!?
But seriously, it’s that crazy, always changing notion of femininity that has me trembling. How can I teach her what it means to be a woman when I’ve never been sure myself? How do I keep from passing on to her the insecurities I have wrestled with for years? More importantly, how do I teach her what it means to be a woman who loves God when our culture screams destructive messages, and I’m not sure I always agree with the image of womanhood often presented in the evangelical church? How do I respect who she is – her personality and likes and talents – while guiding her to love Jesus and obey Him?
This is a new kind of brave. It isn’t an event or task (my comfort zone!). It is investing in this little person long-term. It is relationship. It is facing my own shortcomings and faults. it is making mistakes and asking forgiveness. It is gracefully, openly, with abandon loving my daughter even if I don’t always understand the things that make her squeal with delight. It is a much harder Brave.
Oh, but there is love, too! I am already madly in love with her, even if all I know about her is her feisty kicks and steady heartbeat. I cannot wait to cup that little face in my hands and kiss her perfectly misshapen baby head. Getting to know her will be full of adventure and discovery. It will be full of joy and anticipation, like unwrapping the very best Christmas present ever.