He opens the car door to kiss Caleb’s head before we drive off to preschool. “Whew, we really need to scrub under the seats. It must have gotten way under there,” my husband says, in reference to the rancid spilled milk that I have already tried to clean out of my car. As I pull out of the driveway, yesterday’s mail goes flying into my windshield and up over my car. Oops. I left it sitting on the dash when we got back from our walk yesterday.
We pull into the car line, as Caleb requests “Paloo, Mama!” I know this means that he wants to hear the old familiar children’s hymn, Praise Ye the Lord. “Hallelelu, Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelujah… praise ye the Lord!” Somewhere along the line one of us introduced him to this song and he loves it. His teacher gets him out of the carseat as he waves and says “BYE Mama!” This is in sharp contrast to 45 minutes before when we were marching back and forth to “chill time” with stern voices drowned out by screaming.
Our child is very particular about things, and he is passionate. He is always moving at one hundred percent, and is at his worst when there is no structure. He has beautiful blue eyes and the most expressive personality.
While so much of my day is spent with him, my heart is with another baby too. Another baby, somewhere out there, who has his or her own little quirks, personality traits and beautiful features already built in.
I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday to get Caleb a Valentine’s Day surprise. I left with some dot paints and two books. Polar Bear Polar Bear What Do You Hear? by Eric Carle (already a favorite), and Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman. When I got home, I got a sharpie out to make an inscription behind the covers, “To Caleb, Love Mama and Dada- February 14, 2019.” Except, I couldn’t write it in the Nancy Tillman book. It just didn’t feel right. That’s when I realized: I had another child in mind when I bought that one. It opens with:
I wanted you more than you ever will know,
so I sent love to follow wherever you go.
And it continues with beautiful words about how wherever the child goes in all of his or her life, that the reader’s love will never leave them, and they will never have to be alone.
I realized that our next baby will own this book. He or she will probably listen to me read it to them over and over and over, just as Caleb and I have read his favorites that communicate our love for him.
Then, I wonder. How do we get to be in this place, to be so called by God to steward this gift of parenting? Yes, it often comes with loudness and lack of sleep and frayed edges and unfinished tasks and the snatching away of any excesses of patience.
And yet. We press on and we love. We wait. We wait for the child that God has set out to place in our family at the appointed time.
Almost three years ago, as Caleb grew inside of me, the wondering about what his little face would look like and who he would become consumed my thoughts. I could feel him, and I truly felt as though I knew him before he was even born.
There is something oddly similar, yet beautifully different about this type of wait. We do not yet know the gender, ethnicity, or ancestry of our baby. We do not know the circumstances that will bring him or her to us. But that leaves all the more room for love and anticipation to fill our hearts.
The Kingdom of God is made up of every shape, color, size and ability. The future is still unknown to us, but what we can remain confident of is this: our next baby will allow us to learn more, grow more, and will give us all the more reason to tell others of His goodness.
Will the Lord wait to connect us to our baby when we are “ready?” As in, a perfectly clean house, a car with no milk stains, and the mail filed into an organizer in the pantry? No way. He will equip us in His proper timing, and in the various ways that He sees fit. In fact, I know that He is doing this even now.
Whenever He has arranged to join our lives with our baby and his or her precious mother, we will be ready.
In the mean time, we will wait with anticipation, because He is able to do immeasurably more than all that we could ask or imagine, according to the power at work within us.