Processing Life and Africa

We’ve been busy preparing for our trip to Africa. We got our our passports up-to-date, started collecting items for the packing list, and this past Wednesday we went to the travel clinic to get all of our shots. By the way, no fair that my husband only needed one shot while I got stuck with five! It was a hard appointment for me but not just because of the shots. I didn’t realize it when I scheduled it but two years earlier, to the day, we were at the same hospital desperately hoping and praying that we weren’t miscarrying our first child. We were and we did. It was a terrible experience. One I hope never to repeat. There is something about the excitement of your first pregnancy that you can’t get back. I was so thrilled to be having a baby but that high only lasted for a couple of weeks. When we got pregnant with Mac (a little sooner than expected), none of that initial excitement returned. I was scared I was going to lose another baby and I was sicker than a dog. I didn’t care as much. I just wasn’t up for it.

Now we have Mac and his value to me is beyond anything I could measure. It is clear to me that even with all the unusual circumstances around his birth, God meant for him to be our baby. The first year was one of us forming strong bonds. Only recently, when he turned one have I’ve gained more independence from him. I’ve even left him to travel twice, but never for nine days, which is how long we’ll be in Africa. I know he will be in excellent care with my parents but I will miss him terribly. One of my big fears, maybe even an irrational fear, with this trip is that we won’t come back. I want to go but I most definitely want to come home.

After having the flashback on Wednesday at the hospital, I had another one at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on Saturday. I was wandering around learning about trees when I realized that I was newly pregnant with Mac the last time I was there. We came around Easter in 2009 when my in-laws were visiting. I was feeling so sick and thought I would never ever feel like a normal person again. Now here I am strolling a toddler who is persistently taking his shoes and socks off right after I put them on. I wouldn’t say I feel normal again, especially after all the repetitive behaviors I do on a daily basis, but I do feel good. I believe in God’s providence. All in the same week I experienced memories of death and life, pain and joy, brokenness and redemption. Ultimately life, joy and redemption win. Much like my memories from last week I believe things will come full circle with this trip too. I was reminded that even in my fears of going to Africa, and fears for what this may mean for our family, I will be transformed. And I will come home.

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