‘Twas the night before motherhood

Today I dug through a trunk full of memories looking for a few specific things I’d promised to lend out.  You can’t look through a memory box without taking a journey far and deep.  I saw an autograph book from the 7th grade, photos of my grandparents in their twilight years, quotes saved from college Sunday school lessons, and a recipe box I made in Young Women.  Wrinkled in the corner, I found a folded piece of paper that had my handwriting on the outside:  A poem for Matt.  love, Stephanie

I figured it might be some cheesy love poem which I have no memory of ever writing.  I used to write quite a bit of poetry growing up.  After I served my mission and fell in love with the Spanish language, I wrote a lot of Spanish poetry.  I was pretty darn good at it, too, for a gringa— I even had several of them published in literary journals.  But I’ve written very little poetry since then, in any language.  So I was curious what had inspired me to write Matt a poem.  I opened the wrinkled paper.  It was dated Jan 7, 2003:  Four years since we met and just a few days before the birth of our first child.

Future’s Eve

Here we sit in the twilight of all our yesterdays,
still warm from the brightest rays, and full of memories.
The evening dews of destiny begin to fall,
beautiful and mysterious.
The tomorrows will be different days;
I am curious, but not afraid.
Thank you for harboring me in your friendship
and bearing me in your love.
In a magical way, that love defines our past
and will now somehow redefine our future.
We will be more than two, and yet, more at one.
The morning sun begins to break slowly through the unguessed dawn,
and the beams, like Spirit, fall gently upon us.
We go enhanced to the next day.

When Matt left for work this morning, I was having a moment of self-pity because Grant had almost missed the bus and Natalie was mid-meltdown.  “This will be my day,” I sighed as I looked at the small, weeping preschooler flopping and thrashing on the stairs.  He made some comment about how my life was so horrible and tortured, but he didn’t mean it and that’s not what I meant either, so I got annoyed.  I don’t think it’s an accident that I read this line today about how I had once anticipated parenthood to be:  “We will be more than two, and yet, more at one.”  Oh, how we need each other, but how easy it is to be selfish!

Children can draw a couple together in deeper ways than they ever thought possible.  I remember the days that Grant spent in the Pediatric ICU after unexplained seizures, and how Matt and I clung to each other and needed each others’ support so much.  And yet, when we are not careful, we can let their whims come between us, like a morning where a temper tantrum makes me pathetically dread the day rather than share a a goodbye hug with my husband and remind him how much I love him and still need him.

Every morning in parenthood is an “unguessed dawn;” We never know what it will bring, but we need each other and we definitely need the Lord.  When we let our selfish wish-lists go, and turn to the Lord to help us fill our unmet needs rather than demanding that someone else read our minds, heal our wounds, and solve our problems, I think the Spirit can work wonders.  And then, both individually and as partners, “We go enhanced to the next day.”