When I was big and pregnant with Riley my size 6 1/2 feet were barely squeezing into size nine shoes. My hands were so swollen, I got the nickname "Man Hands" at work(thanks to Seinfeld). I had carpel tunnel so bad, I had to sleep with braces on my wrists the last two months of the pregnancy. My midwife, convinced a pregnant woman is not a sick woman, wouldn't give me the out to quit work unless I begged. For some reason I really looked up to her and didn't want to let her down. I felt I had to press on. Other nurses were working right up 'til their due dates, why couldn't I?
Until I just couldn't.
When I finally quit, I was feeling so sad. Really down on myself. So one night, Todd moved our mattress into the baby's room.
We'd made our nursery a jungle. Vines criss-crossed under the ceiling. Monkeys, parrots, zebras and hippos hung from fishing wire at various levels. Todd would often check the nature store to see if there were any new animals. He'd come home all pumped up about hanging a new giraffe, or yet another monkey. And one time a brown bear.
That night, we laid in the nursery, imagining the baby. Who is it? A boy? A girl? I couldn't explain the depth of my sadness. It didn't make sense. We were having a baby. I should be thrilled. Why did I feel so overwhelmed? Todd held me. He allowed me to feel what I felt and that was enough. We were having a baby. It was okay to be overwhelmed. We drifted off to sleep beneath the twirling monkeys and giraffes, and one bear. What? Our jungle was inclusive.
Yesterday, Todd and I got in a fight. Hurtful things were said by both of us. Our relationship is so good, but it's not perfect. Sometimes the imperfections seem huge, looming over us, threatening to take all we have away.
A Course in Miracles teaches, in all difficulty, distress, moments of confusion, etc., "I could see this differently."
Last night when I was sad and couldn't sleep I asked God to help me see our situation differently, and immediately the image of us in Riley's nursery came to mind.
This is the guy who bought all those animals. This is the guy who moved our mattress into the baby's room that night. The one who held me and let me feel what I felt. This is the guy who still loves me with all his heart.
It was with these thoughts I finally drifted off, with visions of monkeys and parrots and one bear twirling in my head.
Today was a better day.
Tonight we'll order Thai food and watch Dancing With the Stars,
and hopefully as we go forward,
we'll remember to be more tender with each other's hearts.