Growing up, my family’s church didn’t celebrate Advent (just the thought of candles was way too Catholic for their Sino-Baptist sensibilities), but over the years I’ve really grown to appreciate an entire month of anticipation and waiting, not least because patience has never been my strong suit.
Yesterday in church we talked about the human tendency to judge the past and/or rush the future. I’m actually at historically low levels of both (sneaky hate spiral days notwithstanding) and that is inversely correlated with my level of satisfaction with and acceptance of the present, which is at an unprecedented high.
When I met Science Guy two years ago, I was not, for the first time in my life, impatient for the next step. He has taught me a great deal about being living in the moment, but I also had to make my own decision to accept the present. (See my post about marriage not changing me.) I am still, in general, not a patient person. (Why I teach, I don’t know. It’s my cross to bear, I guess.) But I’ve come to have a lot more trust in processes that can’t be hurried by my own efforts. Like…having a baby.
I also went to a baby shower this weekend and got to catch up with a group of friends from my college years that I haven’t seen much since. We all started at the same point in college and then everyone’s lives went different directions and paces. Some got married and had babies right away, some waited or continue waiting to do both. Some moved three times and others (like me) are still in town. Some are still doing what they did when they first graduated, most have transitioned jobs at least once. (Four times in five years if you’re me, geez.)
I was chatting with the mother-to-be and she said something characteristically wise: There’s a good reason it takes babies nine months to be born. Obviously it takes time for the blastula to gastrulate and differentiate into an embryo and then grow into a fetus, but it also takes time for the parents to prepare physically and emotionally for the energy-intensive process of rearing mammalian offspring. (Jellyfish have it so easy, man.) When we got pregnant, we had been married less than 2 months and I was starting a new school year at a new school. But the baby won’t be born until the school year is nearly over, two months before our first wedding anniversary. Which seems a *little* less scary.
Pregnancy is one of the few processes in life that I literally cannot rush. No matter how hard I tried or how much I wanted to, I couldn’t see the baby in a sonogram or hear the heartbeat any sooner. I had to wait. I couldn’t feel the baby moving until he had grown pudgy enough to pack some punch. I had to wait. And, if all goes well, this baby won’t be born until he is ready (enough) to face the world and we (hopefully) are ready (enough) to be his parents. We GET to wait.
When I hit 20 weeks a few days ago, out of habit, I thought, “Are we there yet?” If I’m honest, pregnancy hasn’t been super fun for me. I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those women who says they love being pregnant. So there’s definitely a part of me that wants our little pudge to be here now. (And I want to see how cuuuuute he is!) But there’s a much larger part that is grateful we aren’t there yet. We have a lot to learn still, about parenting, about each other, and about ourselves. And maybe it’s because I need the time, but I’m glad for the lesson in patience as I know I always need more.