“Let everyone do their talking about 50 shades of grey, but don’t let anyone talk you out of it: committment is pretty much black and white. Because the truth is, real love will always make you suffer. Simply commit: Who am I willing to suffer for?
Who am I willing to take the reeking garbage out for and clean out the gross muck ponding at the bottom of the fridge? Who am I willing to listen to instead of talk at? Who am I willing to hold as they grow older and realer? Who am I willing to die a bit more for every day? Who am I willing to makeheart-boring years with? Who am I willing to let bore a hole into my heart?”
~Ann Voskamp on A Holy Experience~
This morning my heart and body are mending from the horror of last weekend. I know it was only a scare. I know God worked an incredible miracle. But my soul was wound up so tight that it has taken it days to find its normal rhythm again. I was afraid for Abby and could do nothing to fix her potential pain. I was and am a mother.
Through it all, my husband has never been more of a Real Man in my eyes. He left class to take my first phone call on Friday, because he was afraid that “something might be wrong.” Before I could barely get the diagnosis out of my mouth, he had researched the various types of Spina Bifida, the potential for false positive screening tests, and some of the life expectancy outcomes for babies with SB. He cried with me over the phone. He poured his heart out before our Heavenly Father. He came home with Psalm 25 on his lips. He read to me and beseeched God for Abby.
But, he never once said something like “I can’t handle a special needs baby” or “This will be too hard.” He rolled with the news and accepted that our lives might be radically changing. Yet, he whispered in our darkening room, “It is going to be okay. One way or the other, it is going to be okay. We are having a baby. A little girl. We are having a baby.”
And, I looked in the sorrow and hope of my husband’s dark eyes and knew that Abby would be a Daddy’s Girl. I knew that this little one already has his heart strings round around her tiny little fingers.
He hasn’t asked for the easy road. He hasn’t asked to work less or play more. He gave up what most men would consider their source of pride (their jobs) and dedicated himself to a 3.5 year school program to eventually make his family’s life easier. He works late into the night on science and math projects that I can barely even grasp so that one day I can stay at home with our babies. He gives and gives and gives.
Over the nearly seven years of our marriage, he once confided to me that he was afraid of not being a good father. Well, I can lay that fear to rest for him. This weekend alone proves that he thinks of not of himself in crisis, but of his baby. He seeks not his own strength, but his God’s. He blames no one, but carries the weight of the news on his shoulders, sheltering me as much as possible.
He cancelled his Monday classes and job responsibilities to attend our Level II ultrasound. He positioned himself by my side and held my hand, his strength flowing into my quivering heart. He prayed over Abby one last time, and then held his breath as the ultrasound revealed…a perfect spine. A perfect brain. A baby doing flips and back flips. A beautiful heart, pumping away for her daddy’s delight. A belly that measures one day bigger than the rest of her tiny form. (For anyone wondering, this is definitely my daughter!)
David is one of my tangible Thanksgivings. He is humbler than anyone I’ve ever met, nearly to the point of frustration, as I want to sing his praises and push him to the forefront of people’s attention. He is a man of integrity. A man who sacrifices his dreams to fulfill ours. A man who takes me baby-clothes shopping because he is so excited about his little girl. And, he’s got good taste too.
David’s love is not always flashy and romantic. But, it’s always there. A steady river pounding out the rhythm of our marriage. Making music and making love. He is my Thanksgiving.
Tears fall, as I imagine him holding Abby for the first time in a couple of months. Nothing right now appears more beautiful. My dream came true not in a prince wearing royal garb or swirling me into a fairytale castle, but in a real man who has never left my side and has never deserted his God. Even in the hard times. Even when “thanksgiving” was a broken hallelujah. Even then.
(I couldn’t help but add this photo. At this point, the ultrasound tech declared, “You have a yoga baby!” Her head is buried in the lower right corner of the photo. Her belly is wrapped up and around the left side of the photo, and her legs are outstretched above her head. Yep, when I can feel that position, it’s going to hurt!)