We are at the beginning of our second straight school year without the birth of a new little Spencer. It is the strangest thing for me to not have a little one coming every second school year. (Our lives always have and always will revolve around the college school year, it is kind of a big deal here.) During the four years M was getting his PhD we had a baby every other school year and our first school year in St. Paul we had our third.
This December we were hoping to have another, but God had other plans as He called our little JP home in April. The truth is that I did not feel quite ready for another during my pregnancy with JP. We had no grave reasons to postpone the bringing of a new life into our family, so we went ahead and trusted God. God gave us a baby, and then He took our baby away. It was hard. It is always hard to lose a child, no matter what age.
My hopes for the next year dissolved, and now each month we are wondering if and when a new child will join our family. But the thing is, I feel more ready now. I look at the ages of my children and realize that everyone is right when saying the first three are the hardest. If we are blessed with another, I know that I will be able to handle the transition well.
As I prepared for our home schooling year, I realized that we are going to be baby-less the whole school year. I saw that I could plan a full year without the break a newborn would naturally cause. And I began to wonder, maybe this year is a gift for me and my family.
It is a year to recover from all the change we have experienced in our six years of marriage. It is a year to recover from losing a baby. It is a year to recover from two bouts of PPD in 17 months. It is a year to recover from the fear that we were going to lose my Dad in January, and a year to focus on supporting and praying for his full recovery. It is a year to enjoy our new home, post basement renovation, post decor hunting, post exterior work and painting. This year I can focus on my life, now, as it is. I can enjoy teaching my children, without the added stresses that we have had.
I know that new stresses could come unexpectedly, but for now I see this time as a gift. Maybe I will get pregnant and have to deal with the tiredness of pregnancy. Maybe another family problem will arise. But as I have been praying, I really feel peaceful about what is to come, no matter what it is. I held a friend’s sleeping newborn the other day, and I did not feel the ache and longing I sometimes feel when I hope for another baby. I felt a thankfulness for the children I do have and for the time I have now with them and a hope that one day we will have another to hold.
We are so incredibly blessed by all that we have, and I feel I do not deserve it all. But isn’t that the way God is, all we have, all we are given is grace. And I am so thankful for the grace of this year.