A Mary Moment Monday post

There is a two-week window after having a baby where I go into “What’s next? What’s next! Whatsnextwhatsnextwhatsnext!?!?” mode. There’s a joy in this mode. It reminds me of Christmas night from my youth, after opening all the presents, when I would plot and plan and imagine the possibilities of life. It reminds me of the night before and after various milestone days — my high school, college, and grad school graduations; my wedding; the births of my children. It’s a bottled-up anticipation and a floating sort of feeling. The night before is conjecture and planning. The night after is delight and the beginning of analyzing, thinking, pondering.

I feel like I’m on the brink of something big and wonderful and possible, something that never existed before and might never exist again.

I was sitting in bed, nursing the new baby, the other night, and I realized I have entered this mode. I’ve steamed into it full-force. I’m laying in bed, my mind whirring and spinning, something in me crackling and zinging.

The thing about this mode is the way I feel like things are so possible. Somehow, I regain a sense of wonder, a touch of the idealism of junior high, a lapse from the cynicism I’ve carried for years. The world is new. Life is beautiful.

And then comes the crash. My body realizes, at some point, that we’re not in finals week in college, that this is not a sprint but a marathon of epic proportions. In a cynical bout, I’d call this crash “reality,” but I’ve come to see it as more of a further adjustment.

I need that wave of good, that injection of happy, to get me through the hurdles that will inevitably come. I’m wondering, this time around, if I can soften the crash by knowing it’s coming. I’m sure going to try.

As I hold my baby and contemplate the coming Nativity, I feel closer than ever to Mary. On Friday night, my husband took the kids to a local Christmas production. They were loaded up on a big wagon and taken to witness the Nativity events, from the Annunciation to the angels coming to the shepherds in the field (there is really a field and shepherds). They had a glimpse of the crowded streets of Bethlehem and they were in an “inn” for a few minutes before a shepherd came running in, breathless and excited, inviting everyone to “Come on!”

Then they met the Baby. He was in a cold, drafty barn. Though I wasn’t there this year, I thought of that barn as I stayed at home, caring for my five-day-old infant.

After the kids were in bed that night, my husband looked at me. “Can you imagine?” he asked. “No hospital. No heat. We just did that on Monday, but we didn’t do it like that at all!”

I can imagine. I have imagined. This week, those harsh realities and the gift they continue to bring to my life are going to be my life vest, my buoy to rest on, even as I whiz along in this new mode of life.