Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.
Hi there. I’m Amanda. I write about
chaos motherhood, faith & writing over at Life. Edited., and I’m honored to sit in AP’s virtual chair today while she is in the wonderful (and at times mildly terrifying) throes of going from mom of one to mom of more.
[We all know she will be fantastic in her new role. We just need to keep reminding her so that she knows it, too.]
I’m a mother, too, of three energetic (read: delightfully crazy) offspring under the age of five. And though I have a sense of the transition AP is experiencing right now, I can’t say I’ve been there exactly.
I’ll show you what I mean.
Those are my twin boys, L&J, the day after they were born. And here we are now...
Now, don’t be fooled. That is hands down the best (only?) photo of the five of us taken in our two-and-a-half years as a family of five. Most of our photos look a little different.
Like this one taken on Father’s Day.
Yep. That’s more like it.
I remember vividly the day we discovered we were pregnant the second time around. The Hub and I were mid-sobering-conversation on the sofa in our living room. It was late. Our 21-month old daughter was asleep in the next room, and we were weary, stressed and worried about the future. We so wanted a larger family, but not right then.
No, we decided. It was just not the time.
I could feel it in my gut. I knew I may be pregnant, and I couldn’t ignore the possibility any longer. I got up, without any explanation that I recall, and went upstairs to take the test I’d bought earlier that day.
It was positive.
Ready or not, this was happening.
Fear and Joy fought for our hearts that night on the living room sofa as we sat staring at each other while the realization sunk in. As much as I’d like to say that we were all hugs and smiles and tears of joy at this undeniable and unexpected blessing, that is not our story. We were terrified.
Fear won the battle that night, but Joy was waiting in the wings for a comeback.
As we went through the motions of the coming weeks, Joy was there, tugging at our hearts and turning our faces toward the beauty of this new journey. We began to smile. We began to rejoice. We began to cling tight to Promise and loosen our grip on Worry.
As we sat in the waiting room for our first doctor’s appointment, Joy was there, too, poised and ready for the moment we saw this...
The doctor didn’t have to say it. We all saw it and we all knew.
There were two babies. We were having two babies. At the same time.
My husband and I stared at each other through nervous laughter. He stammered. I cried. It was exhilarating and bewildering; we felt overwhelmed with gratitude and overcome with fear. And just like that, we were back at the crossroads of What We Planned and What We Were Given, and we knew which way we would go. We just weren’t quite sure how to get there.
How could we be ready for two when we weren’t even ready for one? How would we find room in our tired hearts, our old house, our strained budget for two more precious souls?
Of course, there was room. In our lives and our hearts there was room.
These two unexpected gifts continue to fill us up and our hearts continue to expand and it is nothing short of a miracle. Every day is a miracle.
When I think back on the three of us before we became five, I feel understanding and compassion because I know. I know how badly our heart ached when we feared we could not do it all. That we were not ready. (Because who can? And who is?)
But more than that, I feel joy. Full and unabashed JOY.
Because I know.
I know how our beautiful lives were yet incomplete. I see the hidden gaps we did not know were there, and I see how these two boys fill them to overflowing.
I see how this unplanned journey was an ordained blessing. How this story we are living was written intentionally and just for us. When I look at the story through that wide-angle lens, it is all I can do not to howl with laughter at the beauty and the wonder and the just-rightness of it all.
Our family may or may not grow in numbers, but our story is not over. Fear and Joy still do battle in our hearts, and there are days - many days - when Grace is pushed into the corner of this old house.
Life is not all smiles and knowing glances and harmonious meals around the dining room table. In fact, if I’m honest, life is pretty hard. Parenting is a tough gig. But our story is not over, and Fear be danged, we are going to live it. And we will fight to make room for all the people and adventures we are blessed with along the way.
Because the human heart? It’s kind of amazing. And somehow there is always more room.