Friday, November 21, 2014

The Joy and Gratefulness of Being Aunt Lala

I love my sister. I love that our personalities are completely opposite. I was reminded of this recently when we exchanged cars so I could keep Canyon for the afternoon. I stepped out of my car that was clean and vacuumed into my sister’s car—with more water bottles than you could count and last month’s mail in the front seat. Some people might call that motherhood, but I know the truth. (And by the way, that new reality may be true for me someday.) But Michaela’s car has looked like that for as long as she’s been driving. I know this because I would shove the papers and the water bottles out of the way as I sat in her purple blazer, waiting for her to drive me to school. I say waiting because I was downstairs and ready a good 20 minutes early every morning…so I could wait…

People have asked me: Is it hard being around Canyon? Have you struggled since your sister had a baby? I would say there have been hard days, but we—Michalea and I—we have wept together. That’s how we do things in our family. Together.

I’ve never been around a lot of babies in my lifetime. Apart from holding a baby here and there once or twice a year, I hadn’t been around babies. And getting to be around Canyon these last six months, I now know it was God’s gift to me that my sister got pregnant before me. I don’t say that lightly. I say that with genuine gratitude. I would not want to walk what I’ve watched her walk for six months without first watching her walk it.

I’m so proud of my sister. She’s an incredible mom. Of course, I knew she would be. When it came to playing with baby dolls, she had the whole mom thing down. But watching her in action, in real time, my heart just swells with joy. I’ve spent my whole life watching her, observing, learning from her choices. Why would I think motherhood would be any different? God knew what I needed.

Canyon is her gift from God. Her blessing. I prayed for him as fervently as I’ve prayed for anything. But in an indirect way, he’s my blessing, too. I love being his Aunt Lala/Lulu (depending on who you ask!). I love him deeply.

I’m not a gifts person. I’m not a words of affirmation person, either. I’m a quality time person. It’s how I show love, and it’s how I receive love. I cultivate relationships with time. That’s my thing. So after Canyon was born, I wanted to spend as much time as I could with him—and when school started again, I wanted one day—at least one—that I could spend with him. Come hell or high water, I don’t care how much grading I have to do, Wednesdays are my day.

I know he won’t remember it. To him, it doesn’t matter if we played games or if I held him while he slept. But it matters to me. I’ll remember.

This last week, I cried almost the whole way to Lubbock to pick him up. My heart was so full of joy as I prayed for him and for my sister and for Jaime. And when, after his afternoon bottle, after he had exhausted himself playing in his bouncer, after we had sung songs and made silly faces—when he fell asleep on me for almost an hour, I cried some more.

God knew that I needed this experience. He knew I needed a baby to hold. And while we wait for our own joy and blessing, I have this gift, this sweet boy. And one day a week, I get to practice being a mom.  

This year has been a precious time for Hal and me. And although life hasn’t always turned out how I planned it, I have never felt more fully the goodness and the faithfulness of God in this season of my life.   I am grateful for His timing, for His perfect plan, and I feel so blessed.