past, present, future

“What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.” John 13:7

This morning I woke up at 5:15 to do some work. [I know! On a Saturday no less.] About an hour later, I heard Philomena crying through the monitor. This was definitely too early for her to be up. Then I heard Ryan going to her and comforting her only to be met with a screeching, “Moooooommmmmy! Moooooommmmmy! Moooooommmmmy!” I considered just ignoring it and letting him deal with her [and he gladly would have], but it was Ryan’s first morning to sleep past 6:00 in months, and I felt a twinge of wifely guilt. So, I closed the computer and went upstairs.

When I picked her up, Mena immediately quieted, and I decided to bring her to our bed to cuddle. Quickly she fell back asleep in my arms. Since I was wide awake, I definitely contemplated sneaking away to get some more work done, but then I decided this was one of those soak-up-the-moment-because-your-baby-is-getting-so-big times. And so, I just held my sleeping toddler and prayed in the early morning light.

I will admit I’ve been having a lot more of these moments lately. And it goes deeper than the cliche “oh, they grow up so fast!” kind of mentalities. Since Ryan and I have been dealing with secondary infertility [we’ve actively been trying to have a baby since our miscarriage almost a year ago], there is a very distinct possibility she may be our only child. I don’t mean this in a pessimistic or pity-seeking way; it is just the reality of the situation.

Lately, I’ve made comments to Ryan like, “sometimes I wish I would have known in that first year she might be our only baby. Maybe I would have been more present. Maybe I would have approached those months differently.”

However, the more I think and pray about it, it is probably good that the Lord shielded us from that knowledge. An example that comes to mind was when I was studying abroad in Europe for a semester in college. Every weekend I went to a different country for a new adventure. I remember someone giving me the advice, “you should go to each new city with the mentality that you will be coming back someday.” At first, I thought that notion was ludicrous. I figured I should be doing the opposite. I should be going to each city as if I would never be back, so as to do and see everything that I could. However, I quickly learned that there is a lot to take in when traveling in a new place. And the times I tried to do and see “everything,” I wouldn’t be having a good time, and I just ended up stressed out.

I think the same would have happened if I knew Philomena may be our only child. I was already pretty emotional about milestones and having her “grow up.” If I would have known this may be the only time I experienced it, I think I would have been almost paralyzed with stress and anxiety about “experiencing” it perfectly.

And if I look deep inside myself, I really don’t have any major regrets regarding those early months. Indeed, I did soak up her newborn-ness, just gazing at her for hours and hours on end. I did appreciate those hundreds [thousands?] hours of nursing. And we took an absolutely ridiculous amount of pictures and videos. I am sure we were distracted at times, but overall we were present, probably more so than we had ever been in our former lives. If I would have known she may be our “only,” I would have been accompanied by a constant fear of “missing this moment.”

Yes, it is true that she may be our only child. Or maybe God will, indeed, grant us another baby. Or perhaps He will open the door to adoption. And maybe that door will be for an older child, not a newborn. Or maybe it will be for a baby. Your prediction is as good as mine at this point.

Regardless, this post is not really about the “what if” of our future. Rather, I am starting to realize that we need to find that balance in embracing the present moment, because there never will be another one just like “the now.” On the other hand, if I live my life with the fear of each of these moments leaving, then I am never truly “in” them. Christ said, “do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself” (Matthew 6:34). This is true, of course, but I also think it applies to yesterday: He has already taken care of the past too, so we need to learn to let go.

“My past, O Lord, to Your mercy; my present, to Your love; my future to Your providence.” St. Padre Pio

soaking up her newborn-ness

soaking up her newborn-ness


14 thoughts on “past, present, future

  1. A lovely read as my baby boy sleeps on my chest. He is 8 mos now and I too find myself slowing down a little to make sure I take it in. Thanks for the perspective and the reminder to savor the gift in the moment. Merry Christmas Sarah!

  2. What a great St. Padre Pio quote! I had not heard that one before. Also, I feel the same way about everything you said. I have not struggled with infertility, but I am becoming more and more aware that I am getting old…er. This unique time in my life as a mother with small children is passing so quickly. I am pretty sure I creep my children out with my attempts to soak up every moment. This was a great blog post.

  3. I SO get this, girl! My absence from all things blogging 100% has to do with living IN the moments I’ve been so, so, so blessed with.

    I also appreciate your courage in sharing your struggles with the world. I’ve not been so brave, and when people ask when the next baby is coming, I just want to scream in their face, which isn’t helpful, I know!

    Big hugs.

  4. Great post Sarah. I have always admired how much you and Ryan DO live in the moment in your family. It is really admirable, and this post struck my heart. We continue to pray. Also, it is amazing how very “Mena” she looks in that newborn picture. Merry Christmas to you all.

  5. It is indeed a wonderful post. I am listening to O Holy Night right now, and it is creating a good effect. I love the Padre Pio prayer, I love your openness about your current cross-I think it is an important perspective that you offer-I know your sharing has enriched me. We continue to pray for you, but I think we will begin adding to our petition that God will reveal his will for your family to your hearts. Merry Christmas, Kislings.

  6. Finally got around to reading this, I guess I’ve been doing a lot of my own “living in the ‘now'” without necessarily meaning to and it has been wonderful. I remember in high school how frustrated I was when people would say “When your ‘real life’ starts in the future…” as if the life I was living then wasn’t ‘real’? It was then I decided to try and live “now” now. It’s hard to do though, especially in the harder moments. I’ve definitely had a hard time letting go of our kids as they grow up, knowing I’ll never have them the way they are now again. Thanks for the reminder that it’s ok to let them grow and as long as I try and treasure the moments, it will be easier to let go of this and move on to the next “now”.
    I love that Padre Pio quote – perfect. I should print it and put it somewhere prominent.
    P.S. We continue praying for you and your family – that God will bless you with Peace and joy as you serve him and wait for whatever He has for your future.

  7. Pingback: “The” Surgery: Part One | sarahunfiltered

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