Thursday, January 9

baby fever

Baby fever has become the strangest thing to me.  If you’re single, it’s something you shouldn’t have, but if you’re married, people are surprised if you don’t have it.  It separates the “home-maker” types from the independent types, and it’s a loosely-used term but a very popular one.  Us newly married folks toss it around like, “you’ve got baby fever, right?”, and “just wait til baby fever kicks in”.  For some, this fever comes about after you’ve been to college, found a career, spent lots of money, been to Cabo, and feel “settled”.  For others, like me, baby fever sprouted when I received my first Water Baby doll.

Or, maybe you’ll get Bieber Fever instead. (I’ve heard this epidemic will be cured soon.)
The truth of it is, I can’t remember a time when I couldn’t wait to bring a sweet, little baby into the world, and pour my love all over him or her.  I can’t remember a time when it didn’t seem like fun to carry, dress, nurture, sing to, and rock a little person.  Something innate in me feels the need to take care of others, and what better person to use that energy on than your own baby?
So, when it became appropriate to have the “the fever” (after several months of marriage and friends carrying their babies around) I began telling people that was my new goal, my new hope.  I told a select few that we were “ready” for a baby; I told a few others that I was trying to be patient; I even postponed dress measurements for hope that there would be no way I’d fit into the bridesmaid gown anyway. Instead, after months of doing the emotional roller-coaster game with high hopes and low letdowns, we received sad news that really had us considering our role in “baby fever”.
Sure, we can decide that it’s a good time for babies and we can feel like we’re in a place to finally care for another human-being, but obviously that isn’t all it takes.  “Honey, I think we’re ready. Let’s call the store and put one on lay-away.” In fact, the next time someone asks if I have baby fever, I might tell them that yes, I do, and I’m shopping around for my options.
The thing about gifts is that they don’t always come expectedly.  In fact, some of the best gifts I’ve ever received weren’t on my birthday or for Christmas, they were random, unexpected surprises.  (Of course, they say this is the secret, right? Stop trying and thinking about it and it will just happen?) But if every gift depended on our own abilities and requests, how much of a gift would they really be?...More like a request or demand fulfilled.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned while waiting for a baby, it’s been to be content in the life we have.  We’ve discovered that our lives are so abundant with love and great moments that we aren’t waiting for a little person to give us everything—we simply know it will be another great gift that enhances the life we already have.  Plus, what a heavy load for a little baby-waby-boo-woo-boo. Yes, it’s still difficult when people ask when we’re having kids or how we’ve avoided the fever, and it’s difficult when others are close to receiving their gifts, but it’s been a lot more about learning to trust God than it has been about conforming to fit the norm.
It’s really easy to stay in our suffering, to wallow in our poor luck or bad deck of cards.  The harder—and much more rewarding—part is trying to find the good in the midst of our bad.  There’s nothing wrong with suffering, there’s nothing wrong with wanting or hoping—it’s just that you may miss a lot when you forget to take a look at the things you already have.  Contentment is a lot about the here and now and less about the goals we set before us.  So, make goals, have hopes and dreams, and strive for something better, but don’t forget to be entirely content with what you do have.  There’s no need to fit in with the norm when you were made for something much greater, anyway.

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