When you know that a big change is coming, life’s daily features take on new colors. There is a new gravity to the actions and words you choose. I felt similarly years ago when I decided to move away from my childhood home in Buffalo. The last few months at home I was playing out the time, making the last moves in a long game that was coming to a conclusion. I had no idea what lay ahead of me in Michigan or how much my life would change, but I knew that I would never be the same.
Preparing for a change like this tilts the whole landscape. I remember the first time I pulled into my own driveway after finding out I was pregnant (after having been away from home for a week). Like a garden after a thunderstorm, my house was the same place it had always been, but it had taken on a surreal quality to my eyes, lit by a strange new light. (Paul Simon’s lyric comes to mind “Nothing is different but everything’s changed”) I suddenly wanted to fix it up – paint the shingles and get a new roof. I wanted to take better care of our garden and bleach all the corners of the floors. All these thoughts rushed in at once as I turned off the car.
I love that pregnancy is called “expecting”. To expect is to hope, but it’s more than that – it is to believe that what you hope for will surely come into being. Expecting allows little room for doubt. I mean, there are plenty of details to doubt and worry about along the way, but the ultimate conclusion is pretty well set. Whether I am ready or not there will be a baby when the hourglass drops its last grain of sand.
Life during these times of expectation becomes a countdown. All you can do in the meanwhile is live out the days in the glow of what lies ahead. To be pregnant (pregnant with expectation) is to be obsessed. Suddenly every action, every decision, every bite of food and sip of drink is weighed and measured by a new standard. It is an awareness that consumes every waking moment. It forces us to live in the present, to be conscious, careful, and grateful. Everything feels so temporary, which makes it feel so much more special.
I hope I can continue to carry this feeling forward long after my babe is in arms and my belly is back in shape (we are talking about hoping here ; ) I want to always live with this air of expectation. Knowing that “This too shall pass” (good or bad) is all the more reason to tolerate life’s pains, to cherish life’s joys, and to always be looking forward even as our feet trudge through the hours of each passing day.
Maybe there are some new grads who can relate to this in their own way. Or maybe you’re taking on a new job, moving to a new city, getting married, launching a new project, etc. You are expecting, much like I am. Let’s hold on to that feeling.
“Yet I know that good is coming to me – that good is always coming; though few have at all times the simplicity and the courage to believe it.” –George MacDonald