I’m a planner. I like to dream and scheme about things down the road. We moved a few times when I was younger and I would always sketch out my future bedroom the night we closed on a new house, eager to imagine the layout and get things organized.
These days, the liturgical calendar allows me a similar privilege. I can be steeped in one season, but am always thinking ahead. While the sanctuary is filled with evergreen and light, I am also wondering about Lent, repentance and springtime. There is always something new to wonder about as we plod through the same seasons and stories year after year. There is always something new to unfold or proclaim or digest. And I love that.
Ever since that first stick had two pink lines and the second stick had two pink lines and the third stick read a definitive, digital YES, I have tried to live more in the moment than usual. I have tried to learn about what is happening each week and to appreciate each stage of this journey. I have tried to make good time for my relationship with Matt that has nothing to do with pregnancy or a tiny person coming home with us next year. I have tried to live in season.
But as summer yawns turned to autumn energy and then to winter cankles, it has been difficult to stay put or bask solely in the now. Checklists, doctor’s appointments and nursery ideas have infiltrated my plans for Zen and peaceful appreciation. I cold call people about childcare openings, make preparations at work for maternity leave and speak a new language that includes crib mattress regulations and brain development. It’s weird. Way beyond thinking about Lent during Advent weird.
But on Saturday, we found a little piece of that stillness. A friend took maternity photos of us at the Minneapolis Photo Center in Northeast. We got to enjoy what it means to be 31 weeks pregnant and together all afternoon. We ate dinner at the Craftsman and got lost in the flavors of cheese, potatoes, root vegetables, kale, fish and pheasant. And then we curled up on the couch for a few episodes of Pillars of the Earth, a television mini series based on the Ken Follett book Matt read a few years ago.
We laughed about how well I could follow the plot. When Matt loves a book, he paraphrases it to me, chapter by chapter. He reads whole pages aloud and wonders about where the characters are going after putting it down for the night. This means I often put my book down and listen from the edge of the story – partly because it’s endearing and partly because his enthusiasm is too loud for two readers in the same room.
Tonight we’ll finish the series and then we’ll probably go back to reading before bed, enjoying that late night stillness while we still have it – while it’s just the two of us. But every once in awhile, a kick to my ribs will break into that stillness and remind me that we are already more than just two. It will remind me that while we are dwelling deeply in Advent and life as Meta and Matt, there is something pulling us forward into a new season. And that's worth planning for.