Well, girls, I am pretty sure I am the luckiest pregnant mama out there. My sister-in-law, a.k.a. “Tia”, recently declared she would be taking Ayo one day a fortnight in the weeks leading up to the birth of our sweet baby #2. It was really difficult for me to accept her offer, knowing that she has two of her own Energizer bunnies aged three and under. Adding mine to her brood felt like such an exhausting load. So much to handle at once. When one child runs to the right and the other to the left, in which direction do you run? How do you put three of those to bed come naptime? Tia persisted, bringing her idea up again, in front of Tall Mountain this time over dinner one night: “Ayo IS coming to Tia Camp, the question isn’t if but when. So, which day would you prefer Tia Camp to be on?” And with all eyes on me, I gratefully accepted her generous present to care for our active 19 month old in this tiring stage of pregnancy. The offer meant time to finish a coffee whilst it is still warm, to go to the toilet unaccompanied or to hang up laundry without it being pulled down three times. Such things have slowly become luxuries in this these very full younger kid years.
I chose my first Tia Camp day to be held on the day prior to our current trip to France. On those pre-trip days, you’ll usually find me cleaning out the fridge, washing a final load of diapers, purchasing trip snacks or racing to finalize packing. That said, to take full advantage of a day of rest, I tried really hard to finish most of these things in advance. It would have been wasteful to spend such a gift just on cleaning, don’t you think? So, instead, I did things in life that are close to impossible with a toddler…
I first pulled into the parking lot of a recreation center where I listened to a National Public Radio (NPR) report all the way to the end on the effects of video games. Honestly, I couldn’t give a damn what the report was about. I was going to listen until the end. Then, I walked extra slooowly to the fitness center to go for a swim. How rare to be on the same pace as the grannies in the Aquagym class held in the next lane over! Speaking of swimming, I now remember why I dislike swimming so much. I too love the weightlessness women rave about during pregnancy, but I will always ALWAYS spend that evening itching from head to toe no matter how much I rinse, wash, lather on the lotion, oils and creams. For some odd reason, this debilitating itch only happens during pregnancy. Still, the swim was so peaceful whilst it lasted. From the pool, I drove to a quiet new-mother’s-center-meets-baby-boutique expecting to ask for directions to a fun coffee shop. Somehow we ended up talking about the manager’s births!? I tell you, a growing belly brings out the best stories, you guys. She had had a Cesarean section initiated by her epidural / pitocin combo followed by a hospital breech presentation VBAC, followed by an unmedicated homebirth. The whole gamut! “Oh, you were looking for a coffee shop, right? Well, if you want great coffee, there is a really fun place that pairs chocolate with wine, tea, coffee right around corner!” she said. I swear she was forewarned I was having a day of pampering… Exercising, discussing birth, eating chocolate, reading and sipping coffee..I mean, talk about my dream day come true!
It was at a place called The Chocolate Therapist that I sat down and began to journal about our next baby. For some reason, even remembering I am pregnant has been hard to do in this season. Thanks to Tia Camp, I was able to sit there with a warm coffee and a bite of chocolate and try to wrap my mind around life with a new baby. Who is this child? What will this child be named? I pondered. I was drawn to a passage from the Bible, in Romans 8, that totally came to life when I read it, as if it was written for our second born. Tears clouded my view. It was a total out of body type of experience similar to one I had pre Ayo’s birth, where the words came to life as if intended to be individual perfumes enveloping our infant. I looked for the bathroom to continue weeping as I boldly asked God what these things meant for our child: “freedom”, “life and peace”, “He knew them before they were born”, “expectancy like a woman in labor”, “hope we have been given” and more phrases I have yet to process… I spent the rest of the day unable to focus, with these concepts reeling around in my head. Leaving the café, I prayed for whatever these things should mean for our kiddo. That is when a song came on in the car repeating each of these concepts as if it had been planned for me to hear at that time. As a tear clouded my vision, I was prodded and poked from all the somersaults going on in my womb. “That’s right, those words are for you ” I laughed. So, I pulled over at a park to let this special moment sink in. Nothing else that I did that day was at all important in comparison. I had had the best Tia Camp day possible. I picked Ayo up, who was busy “playing” with his cousins (or was that a toy he was throwing at them? I can’t remember), forever grateful for this priceless gift of rest and time alone amidst such a tiring season of life.
I am not sure if it is a conspiracy to get me to rest, but, the next morning, we flew to France where Mamie declared she was hosting a Mamie Camp. Did I ever tell you I am the luckiest pregnant mama out there?