Often, I’ve found myself longing for falling snow in the winter, a cool breezy day in autumn, and the color of springtime when the seasons have failed to cooperate with my expectations.
Though every season has its starting date on the calendar, we never really know when they will decide to come. And it’s a humbling process to wait for something —especially when you have no idea when that certain thing will come to pass.
Even more so when you’re waiting for something growing within your own body to finally make its way into your arms.
(I'm talking about a baby, of course.)
The past nine months have been filled with pruning, preparation, struggle, stepping out, and the kind of waiting that seems to give space to all the thoughts and fears I didn't have time to process before.
Pregnancy was a season of toiling and planting. And with the coming of spring and the season of motherhood, I've begun to see something new break forth from all that work:
In who God is, in what He does, and his perfect timing in everything.
Since the beginning of my pregnancy, everyone reminded me that a due date is just an estimated time of arrival.
"He'll come when he's ready," they said. "And this is your first, so you can expect him to be a little late!"
Still, I waited; and as March 30th approached, I felt as if he could come any day. My mother arrived about a week before his due date, and we spent the week putting the final touches on his nursery, walking a couple miles everyday, and praying that for a healthy delivery.
And sure enough, March 30th came and went. The week was filled with contractions here and there, yet we were still waiting for Aslan.
Though there was something in me that wanted to complain about the delay, I found myself savoring a sweet gift that I never knew I wanted:
A few more days to be child with my mother.
She and I went on long walks everyday —partly to get contractions going, but also for her to impart all the wisdom she had to offer about parenting. As we strolled along the park trails, we admired the small buds beginning to sprout along barren tree branches.
With every step, she told me what it was like to raise 7 kids —all in a foreign country away from her family in Malaysia. The joy, the regrets, the heartache, the sleepless nights, and all the blessings that came with motherhood.
"I just want you to learn from my mistakes, Jeana," she said. "I want you take the good and throw out the bad and become a better mother for your children." And all I could think about was how impossible it would be to become a better mother than the woman who, I now knew, gave up everything for me and my siblings —the one who has given the deepest love ever exemplified in my life.
As Aslan continued to grow in my belly, I wondered how long we'd wait for him. I wondered what kind of mother I could be for this little man I'd never met.
I remembered when I was afraid of motherhood. Months before I became pregnant, I had to work through that fear with Jesus. Lies had to be broken down — like the idea that my husband and I would be alone in the process of raising a family. That I would lose my body and regret it. That I wouldn't have time to do the things that are important to me.
Instead, Jesus reminded me that He is always with me, and we're not left to navigate this journey alone. And I discovered the beauty of a body surrendered to the miracle of motherhood. And as my baby boy readied himself to come, I found myself daydreaming about what would become the most important treasure of my life.
As March 30th passed and April came, I knew in my heart that we were all exactly where we needed to be.
Each day past his due date, I would wake up in the morning with my husband and my mother asking, "Anything happen??"
And day after day, I would shrug and say, "Not yet."
But on the morning of my mother's birthday, I woke up at 10am to gushing water.
I ran to the bathroom and stood in the tub. My mom ran out from her bedroom.
"I'm not having any contractions...but I think my water broke."
We stared at each other for a moment. April 6th was the day Aslan would come.
"I had a dream last night that I met Aslan," she said through smiling tears. "He was maybe 3 years old, and he handed me a gift and said, 'Happy Birthday, Nana!'"
Oddly enough, that sunny morning unfolded calmly. I called my midwife, who gave me instructions and told me that the contractions would come. My husband went to run an errand so he could be present for the home birth once the contractions began.
Sure enough, once he returned an hour later, the contractions were strong and my midwife was filling up the birthing pool in my dining room.
Everything escalated quickly. I think my eyes were shut for the next 4 hours as I worked through each contraction. Before I knew it, I was leaning over the pool with my husband holding my hands on the other side, ready to push.
He encouraged me through the pain and my midwife guided me through it all. And at 2:08pm, Aslan Jasper Saeedi was in my arms. Words can't really fully describe the feelings that followed. As he lay upon my chest, I was filled with the greatest sense of relief and wonder I'd ever known.
The wait was over; Aslan was here.
A gift for me and my husband, and a gift for my mother, too.
As I write this here at my dining table, my little baby boy is just 2 weeks old. There have already been plenty of tears, laughter, and sleepless (and some restful) nights as we settle into this new season for our family.
And through it all, as the trees have continued to blossom and the grass turns vibrant shades of green, there is an underlying peace in this new beauty.