We're puttering down the river of life. We've mapped out our course. We've got the weather forecast up on the netbook, our toes dipped in the water. (The piranhas aren't biting today.) The sky is blue, the jungle birds are singing, swooping low, trailing colorful tail feathers through the water.
Then a hippo plows into us out of nowhere and dumps our boat upside down.
Well, maybe it's not always that drastic. But sometimes it is. Sickness can hit us that way. Death. An accident.
An unplanned pregnancy feels that way, too. For some people it dumps them overboard. For others, I guess the hippo just pushes their boat down a section of river they weren't planning to travel.
That's the boat we're in.
The ironic part is that a few months ago I was planning on writing a blog post about how weird it was not to be pregnant. My baby was about 18 months old, which was normally when we'd start thinking about another one. But Sophie was our last. We'd decided that. And I was excited about moving on.
I'd started planning the next stage of my life: getting all my kids out of diapers; having all the kids in school in a few years; having more time to write.
I signed up for the SCBWI LA conference, because my life was stable. It was time for me to start investing more in my dream of being a real, live author.
Then, BAM! Course irreversibly altered. Six months from now -- if everything goes well -- we'll have a screaming, kicking, pooping newborn again (whose head smells like milk).
I'll be honest, I cried at first. Because this was a detour, which probably means I'll have to postpone my dreams a little bit longer. But then I went in for my first ultrasound and, of course, you can't help but be excited when you see that little body wriggling around on the screen and you think -- "That's my baby!"
Of course, we're scared, because five is a big number when it comes to children. Each one of them is an individual responsibility. Do we have the strength to keep pouring into all these little investments?
And I'm exhausted. I've been sick for three months and I'm so ready to be done and feel normal again. Hopefully any day now. Hopefully. Hopefully.
Hopefully one of these days I'll enjoy cooking again. And eating again. Hopefully. Hopefully.
As we meander down this river we weren't planning on traversing, I'm thankful the hippo didn't capsize our boat.
And I'm thankful that this may be the journey we were meant to take all along, even if it wasn't our plan.