Saturday, December 17, 2016 is a date I will remember fondly for the rest of my life. Rogue One had been out for a week, so the midnight release crowd would be thinning out, which would make the theatrical experience more relaxed (those last few minutes, though!). Christmas was approaching, the warmth of the season doing its best to cleanse our palettes of the rough year that was 2016, and my husband and brother-in-law were in the beginning process of starting their own business.
There was a lot to remember about that date, but despite all of that I will always remember it as the day I found out I was going to be a mom.
My husband and I had talked about having a family since our first year dating anniversary. But a little over two years into our marriage, I had a lot of cognitive dissonance about the prospect of bringing another life into this world. I thought about our careers, my relatively new job at my hometown’s local paper and his new business and full time job on top of it, but after a long heart-to-heart, my husband and I decided we would just “see what happens.”
And happen it did. A lot sooner than I’d anticipated.
I was nervous, naturally. Terrified, even. But as I began to share the news with family and friends and begun to make plans for my baby shower with my best friends, I began to grow excited about welcoming my little wriggling alien creature who at the time was living rent-free in my insides.
I decided I wanted the theme of my baby shower to be arcade and retro gaming. As far as I could tell, it hadn’t been done all that much before, and I love arcade and retro games, so it was perfect. We had a gender reveal shower, and our family and friends gathered anxiously as we pumped a balloon-monster filled with air until it popped, a la the arcade classic Dig Dug. When the balloon finally burst splattering blue glitter all over the function hall’s floor, our loved ones jumped for unanimous joy as they finally were able to call their grandchild, nephew (surrogate and blood), and cousin by name—Ramon Bienvenido Ruiz. Or “Vinny,” as he would be called, to differentiate from the three generations of Ramons before him.
Less than a month later, my husband and I welcomed our new challenger. August 12, 2017 would no longer just be the day of Anaheim, California’s Annual Naruto Run (I don’t live there, but “boi,” are memes a great thing. Do a Facebook search for a Naruto Run Event near you), but the day of our first child’s birth. Our new family now had three players, and we were excited to embark on this new journey together.
However, just three days into this adventure, I had encountered a formidable obstacle. I found myself crying every day, multiple times a day. Ugly-face, despaired weeping, more accurately. I was constantly alternating between paralyzing fear for my newborn’s life with every hitch of his breath, to feeling distant and indifferent towards him. When family and friends would come over to excitedly hold my son and check in on me, I found all I could do was stare blankly past them, there in person but in orbit of Pluto in mind.
The thing that alarmed me most was my feeling of regret. I would ask myself, “Why did I do this?” and tell myself, “I shouldn’t have done this…this was a mistake…” and worst of all I’d lament, “I can’t do this.”
With everything happening in the world at the moment, I kicked myself for bringing a new life into it. I felt guilty, selfish, even, for “making” another person when it often feels there isn’t enough room for the ones that were already there. I’d go over the reasons this was a “bad idea,” but looking back now with a relatively clear mind, I remember it was never in my hands to begin with.
Psalm 127:3 says, “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” If God did not want my son to have been born, then he wouldn’t be here now, sleeping peacefully in his grandmother’s arms. He has a plan for him, just like he has a plan for me, and for every single person on this Earth. And all I need to do is do now is raise him the best I can to do what’s right and to follow our God, with the love of our Lord and Savior in his heart.
I don’t doubt we’re all familiar with Phillippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” This is absolutely true; but there will still be times when we struggle and even fail. While these struggles and failures can make us feel like all is lost at times, we need to remember our struggles and failures help to bring us closer to God, and they are all a part of His plan. I had always known this, but I guess I just needed a little reminder.
I’m positive parenthood will be a struggle, and there will be times when I fail. But now armed with the reassurance that it’s all according to His plan, I’m better equipped, powered up, and ready for the next level. Game on.
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