It’s time for another installment in “Embarrassing Moments with Kaitlin: Pregnancy Edition”.
This story begins in early days of April, 2011. I was nearly to my due date and was anxiously awaiting my husband’s return from deployment. With restlessness at a full-time high, another very pregnant friend and I often met and walked to the dog park to help us break up the day. On this particular day we walked leashes-in-hand around the long track to the dog park we heard a man yell, “HEY!” quite loudly from behind us. We both wheeled around to this distraught voice to see a young man calling after his canine escapee. Not terribly far behind us on the sidewalk, we were able to catch a full view of the man’s reaction.
Overwhelmed by the beauty of motherhood, he joyfully congratulated us and hailed the duty of motherhood. Oh wait—I wrote that entirely wrong. He stopped short, his eyes became saucer-sized, his jaw dropped and he spewed out, “Oh, God!” Shaking off his reaction, he said, “I’m sorry! From behind y’all didn’t look pregnant!” Nice save, Sir. Then again, this is what he saw when we turned:
In the final days of expecting a baby, walking with balance is an incredible feat, so having strangers cry out in horror as you wheel around is rather humbling. As the varieties of “You’re huge!” begin to replace “Good morning” and “Hello!”, human interaction becomes a bit strained.
NOT this time. Thanks to a stroke of genius and a t-shirt borrowed from my husband, I have used the pull of advertising to my advantage. My beloved has a large red shirt with the printed face of the Kool-Aid pitcher on it and quite frankly, when I wear it I am a spittin’ image for the Kool-Aid pitcher.
Why wear this shirt, you ask? As I wheel around, my surprised victims won’t see a huge belly, but a rounded pitcher with protruding arms and legs. Due to brilliance in advertising, the Kool-Aid man motto will immediately spring to mind (for people over age 18). Thus, the shocked exclamation, “OH YEAH!” will erupt. Believe me, when a woman feels about 184 weeks pregnant, she wants to hear “Oh yeah!” rather than a variation of “Good Lord!” or “Your middle is grotesquely enormous”. I’m excited to say, my evil plan has already worked.
In my new identification with the Kool-Aid man, I must say I have been inspired. Before the life-sized pitcher appears and says, “Oh yeah!” in the old-school commercials, he bursts through a brick wall. It makes me wonder what the pitcher is made out of that it can sustain that kind of damage; it looks transparent and fragile but it holds together. Life’s brick walls come in various forms and I’ve encountered a few of them during this pregnancy. On a particularly rough day I tossed on the Kool-Aid shirt and happened to glance at myself in the mirror as I went to retrieve my crying son. I smiled and had a moment where I knew that my brick walls are going down.
In a way we are a bit like pitchers. We are constantly pouring out, trying not to overflow and spill out (especially on the light-colored rugs and furniture). It’s hard to constantly be pouring out for others. There are times where I just want to say, “I’m EMPTY! Let me refill!” The temptation is that we just get fed up and refuse to pour out much at all, leaving a reserve for ourselves. The problem there is that, like a literal pitcher of Kool-Aid, the pitcher gets dirty and the contents crystallize into a goop that is no longer sweet. Instead it’s a sticky mess that requires a total scrub-out.
While I am still trying to find the balance between pouring out and refilling, I have become very aware that as I pour out I need moments to wash out and have some fresh water poured into me. To have an “Oh yeah!” life and not just a moment, I must go to the source of Living Water and find a balance.
If you’ve opened a packet of Kool-Aid or any other dyed water-additive, you know that the dye can stick to your fingers even after a good, soapy hand-washing. Starting with the water and then adding what we have makes all the difference. When I start my day with what I have to offer, sweet as it may be, it usually makes a mess. I soon become an empty pitcher next to a solid brick wall.
When I start with Living Water that Christ offers and let it make my life into a new flavor, I can be truly quenched and taste the sweetness that comes from a harmonious bond.
More than once I’ve been accused of “drinking the Kool-Aid” and there isn’t any denying it. I really can’t help it. I believe in doing things with overflowing enthusiasm. If I’m going to be pregnant, I’m going to triple that waistline and swing that belly around proudly. Our reactions to the things that overtake us (literally) can bring out the horror of others or joyous exclamations. Life is full of spills and brick walls. For all the challenges, it really helps to drink the Kool-Aid. There is nothing like overflowing with joy, busting through walls you shouldn’t be able to get through, and sharing a collective “Oh yeah!”