I went to bed at 8 p.m. last night, and fell asleep immediately. I woke up a couple times to pee, and the second time, I reminded myself that I need to wake up early to prepare my little thing about sacrifice to share in Sunday School (we’re on Abraham and Isaac this week).
And then I started to dream. I dreamt I was in a car, driving to church in Maine (thanks, Charlotte ;p). It was a small car; Tom was with me, and we were younger, like in our college days. In the front seat was another college-age type guy and driving was a person from my past, someone I think less and less about every day, week, month, year, but an important person who belongs in the past. We were speeding, going way to fast. It was dark, even at close to nine a.m. in the winter. There were two little girls in the back with Tom and I; I think they were our daughters, but not really our daughters yet.
We were stopped by a cop because the person from my past was (typically) going way to fast. I did the talking and got us off with a warning, because we looked presentable and were on our way to church. We went through a dark tunnel, and now the other college-age guy was driving, and he wasn’t using his lights. We asked why he wouldn’t turn the headlights on and he said something that was probably symbolic blah-blah-blah about how the light at the end of the tunnel told him the right way even with the curves, and somehow the headlights would actually be more confusing.
We got to the church in Maine, which turned out to be a gorgeous old Victorian that a church family offered for services every week. The congregation was small, and it turned out my parents and the aunt and uncle I stayed with in Germany were there. The person from my past pulled out an iPhone and tried to show me pictures of our time together. I brushed them aside, saying I thought I hadn’t kept any pictures at all, but those pictures on the iPhone were so crisp, so clear, we were so young, and, in the pictures, having such a good time.
Then my aunt came up to me and asked if I could talk to her youngest daughter who had just had a preemie baby (but somehow it was also adopted) and she was trying to stimulate milk production so she could breastfeed this tiny new daughter, but it wasn’t going very well. I said sure, gratefully, and escaped to where my cousin was. I told her my breasts had felt full the past few days, since I’m four months pregnant, and I thought I might have some colostrum, so could I try to feed the baby? She passed the perfect, tiny baby over to me and I showed her how to latch (and there was some other stuff about aereolas and nipple stimulation, etc, but I’ll spare you that), and suddenly I was my current-day self (obviously, because I’ve nursed babies and I’m currently pregnant). And that baby went after my milk like a sailor on shore leave and now I’m crying because I can’t wait to hold my own baby like that. I’m as excited and eager for this fourth child as I was for my first, and my second and my third, and that surprises me.
Then I woke up and realized this really puts a kink in what I was going to say in Sunday School (after I told Tom that, no, I wasn’t going to bring up anything about how the Muslims believe it was Ishmael who was sacrificed, or what I have been thinking during our family scripture study — that though the whole earth is supposed to be blessed through Abraham’s seed, it actually seems that almost every war ever fought can be traced back to Abraham through the rivalry between Christians, Jews, and Muslims).
No, I was going to say, before this little dream, that the only real thing I’ve ever sacrificed was my own ambitions, in order to be a mother, and to be a mother the way I have chosen to be. I was going to say that, of course, what I have learned in ten years of this “sacrifice” is that when I am happier in sacrificing, I think it is both a more acceptable offering to the Lord and an easier sacrifice for me to make. So the moral was that God liked Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac because there was no whining from Abraham about all the poopy diapers he and Sarah changed and all the hours they spent raising him into a kid who could actually pull his weight around the farm.
Instead I have to admit: I have sacrificed nothing.
I could say I have sacrificed this sin or that sin, and in some cases, that took a lot of work.
I could say I have sacrificed a night of sleep here or there (though much less it seems than most mothers).
I could say I have sacrificed my desire to do what I want when I want and in as much quiet as I want.
I could say I have sacrificed the life I might have had for the life I have now, but that sounds like a lie.
Now I have confused myself and have to look up sacrifice. “the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.”
Turns out I have sacrificed a lot, and hope to be able to sacrifice much more, because so far, what I’ve gotten in return is much higher and pressing.
(And yes, it is easy to say that when the kids are all still asleep and I can make pancakes and stuff my face in the blessed early-morning quiet.)