... of countless ways in which
Our Creator constantly romances us.
(Written January 20) This morning we finally have the long-awaited appointment to register for our third child’s birth certificate.
He was born at home more than eleven months ago, and when I called in September to schedule the appointment, this was the earliest slot available (or so they said–my inner conspiracy theorist assures me they were just punishing me for having an at-home birth, which creates more paperwork for them).
When I received the appointment notification in the mail, I once again went over all the documents required. After all, the top of the notification reads, “IF YOU DO NOT HAVE ALL THE REQUIRED DOCUMENTS AT THE TIME OF YOUR APPOINTMENT, YOU WILL NOT BE SEEN AND WILL NEED TO RESCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENT.”
And we obviously wouldn’t be able to reschedule an appointment in time for his birthday in less than three weeks. If you don’t register within one year, a whole new Pandora’s box opens of new hoops you have to jump through in order to get the certificate.
But all the required documents were there waiting in my “Freedom’s Birth Certificate” file (the baby’s name is Freedom–click here to read the story of how he got his name). So I put the appointment on the calendar and tucked everything away again in the file.
Last night I pulled the file back out to make sure everything was still there, and I can’t seem to find the “physician’s signature” on the hospital paperwork that is (somewhat ridiculously) required in order to prove that my child was born alive.
I have a very clear memory of standing there in the clinic with my one month old baby and the list of things required to be on the form, checking them all off. And now somehow that one tiny but probably all-important detail is missing.
“Should there be any question of the documents provided the Registrar shall refer the case to the Los Angeles Public Health Investigations (PHI) Office.” I do NOT like the sound of that at all. It brings up images of moms who’ve had all three of their children taken away from them and placed in foster care because they were pursuing homeopathic remedies to their child’s eczema and were therefore charged with neglect.
So I need a miracle today.
I’ve received plenty of miracles in my lifetime. Just last night, in fact.
Our car wouldn’t start when it was time to drive home, and we remembered having been very low on gas but late for the party and not wanting to stop.
We waited until the host had gone inside, said a quick prayer together, and tried again.
It started instantly, and we drove straight to the gas station. Our car has had so many of these moments, we often refer to it as our Miracle Mobile.
And today, I need one of those moments again. The kind of thing Joel Osteen tells stories about.
But is that what God wants to do here? Or does God want me to stay present and breathe through it all and stay present through the whole process of having to go back down to the free clinic and get that doctor to actually SIGN the paperwork (!!!), then scheduling another appointment and paying whatever late fee is required for registering after the child’s first birthday…. ?
In this moment, I find myself liking Joel Osteen a lot more than Eckhart Tolle.
As I laid in bed during the night thinking about this, I knew that I’ve become a lot more responsible, organized, and sensible in the past 11 months. I’ve had to, as the mom of three children. This probably won’t happen again. So this is my one chance to handle it well.
I can’t force a miracle to happen, and I know better than to be attached to that outcome. The only way to stay peaceful is to be okay with whatever happens, to trust God and know that He is in charge whether or not things go “smoothly.”
How did I get here? Probably just another case of Mommy Brain. And what do I do now? The only thing I can do–take it one breath at a time, and follow wherever this path may lead. Wish me peace.
For the conclusion of this story, click here.
For the first part of this story, click here.
Update: WE GOT OUR MIRACLE!!! Less than a minute into our drive to the appointment, my husband slowed down to allow another vehicle to go in front of us. He noticed immediately that the minivan’s license plate included the number 222, his personal you’re-on-the-right-path code. Still, it could have gone either way. Learning “the hard way” could have still been the right path. But so many little synchronicities occurred along the way, it began to feel ridiculous.
And then the moment of truth. We reached the front of the line, the clerk looked over our paperwork, and she noticed the missing signature. “The doctor was supposed to sign this,” she said, as she continued looking through the papers. I explained what little I could about how I’d had the doctor’s assistant type up a specific letter just for this purpose. She repeated, “But she was supposed to sign it.” I remained silent. What could I say?
“Well, let me make a copy of what you do have,” she said, and sent us out to wait in the lobby. In a few minutes, she brought us the forms to fill out exactly what we wanted on the birth certificate.
While we were filling that out and waiting, a cute little Armenian woman came by and began flirting with our baby, as Armenian women inevitably do, After a bit of a chat, she gestured toward my husband and said, “You have a good marriage.” I instantly flashed back to the huge fight we’d gotten into a couple days earlier, and I said, “It requires a lot of prayer.”
She looked at me funny and asked, “Did you say ‘prayer‘? That’s what I’m doing!” And she showed me the papers she’d been holding in her hands, laminated and curled up and obviously well-worn. They were photocopies of prayers she’d collected over the years, including one from The Power of a Praying Wife, which I recognized instantly.
She gave me a big hug–a long, tight hug–and she didn’t let me go. She began shaking just a little bit, like a Holy Spirit quiver, and kept holding me. In the lobby of the Los Angeles Public Health Department. She was whispering in tongues and smiling the whole time.
When she finally let me go, she went back into her office–the office of Vital Records where we were applying for a birth certificate, mind you–and made me a set of the same prayers, highlighted the “most important” parts, and laminated them for me.
And a few minutes later (or maybe a lot of minutes and several trips to the restroom later–nothing happens too fast in that building), we held in our hands two official copies of our son’s birth certificate.
Joel Osteen won. And in a way, Eckhart Tolle did too. 😉