Warning: To my one dear friend and reader who is emetophobic, you might want to skip this post. Seriously.

We like pictures around here. You probably already knew that. And of all the pictures we have hanging up here and there, my favourites are always the 5 x 7’s. (How many centimetres that is, I’m not sure, but it’s a step larger than the standard size that’s called “jumbo” in SA.)


For some reason if I had to choose what photo is my favourite in each room, I would almost always choose one in a 5 x 7 frame, because the 5 x 7 pictures always seem like the perfect size. They are big enough to stand alone, but not overbearing when coupled with smaller frames or overwhelmed when paired with 8 x 10s. And they seem just the right size for giving adequate justice to a picture, where you can enjoy it from far away, but also come close and see a little more detail. A good picture frame can really complement the shot.

Like a perfectly sized picture frame, life sometimes seems to bring things into just the right frame for me, in the right timing, so that I see things from a good perspective. In this season, the frame that has perfectly encircled the photo of life for me has been one of thankfulness.

When the Bear joined our family, I was most certainly thankful, but I also struggled. I focused a lot on how little sleep we were getting. I focused on how hard the labour and birth and first two nights in the hospital were. {I really struggled to let that go.} I focused on how hard it was to breastfeed for the first time. I focused on how hard it was going to be when my Mom left Scotland and we had to jump into the ocean of parenthood just us two. The road to recovery from labour seemed like an un-ending, discouraging journey, and while I was very happy that we had been blessed with a child, I spent more time worried whether I was doing things right, how I was going to make it, discouraged and fearful, and not thankful.

Kind of a lot has changed in these two and a half years, even though the circumstances of this birth have been similar in some ways. We aren’t getting the sleep we might like to be getting. I’m still not fully recovered from the toll that labour tends to take on one’s body. And a few nights ago, a perfectly timed “fountain” during a diaper change watered a bowl of raisins, my late night snack sitting by the bed.

Yes, the baby peed on my raisins.

And the next night, after a day of burps and spit-ups from the little one, the Bear emptied his entire dinner onto his high chair, the table, my legs and flip flops and the floor. Immediately following dinner’s return to the table? The French Toast he had for lunch.

I had the idea that I’d enjoy a good soak in the tub with some nice bath stuff some friends gave me at the Baby Shower that night — I ended up sharing that tub with the Bear while I got us both cleaned up. We often comment on the surprising and sometimes shocking things we see outside our door around these parts with the acronym “T.I.A” — This Is Africa. That night was born a new acronym: T.I.P. — This Is Parenthood.

While things still seem a little crazy, we’re much more relaxed with a newborn in the house this time ’round. Breastfeeding has been easier and less painful, and we’ve had lots more help — which has been absolutely wonderful since there are two little ones to juggle. I think we’re getting more sleep than we did at this stage last time, and I think this little one might just be a little easier to handle, mayhaps.

And while these things have helped shape the experience of welcoming our second child into the world, I don’t think any of them is the number one factor contributing to the way I am perceiving my circumstances this time. You see, during the past two and a half years, I’ve had some heart-wrenching conversations with two couples that HH and I are close to who are walking the road of infertility right now. They’re couples that love each other and love God, and I think they’d make far better parents than most — they are just wonderful, incredible people. And while infertility was the subject of discussion for my Master’s Thesis in Edinburgh, it has only become real since I have begun to understand it through the lenses of these friendships.

I’ve wept with these friends and for these friends in the midst of this struggle. They rejoiced with us at the birth of the Bear, and now at the birth of Baby Brother. And their experiences have put my life into a fresh perspective and helped me to recognise that while I might like to complain about the hard stuff…sleepless nights, soggy raisins and barf…I now better understand the privilege that parenthood is. Our time with these little ones is precious, and too special to waste being frustrated when life gets out of control.

When we’re instructed to number our days, or we take time to count our blessings, I think we begin to train our hearts to put the right frame around the lives we are living. Everything may not be perfect. Everything probably isn’t easy. But if you have a place to live and food to eat, I think those are good places to start, with a heartful of thanks.

Finding the right frame enhances the beauty of the picture. What’s framing the photo of your life right now?