The inanimate image of a soft flaky crust, strawberry filling, and sweet sugary icing took on a life of its own and lured my desire more fervently each and every time I allowed myself to walk by. As I gazed at it for the third time, I found myself stuck in that Giant Eagle aisle for several minutes just staring at it. It wasn’t that I had never had a craving for Toaster Strudel before. It’s just that the last time it happened I was a Sophomore in college and Diet Mountain Dew was the way I helped it or my Strawberry PopTart digest during finals week. That particular Wednesday morning, my nutritionally conscience identity was being thwarted by a strange craving for a food I haven’t eaten in years, and I wanted it soooo bad. I resisted based on the fact that a PopTart would indeed be a nutritional upgrade. Next, I found myself smiling uncontrollably in the aisle that sells a particular type of test. I splurged for the kind that has words instead of pink lines.
I waited until Rita went down for her nap. As the James and Josie practiced dunking each other in the bathtub, the suspicious craving for the Toaster Studel was confirmed on a silent stick that spoke loud and clear.
For the second time on the afternoon of January 22nd, the day we March for Life and stand for innocence, I was once again entrusted with a tiny little heart beat, a new and unique set of fingerprints, a particular mission in which I get to participate, teach, witness.
The feeling of surprise was surpassed by the type of joy that only comes as a gift from God, the kind that makes my stomach shake, puts shiver in my limbs and a quiver in my voice.
I let the kids play until the fingers were way past soggy and I jumped up and down for a solid twenty minutes while tears continued to come and confirm once again: definitely pregnant, and also pretty crazy with a considerable amount of uncontrollable emotion with which to grace my husband and children for the next several months.
I had been on this exact winter’s day two years prior and I had so not been ready to hear this news. I said “yes,” then, but it hurt, in a way that a really big sacrifice hurts. Through that experience I think maybe I began to scrape at the surface of what it really means to love, and to receive love from a God who has plans and ideas that I don’t always understand, or appreciate due to a hot summer and too many unwanted pounds slowing me down and hurting my feet. Its also the kind of pain from which true beauty and joy is born, the kind that pierces the heart and makes me long for God.
And this time, while my life and circumstances are probably even crazier, more chaotic, less socially acceptable than they were last time, I have all those feelings of excitement and longing and wanting every single part of this tiny little one at all moments, even the ones when my head is in the toilet or when I the think about all of the waddling. The gratitude I have for God’s generosity in bringing that moment of difficulty full circle is immense and I really hope I can let it edify me.
So on this special day on which the Church remembers Gabriel whispering the will of God to a young girl named Mary, I remember the time Toaster Strudel whispered God’s message to me. And I really wish I had some in my pantry.
Happy Feast Day!