In eleven days, my baby will be three years old. Three. I will not attempt to wax poetic about how the time has flown, because, it hasn’t. It has, however, passed anyway. If time flies when you are having fun, then I suspect that it crawls when you are raising babies. No pun intended.
Three years ago, I was eagerly awaiting my sweet little girl’s arrival. And by eager, I mean that I was bloated, hormonal, nervous, exhausted, and terrified. And, just a little excited. I had four children already. Four voices that called me Mommy, four distinct sets of personality and needs to shape myself around. Four baby birdies with their mouths open, waiting for me to fill them with good things. It already felt like we had a very full nest.
I knew that four children was my limit. Honestly, I had thought that one or two was, but, well, life. And also, I’m not a champion at doing the same thing every day, so my little packets of birth control never really had a fair chance. And I’m glad they didn’t, now.
But then, then things were a lot more messy. My marriage was sailing in a sea of uncertainty. We spent the better half of my pregnancy separated. Both working through grief that swept us away from each other, flailing in the tidal waves of having people we both loved pass away, unexpectedly. Hearts were broken, and I found myself shattered. A broken windshield, barely holding itself together after losing a battle with a baseball bat. Caving in, and foolishly refusing to let myself fall. But also, I had four sweet kiddos who desperately needed me, and holding on is what Mommies do.
My husband moved back in, less than two weeks before my baby was born. Things were not perfect, or healed by then, and maybe I still need to let go of some of that hurt. But we were together. Though our marriage still resembled a wrinkled polyester dress shirt, we had at least laid it down on the ironing board of marriage counseling, and had started to feel the healing irons burn.
So, that is where life found us, and ultimately, where we found our girl. On July 3rd, my water broke, so early in the morning, that the sky lingered in darkness. We rushed to the hospital in a dazed alert, half tortoise, half hare. But winning. We were cared for by one of the sweetest nurses on this earth. A Scottish woman with red hair, and a voice that lilted like a lullabye. She told me that I would continue to be a great mommy, that she could see I had what it would take to raise so many, and that all my fears would pass away when I looked into the face of my ‘wee little lamb’. We spoke off and on for hours, and by the time my hand was being held, and they were delivering my girl, I believed her.
And then, She was there. My sweet, sweet girl. This little love of my life, all cheeks and chub, and dark, snapping eyes. She was so sweet, and soft, and warm, that even now, it feels like stumbling onto sacred ground, just to remember meeting her. I swear to you, that this baby is so special, that a hush fell over the room. She came into the world quietly, without even a whimper, and she brought peace with her in a way that felt tangible. The air felt thick, and I cannot tell you, how my heart ached inside of me to know this human. As my soul whispered I know you in recognition.
I had carried her with me, for 36 weeks 5 days, and now our life together was finally starting. This little girl, made my heart go up enough sizes, that it finally fills my chest with no room for emptiness. This sweet little baby, that I was so scared of raising, has been the very best thing that has ever happened to me. She is the light that turned on in the dark, showing that there was nothing under my bed, or in my closet.
Even now, she feels so new to this earth, like a clean slate, and a fresh beginning that I don’t deserve. We have volleyed our way through this year of being two. Have loved and cuddled, laughed, and sniffled. There have been three yeses for every no. For every don’t touch that, there are at least five I’m so proud of you’s, and oh, I love you so’s. There have been tantrums and fits, and knock-knock jokes, swings at the park, and so many firsts. There have been tears, for both of us, let’s just be honest, but also singing afterwards, which makes us both feel better.
Almost three years in, and I am completely in love. When I lay her down and begin to sing, my voice still catches and trips over the words. You’ll never know dear, how much I love you, please don’t take my sunshine away. Because she matters. She is here. And she means everything.
My life has not turned out like I planned. I have not gotten what I thought I wanted. But it’s better. It’s busier, and harder, and more humbling than I imagined. Three years ago, in eleven days, I walked down my stairs and towards the minivan that would take me to the hospital. Everything, from my water to my heart, felt broken inside. But then I met my daughter, who reminded me about love. Who proved that our family could go on, both in joy, and in life. My unexpected miracle, who led the way back home, and turned the front porch light back on.