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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday, My Baby Girl

Okay, the title is not as cute as the littlest girl one. But I stole that one from a book we read.

Today is my oldest's birthday. We don't forget that one as easily, because we were at the hospital two hours after she was born. We spent the night in a hospital room, with her, as she made her little breathing noises. It was one of the first nights I didn't sleep like a rock. How could I, with all those little noises coming out of her?
It was cold that year. We drove to the hospital in snow. We left the hospital in -10 degree weather. We did drive slow, because we were new parents, but also because of the snow that had fallen the night before. While we were in the hospital, all we could do was wait impatiently for someone to tell us we could go home. When we got home, we couldn't believe someone let us leave with something so small and fragile. ACK! We were in charge of keeping another human being alive at the most precarious time of their life.
Thankfully, I had given most of that anxiety to God. I knew that if I didn't trust Him to give her her next breath, I would be spending the next 3 months on the floor by her crib. Staring at her while she slept. Oh, it was tempting. But sleep deprivation really helps with the trust thing. She gave us our share of scares--asphyxiating on her own puke, sliding out of her car seat while it was on the table, that kind of fun stuff. But thankfully she did all that while we were all awake and somewhat alert.
Although blurry, I have deep, precious memories of the first few months with her. The extent to which she changed our lives was profound. And it continues to be so.
Every day I struggle with the high expectations I have for the future, while balancing her present needs. I wish for an instruction manual, like all parents. I wish for all the answers to my questions, for confidence in my decisions, for wisdom in my actions. All I can do is immerse myself in the Word. In that place, I can find perfect love. I can find sinful people. I can find the interaction between the two that is mind-shattering. And soul shattering. And sometimes, when I can stop thinking of myself, I can feel the Love that I am instructed to share with my girls. And I am humbled and thankful. And more resolute. If God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, I think I can have grace for one more muddy dress. For one more interruption. For one more small sacrifice that is an inconvenience to me, but a lifeline for them. Thank you, my girl, for showing me what love is.

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