Four years ago today, I was getting stuck with an epidural. Three attempts later, I looked up to see my husband passed out on the floor, shirt stripped off his back, getting oxygen from one of the nurses. Really?! Really.
Before my husband and I even conceived Matilda, we imagined the children we would bring into the world. It took us nearly a year to get pregnant, and in the ups and downs of the months that went by, we grew more hopeful and more frustrated.
I remember at one point telling him, "It's strange. On one hand I feel like we're not even ready for a baby, and on the other it feels like we should have a four-year-old and a couple more by now." I guess it seemed to me that there was such an eternal perspective about our journey together that I couldn't piece together the here-now and the yet-to-come.
And now...here she is...our four-year-old.
Becoming a parent is a limitless experience. Every day has its aggravations and its deep joys. I'm sending a child to the corner in one minute, and the next I'm being tackled with snuggles so fierce I can't imagine my life without it. It's been said that having a baby is like watching your heart walk around outside your own body, and that's just about the best metaphor I can imagine.
My heart's been walking in the world for a full four years today. She is the most gifted, loud, charming, assertive, creative, frustrating, imaginative, unpredictable, thoughtful person I know. I like her very, very much, and I'm incredibly blessed to get to love her as well.
The thing about becoming a parent is that you don't get to choose who your kid will be. They are the only people that you will forever be obligated to that you have no choice as to who they are. You get to grow up and leave home, you can distance yourself from other relatives if need be, you get to choose your friends and your spouse...but kids...well, they are a prayer and roll of the dice.
I don't know who Matilda will grow up to be exactly, but I'm four years in and absolutely mesmerized by who she is. Children have a way of enjoying the world around them that we tend to lose as we grow up. She challenges me, humbles me, and brings me to my knees in prayer more than anyone ever has, and I'm so grateful for that. Each birthday is not only a celebration of her life, but a chance to thank God for the opportunity to have become a mother through this little being.
Someday she won't need me in the same way she needs me now. The days of her youth are fleeting, and I know in a flash I'll be transported to a new role as our relationship develops in the years to come. I pray each day that I can share in her life, deepen my liking and love for her, and always remember that on November 1, 2009, my life was changed for the better forever.
Happy Birthday my darling, and thank you. xoxo.