The last birthday before double digits. The last year in the first decade. The end of one thing. The beginning of another. The tweens. Countdown to teenager. Ouch!
I remember nine years ago today. I began the day in the same way that I ended the previous night. Laboring to birth a baby.
I had never known such exhaustion. In an instant all that changed. At 6:17 AM sheer exhaustion instantaneously changed to sheer exhilaration as Julia Christian took her first peek at the world outside the womb, uttered her first screams and gulped her first breaths of air.
She was born, she lifted her little head with her bright blue, sparkling and very alert eyes darting around the room and proceeded to nurse vigorously. She is still the most mature, gifted child who can organize a large group of her peers into order in an instant. She is still all about the food. She'll do just about anything for a dollar or a piece of candy. Still.
Until giving birth I had never experienced such high highs and low lows all in the same day, in the same instant even. I have Julia to thank for that. Unbelievable.
I remember sitting in the rocking chair all day and night for days and nights on end silently wondering if she would ever sleep and secretly hoping she wouldn't so I wouldn't have to put her down all at the same time.
She was the most beautiful baby. Really. I couldn't believe someone as wondrous as her could have my DNA.
Just last week I was sitting in the bedroom in a pile of pictures crying. Julia came and sat down with me and asked what was wrong. I told her I was sad because I couldn't remember. I couldn't remember what Baby Julia looked like. I couldn't remember.
I told her they were also happy tears because although I couldn't remember what Baby Julia looked like, I would never forget how Baby Julia made me feel so much love I thought my heart would explode.
Although I can't always remember what Baby Julia looked like or all the awesome milestones Baby Julia accomplished or all the funny, witty things she said or even the way she looked when she smiled and lit up our lives, I will always remember how Baby Julia taught me that I love being a mom. I will always remember that when Baby Julia was born I wasn't disappointed one little bit in how being a mommy really was compared to how I'd dreamed being a mother would be. It just was. The best.
Even though I made my heart promise it would never forget, time has made even those things fade. But the now things are every bit as awesome. Every bit as enjoyable. Every bit as celebrated. The highs are even higher and the lows even lower. Watching the baby become a child and the child become a little girl is incredible. Watching her personality bud and blossom is thrilling. I still stand in amazement that someone so talented, dynamic and influencing contains my DNA.
Happy number nine, JC!
"Thank God for this gift, his gift...My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God." 1 Corinthians 9:15 & Ephesians 3:14-19; The Message