Friday, October 10, 2014

The Fastest, Bestest 12 Months Of My Life

Happy 1st Birthday, Nathan!

(Photo credit goes to my awesome BIL Clarence. Our family gatherings would never be properly documented were it not for him. Also, for the future Josie who will read this someday and potentially accost me for not including her in the picture: You were there, Sis. I promise. You were just glued to your Aunt Tammy's lap and would not budge to sing and blow out the candles with Nathan. So yes, you were there, even if you weren't in the picture. Booyah.)  

Nathan, right now- you are sleeping in your crib, snuggled in your favorite blue Bundy blanket, wrapped in the quilt made by your MawMaw Valerie and squished next to the Lamby that your big brother bequeathed to you a few months back. If I were to judge the amount of people that love you just by the contents of your crib alone, it would be an easy call to make to say that there are plenty of people around who just can't get enough of you.

But it's bigger than that. 

There are currently 12 cups of variously tinted shades of buttercream icing sitting in our icebox waiting to be spread on top of the soon-to-be-baked cakes for your party on Saturday. Just about every relative you have and friend that you've made is going to be making their way (Some from four states away!) to our house for your party tomorrow. There are presents stashed in closets and in the back of my van and in bags that will certainly more than cover the top of the fireplace hearth on Saturday. If I were to judge the amount of love that people have for you just by the amount of birthday party preparations that are currently taking place, it would be an easy call to make to say that we love you.

But it's bigger than that, too.  

Nathan, I've been trying to write this post for two weeks now. I've never seemed to be able to get much farther than past that first sentence without welling up, breaking down into a ball of tears, and closing my laptop. I can't seem to write you this amazing, wonderful, fabulous HBD letter without crying because I just can't imagine our lives without you. 

It's been a year since you turned us into a family of five and my days have never been better. I've blossomed and bloomed and been blown away by the changes that you've made in our family. And, when I think about how we weren't trying to get pregnant when God decided to bless us with you- I'm overcome with thankfulness because we have you and sadness that we almost didn't. I'm in awe of the plan God put into place by blessing us with you, our very own "Bonus Baby". We may not have been expecting you, but for every second that we've know about you- every single moment since we saw that little pink plus sign on our bathroom counter- WE HAVE WANTED YOU. You completed our family in ways that we couldn't even imagine. 

You have come into our lives and blessed us beyond measure in more ways that I can even fathom. I can't talk to you yet about what my pregnancy was like with you because honestly, I'm not ready. It was a scary, uncertain, and at moments paralyzing time for us. It literally brought me to my knees and shook me to my core as a parent, as a child and as a person. It was the most stressful, fearful, worried time of my life- but I am so glad it happened. Because people don't always grow when life is easy. And as much as I grew in pounds and inches while I was pregnant with you, I grew even more in God's grace and favor. You were growing inside of me while I was growing inside of Him.

It's through that time that my relationship relationship with Jesus got even deeper. He carried me while I was carrying you. He held my hand (and your Dad's) through all the extra high risk doctors and ultrasounds and blood work and genetic counselors. As we went forward after church one Sunday and asked the congregation to lift us up as we prepared for news and waited for answers. As I foolishly Googled every possible genetic abnormality and accompanying physical and mental handicaps associated with them. Jesus was with me as I mentally renovated our house to make it handicap accessible and as I installed a wheelchair ramp into our front door. At the end of all of things, we ended up not needing to call that contractor about that ramp installation, but I'm a stronger/better/wiser Mom and wife and woman because of the journey. One day I'll tell you the rest of the story. But not today. Right now, I want to put the Kleenex away and break out the balloons. 

So for now, I'm going to celebrate you. I'm going to rejoice in the extra gallon of Vitamin D milk I get to finally see in our icebox again. And in the 32 baby wipes I found strewn across the living room floor late last night with the empty Huggies box beside them. I'm going to laugh at the dog's turned over water bowls. And the clementine I pulled out the fruit drawer this morning for your Dad's lunch that had a conspicuously Nathan-sized hole in the rind where someone's tiny teeth had recently been. (By the way, I finished peeling it, stuck it in a Ziplock and we are gonna eat it for breakfast anyway.) I'm going to celebrate the fact that I'm once again doing visual scans of surfaces and floors and rooms looking for potential infant choking hazards. (How did we acquire so many SMALL TOYS?!) I'm so excited that I get to see another baby learn to walk. And talk. And do that adorably cute spider/crab crawl across our living room rug again. I can't wait to have more tiny teeth marks on the two unprotected side bars of the nursery crib or see those teeny smeared handprints on the bottom window panes of our French doors. 

You're ONE YEAR OLD NOW, and while it's been the busiest, blurriest, fastest, most whirlwind 12 months of my memory- they have been the best times of my life. Spending my days with you and your brother and your sister are honestly the most fun I've ever had in all my born days.   

You're the biggest bonus blessing in my life, Nathan. You're the best gift I've ever gotten that I never even knew to ask for. God blessed us so much with our surprise in you, my sweet fella. I'll forever be grateful to Him for that.  

Don't ever forget that Momma loves you heaps and gobs and bodacious amounts. 
And I always will. 

"Let the wild rumpus start!" Maurice Sendak