As a newlywed I latched on to the wisdom of couples who had been married 25+ years. The wisdom that said, “I remember our first apartment. It was tiny and we didn’t have a kitchen table or money but we were SO happy and carefree.” And I decided that I was certainly living the best days of my life. The days of hand-me-down couches for $200, learning to manage our non-existent finances, and watching Friends together every night after 12 hour work days. Days of learning to hang shelves and pictures on the wall. Buying meaningless trinkets to “decorate”. Trying so hard to make a one bedroom apartment a home. Mostly, I remember being so happy and carefree, loving life and genuinely thinking, “marriage is so much easier than people say it is!”
And then a surprise pregnancy. Joey, waiting for me outside the bathroom door in our cozy apartment. We sat on our hand-me-down couch waiting for the pregnancy test to reveal the new trajectory of our life. Our surprise baby who rushed to the earth six weeks too early through an emergency cesarean and a 15 day NICU stay. A boy. We were so certain we were having a girl. He came home… healthy and growing yet still attached to oxygen reminding us of our scare and the medical bills looming over our heads. But he was so precious. We were so happy. And we were somehow projected from the weight of the situation. Instead we felt joy and peace. And I decided, surely, that I was living the best days of my life.
Fast forward to searching for our first house in the middle of a crushing market. We jumped in, naive and so expectant that the Lord would bring us the perfect home. Four days in and five showings later, our first offer on a small house in the most perfect neighborhood was accepted. We didn’t believe it until the keys were in our hands and we were sleeping in the house. We started making it ours. Pouring love into all that was broken and breathing new life through the blank walls. And I decided, creating a haven for my husband and my baby boy, that these were the best days of my life. Spending our days working and playing and growing together.
A few months later our hopes for another baby lined up. Two weeks later I knew in my heart that another baby was on the way. I took a pregnancy test the Monday before Father’s Day and told my 17 month old son before anyone else. Whispering, “you’re gonna be a big brother, baby!”. By 8 weeks we knew we would have a girl and name her Shiloh meaning “peace”. And that’s what she was. So much peace through a pregnancy that could have been marred by fear and anxiety. Our baby came in the early morning hours on Valentine’s Day. A redemptive, unmedicated VBAC where I felt completely at peace and in control the entire time. Joey announced, “it’s a girl” and I sighed, completely content. Shiloh. Of course. Just like the Lord promised 31 weeks earlier. The best day of my life.
And now, our little love day baby is almost one. And our miracle boy is three. And the wisdom comes at us, “it gets easier, you’re in the thick of it.” I’m exhausted. Learning and failing everyday. Yet, so happy. So in love with being needed by the little people who I adore more than life itself. So in love with the little voice that asks me to carry him up the stairs even though he is capable of walking. The same voice that whispers, “I can do it, mommy, I’m a big boy,” as he pulls his own undies on a few minutes later. So in love with late night nursing sessions when my daughter’s exhausted body relaxes, a sigh of relief from the both of us. Our safe space.
This is the thick of it yet I’m so afraid of it passing. I’m not ready for a quiet house. Or a full night’s sleep. I don’t want an empty laundry bin or clean bedrooms. And so often I live in fear. In the fear of what’s to come. The fear of no longer having my babies under my feet, pulling at my clothes. The fear of empty arms. If I’ve learned anything in my three years of motherhood it’s that you can’t bottle it up. And that is hard.
So instead. As we step into the new year, another sign of time passing, ever so steadily, I’m changing my tune. These days are precious and these days are passing. If I’ve learned anything it would be that each moment is more blessed and more abundant than the last. So I will not be afraid, because the best is yet to come.