Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Today you turned 2 years old. It has been two whole years since they placed you on my chest, after 9 months of forming you in my belly, and 9 full hours of labor. The instant I held you and looked at you for the first time, I was in awe. Awe of the miracle of life. That I was chosen to participate in this miracle that I know only God could create.
You may not know this, but you were my rainbow baby. I suffered two miscarriages after Landon and your father and I were devastated for many months. Before the day you were born -- before that moment I held you in my arms, I lived in constant fear that something might happen to you. I did not take one single healthy doctor's visit for granted. Your unborn siblings taught me the fragility of life. The sanctity of it. And allowed me to fully appreciate -- to fully be in awe of your beautiful, miraculous new life. After a long, sad storm -- you were my beautiful, bright rainbow that came from it.
You were my rainbow baby because you came after a miscarriage -- but the past two years you have been my rainbow baby for other reasons as well.
Because you were my second, I thought I knew already what I was getting into, but that might have been the biggest lie I told myself.
You were nothing of what I expected or knew of before, and I felt in many regards a first time mom again learning the ropes as I went. Before you, I always heard other women describe this fantom 'bond' they experienced when breastfeeding that I was never privileged to understand with Landon. But we got to experience it together. And it truly was an indescribable feeling and relationship that we shared. Even though I faced so many challenges I never knew of before, I look back on those 18 months with a deeply nostalgic heart that only another nursing mother would understand.
From the beginning, you couldn't stand to be apart from me and cried and cried and cried and cried unless you were nuzzled in my arms, against my chest, or nursing. Your temperament naturally led to co-sleeping, and you and I co-slept together every night together for 16 months. You nursed every 2 hours through the nights, and although beyond sleep deprived for 16 months long, I experienced a different type of closeness with you that I never experienced before.
But to be honest, I mostly look back on the past two years since you came and let out a deep exhale, because somehow, we actually survived them. They weren't easy. They tested me to a whole new level of patience with having you so attached and simultaneously staying home with and parenting a toddler. It was hard having my parents thousands of miles away and it was hard not having a mother in law around at all. The past two years were hard staying at home. The past two years made me question if I was cut out to have any more kids. The past two years tested my marriage and they drove me crazy with the sibling screaming and fighting. They broke me down into many spouts of tears over lack of sleep, hormone changes, feeling overwhelmed, and generally just not having the time or energy to do anything else, for anyone else or myself.
But in as much as hard as the past two years were, my life truly grew from them, more so than any other 2 year time frame of my life. Every difficulty I faced I discovered was an opportunity to walk deeper into truth, deeper into life, deeper into my marriage, deeper into relationships with new friends, and most importantly, deeper into my relationship with Christ. There is a different level of maturity I think that mothers of more than one child go through, and I thank you for it.
I am reminded by you in every moment that God has already written my story, and even in the hard times, He is right there with me. It was only after experiencing challenging times that I able to recognize true goodness when it came. The quiet nights rocking you to sleep in my arms, your first smiles up at my face, seeing you and your brother play and talk and stick up for one another and love each other. In all these ways you continue to be my living rainbow - you remind me of the truth, you remind me of the beauty and depth to life that can only truly be seen and felt after difficulties. I always hear every mother I know pray (and curse) to one of their children, that they end up having a child just like them. That is definitely only my prayer for you. I pray you are blessed with a child as beautiful, as smart, as sweet, as playful, as fun-loving, as strong-willed, and as bright as you. I pray that someday you get to experience this side of the relationship and know that at one time I was on your end of it with you. And in your teenage years, when maybe you and I aren't as close as we once were, I hope you know that I cried so hard when you were born, and I held you against my chest and I thanked Jesus over and over and over again for giving you to me.
I love you forever, no matter how much you test and challenge me.