All those clichès? They’re true.
I have no idea where the time went.
It was too fast.
And no, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Twenty years ago today I was contemplating the fact that everything I knew was about to change. Mary Hannah’s birth was a scheduled induction, so I’d had a whole week to point to Friday, September 26, 1997, as the first day of the rest of my life.
I was worried about the typical things: money, time, my marriage, not losing the “me” I had so carefully crafted in the first 22 years of my life. (Yes, I was still a month away from 23!) And you know what? I was right. I lost absolutely everything I was holding on to so desperately.
We were already broke, and the birth of our first child sent us headfirst off the cliff that separates “just making it” from the poverty line. That buffer that allowed me to read in long stretches, or waste time in front of a t.v. show? Gone. The cozy, us-centered environment that had marked the first fifteen months of our marriage? Gone. My sense of who I was, what I stood for, and what mattered? Gone.
On September 26, 1997, all of that was taken from me. What I was left with washy faith in God and 10 pounds, 2 ounces, of the rest of my life, placed in my arms still white with vernix and blinking with the newness of it all.
Suddenly, everything that had kept me awake the night before evaporated… just like the voices of wisdom that had been whispering in my ear had promised. The money? It was enough. My free time? Now spent swaying in the living room singing Van Morrison songs to my baby. My marriage? Redefined, and on the road to a strength I could never have imagined when our main pursuit was our own happiness.
And me? Completely, utterly, turned upside down… in the very deepest of ways.
Two decades have passed, and here we are. Instead of a chubby, screaming infant, we now have a beautiful, winsome young woman as our daughter. Twenty years ago, I had no concept—not even an inkling of an idea—of what today would look like. I couldn’t have imagined the joy or the pain, the fear or the excitement, the highs or the lows.
Standing here at this moment, I have to admit again: what the next two decades bring will no doubt be just as unimaginable. But I have learned this much on the road from ’97 to ’17— something bigger is in the making even now. My job is to live with loose hands that cherish the blessing of my daughter, to love her and cheer her on even as she spreads her wings beyond our home and family.
Because that is parenting. From beginning to end, it is faith, no matter how old your baby might be.