I cried this morning (and every morning this week) as I nursed her. Bittersweet thankful tears. How in the world a year has flown by I do not know. I still stare at her in shock. Amazed that she's real and in my arms. Amazed that she's SO beautiful. Amazed by the miracle of life. Amazed by God's goodness and love for us.
When you've witnessed every possible thing that can go wrong in a baby it's easier to stand in awe when things go right.
A year ago I was awakened in the night by a big surprise... a wonderful surprise. I laid in bed the night before feeling like I could burst wondering how I could wait two more days to meet this babe. And God said, "Ok, baby girl, Let's Go."
The tears and the joy in her delivery will never escape me. And that was just the beginning of His restoration.
I didn't let her leave my side for a couple days. I slept with her in my arms all night long in the hospital the first couple nights despite the looks of concern and offers to help from the nurses. I brought her home and still slept with her in my arms for months. (Even though I'm definitely not by nature into the whole co-sleeping business.) Daniel joked that she might move out of our room around high school age. (She's happily sleeping in her own room now.)
It just seemed like day after day she was pouring God's love on me in the most simple ways. Through each milestone she's passed and each hurdle we've faced it's His goodness that's carried us.
I've mentioned before the oddity of experiencing extreme joy & extreme grief simultaneously. There have been so many moments of that this year. Shame sneaks up and guilt wants to rear its ugly head while I'm enjoy my beautiful healthy baby. The loss is no less because of the gain of new life. There's still hope in eternity in the joy of the present, even on days I'm longing for the past. I'm ok with that and God's given me that freedom to feel those feelings - no apologies for when they come.
Stella has truly been a gift of God's redeeming love. I can see it when Ryder stares at her and delights in her antics. I can feel it when Paisley holds her and calls her sissy. And I can see the fullness of it when she bounces on her knees and squeals, "Dadadadada!" when Daniel comes through the door. It's in every reach, every touch of her hand and every babble she makes. His goodness is here.
Yep, she's hit a crazy phase. She's into EVERYthing. She's a constant ball of energy. She loves life and loves people and she's testing alllll the limits. But even in that there's a joy that is indescribable.
I felt so robbed of so many things. I felt such resentment for things that would never be. But somehow He's given me those things a new. In her.
Stella Wren, we love you more than all the stars in the sky.