Yesterday was Emma Grace’s 1st birthday. I meant to write this post on her birthday, but I was busy enjoying my ONE YEAR OLD. There are a million things I could write about Emma Grace’s first year, but today I want to share one very large lesson I learned since having her.
Before Emma Grace came into my life, I spent most of time hoping in something I didn’t yet have. I never enjoyed where God had me, instead I found myself wishing I was in the next stage of my life. I was always sure that whatever I didn’t yet have would make me happy. Having a baby was the last thing on my “I’ll be happy once I get this” list, and as soon as I had her I just wanted to go back to life before her. I realized that I had spent almost 3 years of marriage wishing for a baby instead of enjoying every moment I had with my husband.
When you have a baby you know that you will have to make sacrifices You know that you won’t sleep. You know that you are choosing to buy diapers over going to fancy restaurants. However, you don’t really think about the little things. You don’t think about the fact that anytime you are in the mood for some ice cream at 8pm you won’t be able to go out for a little ice cream date. You don’t think about how the ordeal of bringing a pack n play to a friend’s house will keep you from watching football games anywhere but your own couch. In fact, the lack of sleep will probably cause you to fall asleep on the couch after the first 5 minutes of any game. No longer can Shane and I go on impromptu date nights or sleep in on Saturdays. Never again can we just decide to get in the car and drive to State College for a football game just to make sure we don’t miss Joe Paterno’s 400th win. Never again (or at least not for another 10 years) can we go for runs together without having to argue over who has to push the stroller. As soon as Emma Grace entered the world, our lives and our marriage was forever changed.
All I wanted was to go back and savor every moment that Shane and I had spent together. I realized that I couldn’t do that, and wishing that I could go back wasn’t solving the problem. I needed to learn to find my hope in Christ, not in the future. I needed to trust that my circumstances were exactly where God wanted me, not the cause of all my problems. I had wasted 25 years wishing away my life, and if I wasn’t careful I was about to start wasting the next 25 years wishing to go back.
This realization has changed my life. Rather than trying to have 3 or 4 kids in 6 years so that ‘we will still be young when they leave the house’, Shane and I are making ‘us time’ a priority now. We have at least two date nights every month. We are going to go on a vacation without Emma Grace and attempt to not feel guilty about it. Instead of trying to get pregnant with the next one right away because we might as well ‘get this stage over with’, we are enjoying every minute we have with her right now. I am enjoying playing with her and watching her grow without pregnancy causing me to be too sick or too big to move. Once I have another one, Emma Grace will never again be my only child. I don’t want to miss this time because I was just trying to get to through the diaper stage as quickly as possible.
The first few months of Emma Grace’s life were rough, but the last 8 months have flown at a speed I didn’t know existed. I have no doubt that this next year will do the same. I am so thankful that I am finally taking in the gifts that this time has to offer instead of focusing on what I don’t have. God has me exactly where he wants me. If God had delayed giving me Emma Grace then Shane and I would have had more time together, but I wouldn’t have enjoyed it. I would have spent it yelling at God for not giving me a baby. Not only that, but I wouldn’t have ever had Emma Grace. I would have had a different child whose name may have been Emma Grace, but she wouldn’t be the incredible child that I have spent the last year with. I pray that anyone reading this post takes the time to stop wishing and start living. You are right where God wants you. What better place to be?