It's 12:43 at this very moment. This time last year, I was begging Justin to take pictures of our slightly blue baby, the perfect little girl they immediately whisked away from me despite my request to have her as soon as she came out of her womb-apartment. But I suppose when babies are bluish they don't really care what your Birth Plan looks like, even if she's 3 minutes old.
At the time, it felt like the strangest experience of my life. It's like the entire pregnancy was pretend, even on the days she balled her fists of fury up under my ribs and refused to submit to my pleas for her to stop. And then the baby actually arrives after 14 hours of labor and a last minute ride to the hospital and you still can't believe it actually happened. They hand you this pinkish chubby-thighed human being and tell you she's yours to keep forever. I remember spending that whole first day slightly confused, how I was pregnant yesterday and not pregnant today, wanting to go home but scared to take her out of the hospital. We've come a long way, baby.
This past year has been more delightful, more challenging, and more fun than I ever imagined. I mean, I had pretty high hopes, but she's blown them all out of the water. One thing so many people told me before she was born was about how hard it is, how tired you are, how you have no freedom. I didn't want to take that to heart, I wanted to have my own experience and to experience it with Justin. So from the moment she arrived at 12:40 p.m. on April 24, 2012, I promised to enjoy her no matter what. I promised that at 3 a.m. when I haven't slept in three days and she wants to nurse again, that I would enjoy her and the moment and realize that the next time she wants to nurse, she will be older and bigger and more grown. You can't let that pass by.
I savored her in each moment, relishing my role as primary diaper-changer, head tear-wiper, and the person she reaches for in a room full of people. That's the bread and butter.
I see now, more than ever, why God assures us children are a gift from Him. They are. They really, really are. And Quinlan Justine is the most precious gift He's ever given me and every morning when I pick up her rumpled-up toasty-warm body from her floral print sheets, I thank Him for her.
More than that, I pray for her. I pray that her love for Jesus would be evident to everyone she meets. I pray that Justin and I would be examples of Christ's love for His church and that He would provide us with the much-needed wisdom to parent her in this ever-crazy world. I don't pray that she would be incredibly intelligent or beautiful or full of personality. All of those are good things, but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is if she loves Jesus and choose to follow Him all her days. That is all we really want for her.
I love you, Quinlan. Daddy loves you. Oma and Pop-Pop and all your aunties and uncles adore you. Happy First Birthday, baby. You are my joy.
Many thanks to my delightful friend Jessica Klick for taking so many great photos of Quinnie's special day. Muah!