a love revolution.

My heart is in a constant struggle between two sides of my absolute delight in our daughter.  On the one hand, her burgeoning language, movement, and cognitive skills are a fast stream of fun and challenges for me and Sam. Every day she does something new (this is the way of babies!) and every day we just can’t believe that she is ours. But then I start penciling in all the August activities on our family calendar and well, well, what do you know?

Clara is turning one year old this month.

We have had an entire year with our little girl, and I would do anything to live it again. From the moment I went into labor to this very moment as I cut her grapes in half for lunch, my heart has filled and filled and filled. Clara’s life, her 346 days in our family, started a love revolution in this house, an overthrow of our old way of living. And while I delight in every day that she grows and changes, I dread the days ahead when I wish to hold my baby again, the day that she is grown and I ache to smell her sweet baby skin just one more time. 

Sam and I were married four years before we had a baby, and during those four years I knew I didn’t want a family yet. I was certain that children would be a hassle, a constant buzz kill on our self-filled lives. “We’re not ready yet,” we would dismiss with a wave of our hands. We worshipped our money, our time, and our freedom, I recognize now, and it was wrong.

I don’t think everyone should be parents. Parenthood is a heavy responsibility, one we will answer to God for, and it requires more of a person than any other responsibility in the world. But it is also the greatest, most fulfilling, tear-your-heart-apart LOVE that can ever be experienced. This kind of love changes you. It shifts your focus, it alters your perspective, and it reveals more about your Heavenly Father than anything else ever could. I could not understand how God felt about me until I saw Clara and realized how I felt about her. 

The old me was right, of course: being a mother is difficult, frightening, worrisome work. Clara’s needs, especially in this first year, have been consuming and constant. What the old me did not know – could not know – was how much better life would be when our children arrived. Better doesn’t begin to touch it, actually. Parenthood is a rush of fresh breeze after a lifetime of sucking up canned air. I have ripped off my oxygen mask and felt the cool wind of beautiful sacrificial love, and I will never be the same.

A child’s needs will reveal your faults, your strengths, your grit and your tenderness. It will wear down the bits of you that should not be there, and it will build up part of your heart that you never knew existed. It is frightening and thrilling and lovely, all at once.

I am learning this day after day after day after day, and you know what?
I only wish I’d had children sooner.
Let the revolution roll on, my friends.
Cause there’s nothing better on Earth than this kind of love. Nothin’. 

These pictures are from a few nights ago. Clara let me hold her as she fell asleep, which has happened about twice since she was a newborn (the girl has got quite the independent spirit, let me tell you). You should’ve seen me; I was like a hiker who looks up and notices a deer lapping from a stream. I wouldn’t move for fear of chasing the moment away. Especially since she is almost one, almost a toddler, a thought that makes me weepy. I motioned to Sam to please take a picture of the moment for me, in case there are not very many of them left to come. He did, and although I am in my pajamas with no makeup and they are a little blurry because the room was so dim… they have become a few of my favorite shots of all time. 
Thank you, my love, for capturing how I felt. 

2 thoughts on “a love revolution.

  1. Funny as I read this I have all the feelings I felt come back. For me I was 21 and very over whelmed. At 19 I got married and moved over to the desert. (what is this place calledEastern, WA with no shopping?) Then my 21st birthday came and shortly after surprise we were having a baby. I still had no friends, my family was 4 hours away and now I was having a baby. All of my friends were off at college having fun. What had I done! My life as I knew it had ended. I was excited and terrified at the same time. Fast forward to Seth being born. An emergency csection and then here he was. I remember when he cried for the first time it took my breath away. It is a moment I cannot put into words. Only a mom who has experienced it knows. After that I struggled with a baby who cried a lot and a new body that I didnt recognize. I cried alot too. Then 17 months later Ezra also joined us via C-section. My body was tired from nursing and being pregnant. I was overwhelmed and sad that this joyous thing called motherhood was so exhausting an overwhelming to me. Luckily I had an angel of a lady next door who would help me out and invite me over for coffee and hold my babies. I look back now and realize that God used those years to strengthen me. You see before I relied on everyone and in that time I had to learn how to be strong. I wish I could go back and hold my babies and just enjoy being a mom. I long for it now SO much. I know I would be better if I had a baby now. For God's reasoning that was my journey. I love my boys and figured it out along the way and was refined and strengthened in the process. I think I did ok and you dear Jessie will do even better and God will refine you in the process! Enjoy sweet Clara it makes my heart happy to know you figured that out right away! Go hide from the sun and enjoy your baby. Well maybe get out every once in a while….vitamin D is good for you! 🙂

  2. I hear you on this, Kelly! I can't imagine being 21 with my first baby and then 22 with my next! That is so young! You're amazing to have made it through some hard years, and now you have two wonderful boys in your home. What a testimony to the fact that God can use us no matter what we think of ourselves. I wish I could've known that young mommy Kelly and been a friend to her- thanks for the reminder that motherhood is a different journey for everyone- I'm going to look for a mom to love on and encourage this week because of your comment. LOVE YOU!

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