Sometimes, at complete random, I stop during the day and try to remember where I was a year prior. What was I doing? What life events were swirling around in my life and what emotions were tumbling through me? Today, while spit-up splatted on the floor, a very dirty diaper found its way to the trash can, a bloody scratch to the face wreaked havoc on the bassinet and and Mommy’s heart, and screams escalated through the house all day, I tried to remember what I was doing this time last year. Then, it came to me.

Around this time last year, I was preparing for marriage. With about a month left, I was quickly wrapping up the many details involved, watching my mother as she finished sewing my wedding dress, and was attending two bridal showers so lovingly thrown in my honor. I flew to Virginia for one of them. I was so humbled by the number of friends who had put aside their Saturday to celebrate with me. The afternoon was filled with gifts, compliments, advice, and, of course, jokes. My girlfriends teased me the entire afternoon, prophesying about my “honeymoon baby.” I set them straight, making them aware we were not going to have a honeymoon baby. “We need time to settle into our new lives.” “Richard and I are going to wait a few months before we get pregnant.” No, they laughed. You’re going to be calling us right after the honeymoon, announcing your pregnancy. I laughed…so did God.

A year later, and my little house is filled with baby things. A high chair peers at me from across the kitchen. The bouncer and portable mobile on loan from my very generous sister-in-law stand proudly in the den, where they are used frequently during Elizabeth’s three o’clock playtime. Richard’s weight room was emptied and transformed for a little person who now sleeps in there. I laughed a year ago. Today, I pray and love.

I am not the same person I was before November 19th, 2009. I don’t think any woman who grows and delivers a child can be left unphased by that miracle. At the same time, I have more confidence in myself than ever before yet am constantly shaken to the core when I gaze at my child. She is my little person–on loan to me from God. A precious, empty book I am to fill with love and Faith. Everyday is guesswork and, with difficulty, each day is also begun and ended with fervent, fearful prayer for her and for me.

A year ago, I lived in an apartment alone and slept in my own bed. Today, I live in a house again, and share a bed with my best friend. Twelve months ago, I was free, young. Now, I am shackled with responsibility and don’t quite feel so youthful anymore. Last January, I laughed at the possibility of childrearing, but secretly prayed God would be so good to me. This New Year, I have learned not to laugh or fear, but to trust, a lesson I re-learn constantly.

As different as life is now, I would never go back. I live for each day and the lessons and experience it might bring. Responsibility, not freedom, has become a true blessing in my life. The reality of children lies sleeping in my bedroom in her tiny bassinet and I acknowledge quite soberly how possible life is.

I cannot help but wonder where life will find my family and me in a year. Some things are certain, like military business. Other things are unknowns, too far in the future to speculate. Regardless, I know that laughing at reality and possibilities are only masks of fear sometimes. But, when that reality arrives, it can truly be the biggest blessing of all.

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