This morning, I crawled out of bed at 1:36am to go sit in Harper’s room and remember what took place in that same exact moment, one year ago: little 7lb, 1oz Harper Madison entered our world. As I watched her lie there so peacefully in her crib, all grown up, all I knew to do was pray. I prayed for her life, both what has been and what may come. I prayed for her health and safety; for God to continue to show Jordan and I what it looks like to exercise wisdom in our parenting.
For someone so small, she sure has taken up a big space in our hearts and lives (I know, I know – that’s a cheesy line, but wow is it so true). I think about this walking, babbling toddler that snuggles with me on the couch every morning, knows exactly what she wants, and is constantly seeking to get into things she’s not supposed to, and I remember when the nurse first laid her on my chest, screaming and shaking and totally confused by this giant world she had just been brought into. To be honest, I was also a little confused by the world that I had just been thrown into: hello, motherhood.
I think about one of the first nights we were home with her, and she was so inconsolable and we were so sleep deprived that as I walked her around our bedroom, screaming crying, all I knew to do was pray that we would make it through the night. 360-something nights later, and we’ve gotten to know one another a lot better. Ever since I found out I was pregnant with Harper, I’ve felt this indescribable bond and care for her. But truly getting to know her — her likes, dislikes, gestures, ticks and everything in between — has been such a true joy.
I think about Harper rolling over for the first time. The first time she smiled. The first time she made little baby coos. The first time she laughed. The first time she crawled. The first time she walked. I think about the first day I went back to work and I bawled day after day, only to find that Harper was totally fine, enjoying the new scenery of “daycare” with my wonderful parents. I think about her first night alone in her own bedroom, when I was terrified but she was 100% fine and slept a solid 11 hours her first night (hallelujah, how could I NOT remember this?!) She has answered every challenge and milestone with so much grace and success, and I am just in awe of who God is molding her into.
But I also can’t help but think about how much I have grown over this past year. I think about the person who sat in that hospital bed one year ago today, and I was both oblivious to and soberly overwhelmed by the chaos that was before me in this new season of life. In my obsession with an organized, proactively planned life, Harper really threw me for a loop in every way. Suddenly, my time was not my own anymore. Some of you who know me may laugh at what I’m about to say, but I truly have learned to let things go over this past year. The living room is messy and filled with toys. Our plans get messed up. Chores don’t get done. I don’t have an uninterrupted hour to cook exactly what I want for dinner. Or watch my favorite TV show. Time is not my own, and my schedule is not my own, and you know what? That’s okay. And it’s totally worth it. God is making me into a better mom and a better disciple through showing me these painstaking but super important lessons to be learned, and I will praise Him for that. Motherhood has taught me to be a servant, and sometimes I pitch a fit the whole way through it, but God is still using me and molding me into something greater.
To my sweet Harper: I’m so grateful for all that you are. You made me a mom, and I will never find the words to say just how grateful I am that I get to call you my daughter. Even better, I can take this indescribable love I have for you and remember that God sees us in the same way – except His love is perfect, selfless, and all-knowing. It surpasses all understanding. What a gift.
Happy Birthday, Harper Madison Paschal! You and your daddy are the best thing that ever happened to me.
…SO MANY PICTURES BELOW. And I’m not sorry. :)