Yesterday was my birthday. I am not posting this in order to fish for birthday well-wishes. I have received (and enjoyed) plenty of those this week. In fact, thanks to my mother-in-law and her joy of celebrating birthdays, I have adopted her practice of celebrating birthweek. Not just birthday. Birthweek commenced last Thursday and we've been celebrating for days now. I am having a blast. We've been out to eat a couple of times, we've gone bowling, and even spent a day at the Newport Aquarium. Birthweek ends tonight, actually. We have made arrangements for some friends to keep Eisley for us, while we go out for sushi (YUM) and a movie.
That is all beside the point.
My perspective on things sure has changed since I became a mom almost six (!) months ago. I made a very dramatic entrance into the world. Or so I am told. My dad loves to tell the story. I was born prematurely, had some complications at birth, stayed in the NICU for a couple of weeks, and my mom and dad were released from the hospital without getting to take me home. My mom and dad lived an hour away from the hospital, so they drove every day to see me during visiting hours. Apparently, at one point I stopped breathing and no one had noticed-- my dad and my aunt Mary were peering through the glass window and noticed that I had turned an odd shade of blue. They found my nurse and they intervened and here I am. When my parents did take me home from the hospital, I didn't weigh very much. My parents had to feed me every 2 hours around the clock for the first few weeks. I was hard work.
I've heard that story a thousand times. I hear it every year on my birthday in fact. And a few times in between birthdays, too. But this year it has new meaning.
It takes a truly selfless person to parent and to parent well. Nothing is about you anymore. Before becoming a parent myself, when I would hear this story, I didn't quite get the significance of all of it. I didn't quite understand all the things my parents must have been feeling as they watched their little girl in her first few days of life from behind glass instead of holding her in their arms. I've never really understood what a big deal it must have been for my parents to have to feed me every 2 hours once I DID get to go home. Oh my, how exhausted they must have been. That gives me a new appreciation for those 3 & 4 hour stretches of time we got to sleep in the night when Eisley was brand new. And all my experiences with Eisley have given me a new appreciation for all my parents did for me.
Anyway, I think it gives my dad such joy to remind me of my birth story, because still to this day, 29 years later, I know he marvels at me. The way I marvel at my own daughter. I see it in his eyes when he tells me this story. He's still blown away by the fact that I am his daughter. For my dad, the events that surrounded my birth were and are a miracle. I like that my dad adores me. I used to think that my dad liked to remind me of my birth story to remind me of how much hard work I was-- but that's not it at all. He is a dad that is still as much in love with his daughter as he was 29 years ago when he and my mom weren't sure I'd ever get out of the hospital, or make it one more day. He marvels at me today, not because of the choices I have made in my life or because of my successes. And he marvels at me in spite of my failures. He marvels at me because I am his daughter, and that's it.
...Enter cheesy God analogy...
Except it's not cheesy at all. It's the truth. God still marvels at you. At me. At all of us. He is pleased with his workmanship in you and he delights in you. We are hard work. But our Abba loves us in spite of that. Just because we are his children-- that's it.
None of this is profound really and it's nothing that hasn't been said 1000 times before by every other parent. But I'm just feeling pretty loved today-- by my own parents, in thinking about all the sacrifices they have made on my behalf over the years-- and most of all, by my Father in heaven-- who made the greatest sacrifice of all, on my behalf, over 2000 years ago.