Twenty-four years ago I sat at the head of an oak dining room table with ten candles atop my cake. In the chairs sat my sister and a few friends. My mom and dad crowded around, taking pictures and singing. I looked at my cake, closed my eyes and whispered in my mind to no one in particular, “Good-bye, single digits.”
“I did it. I really did it.” Those were my first weepy words to my mom 10 years ago as my first tiny baby was passed around the birth room. I had been scared to death of giving birth but somehow by God’s grace, my body cooperated like so many others before me and had birthed a tiny little Emma Grace.
I spent the next few days trying to figure out nursing, fielding visitors with this new grandbaby girl, and managing pain. When the last day arrived, we dressed in her little outfit and Scott put us in the back seat of our black Chrysler. I realized amidst all the activity in the past few days, months really, that I had this tiny little person in a really big world I was responsible for. I think I cried the whole way home and then sat on the couch in the living room and did the same.
I was scared to death.
A few months later, a friend who had known me since college was chatting with me and he said, “You’ve changed since you had Emma.”
“Changed?” I asked, “How do you mean?”
“I don’t know,” he fumbled, “You just have.”
I wasn’t sure what he meant exactly, I mean, I’m sure my conversations were different, but I still felt like me.
“I don’t want to depress you,” the doctor said at the end of our check-up last week, “but I think I should point out that you’re more than half way done with your time with Emma at home. Make sure to enjoy your time.”
It was too late to depress me. I’ve been counting down until 10 for 10 years. What is it about 10? Maybe because I had remembered so distinctly turning 10 myself. It felt like a turning point of sorts. The numbers look a lot like teen ages–a lot like the years when you start kissing and driving and working and more to the point, leaving.
I birthed a tiny Emma Grace but she won’t stop this growing business.
I read this post from Lisa-Jo yesterday and a line broke me.
There is no book knowledge that can prepare you for the act of creation or how brave you will become.
Brave. Yes. That is the change Emma has made in me.
I was just a scared little girl in a Chrysler not sure how to take care of a fearless little girl.
I realize now I had birthed Emma, but she birthed a mother in me. I was an infant mother, starting on a path to bravery.
She’s changed me these past 10 years. She’s made me brave.
I’ll endure pain when necessary, have tough conversation that scare me, check dark closets when I’m not sure what awaits, fight when there’s a need. I’d walk in front of a train for her.
Yes, she’s built courage in me.
And a lot of other things.
She’s made me more brave and selfless and disciplined and loving and patient.
All 10 years she’s been making me a better person.
Emma’s name Emma Grace means “full of grace”. She’s that to everyone but she especially has been a gift of grace from God to me. God knew to make me more like him, I needed a tiny girl full of grace to teach me, change me.
I’ve been putting my What I Wore Wednesday post together for tomorrow and realized every day I’ve been wearing grey or black. Looking back, I think subconsciously it’s been a sort of mourning week for me.
It’s been a week of saying goodbye to her first ten years with us for certain, but also a mourning of me. A glorious, wonderful mourning of the old me my love of Emma helped me conquer.
My friend was right. I am different. My tiny little Emma Grace has changed me and this week of celebration of both her birth and Thanksgiving, I cannot think of anything I am more thankful for than 10 years of hard, terribly draining, wonderfully changing years with my Emma Grace.
It turns out that love does conquer all.
Tomorrow I’ll watch as she blows out her own 10 candles and in my mind, I’ll whisper to no one in particular, “Goodbye single digits.”
Baby girl, I love you and your giggling at boys, and sarcasm at your daddy, and your frustration and love of your sister, and your reading past bed time and your loving of little babies and crazy dancing and mismatched clothing and your teaching at your white board and your curly hair and your hazel eyes and freckled nose. I love every single inch of you. Thank you for changing me. You fill me full of grace and I thank God every day for making me your mommy.