As I climbed in bed last night, I realized that it was 11 years ago to the day that I climbed in a hospital bed in preparation for labor with an overdue baby girl. I remember that night really well- the t-shirt that barely fit anymore, the bags that had been packed for so long, and the giddy anticipation of it all. I had had a hunch, but I didn't really know the hurdles in front of me as I tried to get to sleep that night in Kentucky. I didn't know how long, how very very long it would take. I didn't know how exhausted I could be or how things wouldn't go to plan. But all that next day and night, I labored. And labored. And labored. And labored some more. Joy finally came with the next morning's 8 pound, 2 ounce bald-headed beauty at 5:00 am.
When they handed me the baby that Jack declared smelled like donuts, I had a hunch then too. I didn't really know the hurdles of parenthood: the sleepless nights, the endless laundry, the tantrums, the grind of feeding and changing and guiding and teaching and nursing, but I came to know them well. What I also came to know is the unfathomable love and joy that is having a girl like Anna Grace for a daughter. My labor for her continues, even now, and what a privilege.
Some things, maybe the best things, are worthy of our blood, sweat, tears, and long days and years of hard labor.
Anna Grace is certainly one of those things. I am so proud of the girl she is and the young woman she's becoming and I will labor on, lost in love for this sweet girl the Lord has given me to mother.
In my mind, today is Labor Day, a day to count the cost knowing that labor is good and necessary and births great things.
Tomorrow, we'll celebrate birth. Joy comes with the morning, you know...