It happens even when we're not paying attention, doesn't it? Growth. People grow and children grow.
Today my daughter is wearing a shirt that was mine when I was her age. It's from when my family (before my parents' divorce) visited Elvis Presley's birthplace in Tupelo, MS. I sent a pic of Lily to my mom today and she responded, "My, how time flies!" It does.
Last night I was watching a few videos of Lily from about a year ago. She has grown and changed so much that I was reduced to tears. I sat at the dining table and cried because it goes by so fast. You wait and hope and pray for a baby for so long and then realize that they're not babies for very long at all.
Lately I'm trying to be more aware of this from day to day.
In March, my Lily turned two and a half. Six more months and she'll be 3.
My sweet little Anna turned 4 months old.
I know people like to say, "Enjoy every minute! They'll be grown before you know it!" There's some truth and some wisdom to that, but I know that it's impossible to enjoy every single moment. Let's face it; some moments are just not enjoyable! Certainly it takes lots and lots of practice to rejoice during difficult times, but lately during the moments when the sun is shining and everyone is happy and peaceful, I'm trying to take a deep breath and soak those moments in. Because I know how quickly they'll change. These little ones won't be little forever.
I don't think I ever had a really concentrated growth spurt when I was a kid, but my husband did. He remembers growing several inches taller during the summer between seventh and eighth grades, and he still has stretch marks around his knees from it. Most of the time, though, growth happens gradually. I believe that the Lord continually grows us and shapes us into who we're going to be. Our circumstances and experiences and choices all have an effect on it too.
Infertility has been a huge marker in my own life. I think when I look back even twenty years from now, it will always stand out as one of the biggest challenges, struggles, and yes, growth periods for me. It changed me in a way that nothing else could have. It affected nearly everyone close to me and shaped my family in unique ways. If my husband and I had had children a decade ago, I truly think we would parent in very different ways. (Lord knows, I would have a whole lot more energy!) But, as much as I would have loved to have skipped all the time we spent waiting and every bit of pain from recurrent miscarriage, that's not the way it went. We were meant to be parents right now, of these two precious girls who are in our care.
So, I'm thankful that God grew our family in His time. And I'm thankful that he continues to grow me as a person even though it hurts sometimes. Sometimes parenting makes my flaws become so glaringly obvious! But I'm learning. And growing.
Last week we visited our fertility specialist for what I'm pretty sure was the last time. It was my post-baby follow up visit and it really felt like closure to me on so many levels.
In my heart, I'm just ready.
Ready to get off of the emotional roller coaster.
Ready to put that chapter of my life to rest.
Ready to let go of the pain and worry of trying to conceive.
And mostly, ready to grow with this family that we finally have without feeling grief from the past and anxiety about the future.
Infertility was never my friend. It will always be part of my life and part of my story, but it was an unwelcome guest. I'll never regret the lives of the babies who were with us for such a short time, the ones we never got to hold. They, like the lessons I learned, will be with me always.
But I'm finally looking forward to a future without infertility. It will be in my rear-view mirror from now on and...
That. Feels. Awesome.