See that picture? That was taken 365 days ago, at about the same time that I’m writing this blog. That was one of the most awesome days of my life! It feels like it was yesterday, and yet my little Caroline Ruth is going to be the big ‘One” tomorrow. I know, I know…all you “old people” will say “Just wait until she’s talking back to you!” Yeah, I know. But this is my blog, so let me revel in the sweetness of being the proud papa to a beautiful baby girl that has yet to learn the art of the smart mouth.
When I see that picture, it truly does seem like yesterday that we were at the hospital waiting for Caroline to make her grand entrance. Yet, on the other hand, after just one year, it’s hard to remember what life was like without her. Arriving at the moment pictured above was not easy. Amanda and I went through some really tough times (mostly to do with me, me, and me. Selfishness comes easy when you’re the baby of the family), and there was a time when we wondered if we would ever be able to have a baby. Our plan was to be married 5 years and then “BAM!” Kids! Well, God had a different plan, and it took nearly 8 years to flush out. We had to go through the absolute devastation of losing a child to miscarriage, which was a pain that I hope never to experience again. You never forget that pain…but that moment captured above sure seemed all the sweeter when it arrived!
It’s cliche’, but going through a valley makes you appreciate the view from the mountain all the more. We thought we were ready for a family, but evidently, God knew we weren’t. Through the pain of the loss of our first child, we were able to realize the absolute gift that life is that much more clearly. Not that we don’t take our sweet baby for granted sometimes, but sometimes, in the middle of the night when Caroline wakes up, and I grab her and rock her back to sleep in my arms, the awesomeness of the gift of that child just wells up inside me, and I’m filled with thanks to her Maker.
I think about how much she’s changed from then until now, and how she changes daily from the time I leave for work until I come home. Last year, I got to watch the Carolina Hurricanes win the Stanley Cup with my newborn baby girl in my arms…it doesn’t get much sweeter than that! The other night, I got to reminesce about that as she and I watched the Ducks win it over the Sens. No longer was she the docile infant asleep in my arms. No, she was the wiggle-worm trying to stave off sleep for a few more minutes! My, how time does fly. And one day, I’ll look back and remember those moments, fleeting as they were.
I am a blessed man. I look at that picture and realize that I don’t deserve my two girls, but I’m so thankful that God has blessed me with them both. And on this day, I’m thankful for all the days I’ve had from then til now, and I’m thankful for all the days God gives me with them from here on. I pray that I’ll be able to love them both, and care for them both, like I’m supposed to.
Happy 1st birthday, Caroline Ruth! Your daddy loves you!