1,095 Sleepless Nights

Motherhood is the hardest thing I’d ever hoped for.

Oh, it was easy for us to get pregnant. A few short months of trying and 2 pink lines glistened on the still-wet stick. The next morning I excitedly gifted Matt a onesie to announce our newfound parenthood.

The hard part came later. At 3:30 am on May 29, 2012. I worked tirelessly to push Audrey into the world after the longest shortest 3 hours of unmedicated labor. Matt stood at my shoulders, afraid to look on, until Dr. Singleton declared, “Look at that full head of dark hair!”

We both got brave that day. Something about parenting grants courage you never knew you had and urges you to actions you swore you’d never commit.

Like when we swore she’d never sleep with us. We’d be a scheduling family. My copy of Baby Wise was dog-eared, highlighted, and almost memorized. Of course I’d keep it bedside just in case, for any midnight reminders. The first night home we bundled 2-day-old Audrey into her newborn ‘jamas, laid her gently into her freshly pressed crib sheets–blanketless obviously, because we didn’t want her to suffocate like all those books said–and kissed her goodnight. She lasted all of 3 minutes in bed alone…or was that me? So, in she came to snuggle between us and nurse all night long. Neither of us has slept through one single night since.

Like when I thought motherhood was for me. Exasperated from relentless “whys,” sleepless nights, and sibling sqabbles, I recently grumbled under my breath, “I don’t even like being a mom.” OUCH! How could I be so selfish to express that I wasn’t happy as a mother because it’s been so much harder than I could’ve ever expected? God reminded me that He called me to be a mother out of obedience to Him. It’s not a hobby. It’s not for cute, convenient instagram photos (even though I do have a lot of those!). It’s not for my pleasure. It’s for obedience to love these precious gifts He’s given me and show them Jesus every moment in every day. That’s HARD. But by His grace and through the Holy Spirit’s power, I can do it.

Three years later, I’m someone I never even dreamed I could be. Because of a little girl who shares her daddy’s eyes, her momma’s smile, her sister’s laugh, and her heart with the world. Audrey is a strong, creative, curious, inquisitive, brave life giver. She kisses Annie’s boo boos and pats her consolingly. “It’s ok. I’m here. I gotcha,” she comforts.

She’s a backseat driver who knows the directions to all of the places we frequent and loudly protests if we take an alternate route.

She’s an organizer who instructs her teenage aunt the precise angle to place dyed Easter eggs in the empty carton to dry.

She’s a dancer, a singer, a hope-to-be musician, especially looking forward to next year when Ms. Aunt Jessie will teach her “inscruments” at school.

She’s fun and funny, learning recently that she can evoke laughs from any audience by repeatedly chanting “booty.”

And most of all, she’s a precious reminder of the gift of life. How grateful I am that every moment of every day I get to see God in a square, chiseled face framed with long blonde curls with a voice who calls me “Mommy.”

Happy Birthday to my Audrey girl. I’m so thankful God chose me to be your mother.

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