Bert's Birthday

Monday, August 3, 2020

Today is the very last day of Bert being zero years old. 

Tomorrow he will be one. 

I know all mothers must think and say this, but wow -- I honestly cannot believe it's been a whole year since Bert was born. We've been through so much: labor, his birth, his health complications after birth, a stay in the children's hospital, acclimating to life at home with a new baby, home improvements, yard work, library story time, Joe working out of town, new friends, and, of course, this pandemic. We've gotten into familiar routines and schedules only for those routines and schedules to be completely changed two days later as Bert grew quickly. We've experienced a mysterious fever and a mysterious head lump. We've driven to West Virginia and back four times, plus from West Virginia to Michigan and back once. We have been exhausted by lack of sleep, frustrated with whining we couldn't determine the source of. We have overflowed with joy at Bert's first smile and his first laugh, and we've cracked up at his farting, his hilarious noises, and his goofy life choices. 

I don't really know much more about being a mother than I did this time last year, but what I do know is that you are never ready to have a baby. If left up to Joe and me, we probably wouldn't have had Bert because it was the wrong time, the wrong place we were living, the wrong job. But luckily, it wasn't up to us, it was up to God, and we got the best little boy at the best possible time. 

I've read two things in two different novels recently that really struck me as I prepare for Bert to turn one. 

"But who knows their own child? You know bits -- certain predictable reactions, a handful of familiar qualities. The rest is unpenetrable. And quite right too. You give birth to them. You do not design them."

- Penelope Lively, How It All Began

"My mother once told me the most disconcerting part of being a parent is that you never get to settle into it, that your child is constantly being replaced with another version you don't recognize." 

- Julie Buxbaum, Hope and Other Punchlines

My little boy, whom I met as a newborn baby, is about to cross the first line into being his own person, not my little baby. I will have to prepare myself to meet my new Bert tomorrow. 

On Saturday Bert will be joined by some family and friends for a cookout in his honor. But tomorrow, Joe and I will quietly celebrate Bert's first year, just us three. We will think back to everything that has happened to us this year -- everything we have survived -- and be so grateful for everything God has done for us this year. 

If you'd like to read the story of Bert's birth, you can find it here: Part 1 and Part 2

Pictures of Bert's first birthday and his first birthday cookout to come!

Thank you to everyone who has loved, cared for, and supported our family this year. We love you. 

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