I woke up with tears brimming in my eyes today. Tears of joy and of gratitude for all that the next few days represent. This time last year, I was headed to what would be my last doctor’s appointment before our lives were forever changed for the good by our baby girls. For the good. I was uncomfortable, sick, exhausted (or so I thought… I didn’t quite understand what exhaustion was before I went through the newborn trenches), and mostly anxious for getting our baby girls here “happy and healthy” as we all say (That phrase now is one of my pet peeves, which will be addressed at a later time). We had been praying the Lord would bring us our girls in His perfect timing, not one day sooner or one day later. Hugh had memorized Psalm 139 which is more symbolic than I could have ever known, and we were a lot of things. We were mainly clueless. The beauty of parenthood. We all start out that way, so blissfully ignorant. We have never met our little ones, and we all prepare as best as we can for the journey to come. Girls, on April 23, 2013, there was nothing that could have prepared daddy and I for the beauty and joy that was around the corner on April 24, 2013. There are more lessons that the Lord has taught us through your sweet lives than we could recount, many that are written on the pages of this blog. I will not be able to word or express all that I want to share with the world as we await your first birthday tomorrow, but I want to give it a try because daddy and I are indebted to you and the lessons that we have learned through your little lives already. In a sense, this is a letter to You, my God; my version of a psalm of praise for giving us more than we could possibly ask for or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20).
When we first found out we were going to have twins, I reacted as gracefully as it comes: I cried profusely as the ultrasound tech attempted to find two heartbeats through my hysterics. She left the room to “give us a moment” (yes, it was awkward), and when Hugh asked me what I was crying for, I said, “I’m scared”. He responded, “Of what?” I quickly sobbed back, “The rest of our lives.” Girls, momma is no longer scared. While you have already brought more twists and turns than we could have ever anticipated, I have learned to celebrate each and every moment of each and every day because of you. I have seen that there is nothing to fear around the corner because God is already there. I never thought I could have survived a year with twins, much less a year with twins as special as you two. But you know what? God is good and He has already walked this road for us therefore with Him, I have been able to step forward with confidence that whatever comes next is for His glory and our good.
Ally Ruth and Bailey Grace, we are proud of who you are. Not only that, but we wouldn’t want you to be any different. Your beauty radiates from the inside out. Ally Ruth: your smile is absolutely contagious. Bailey Grace: your easy-going attitude is something that the rest of us would be wise to follow suit on. You both simply make people happy by your mere presence. The best part about this is: it isn’t because of anything you have done or are doing; it’s merely because of who you are as a whole. I could write a novel on all the amazing qualities you possess, but I would be amiss because that’s another lesson we have learned: it is not about you. Or me. Or any of us. It is about Him. You have reminded us that we can see Him in anything and everything, even our worst nightmares, if we just would choose to look. We are so very proud of you both for no reason other than that you are who you are.
There is so much to celebrate tomorrow, but the fact that you are here “happy and healthy” will not be one of them. Karni Liddell, a Paralympics athlete that happens to have Spinal Muscular Atrophy, has said, “What does that even mean?” We have all said it, myself included, but here is the truth: we didn’t just want you here “happy and healthy”. We wanted you here so you could live the lives that God intended you to live, which would ultimately bring eternal joy that stems beyond any temporary happiness or pseudo-healthiness. And, however long He sees fit to keep all of us on this side of heaven, we will all continue to try and live that out, albeit imperfectly. The thing is, you both already seem to be more comfortable in your own skin than most people I know… and that’s contagious. You live life above the circumstances around you, and have taught us to do the same. Sure, we might have thought your first year of life would have included more milestones and less doctor’s appointments; more careless living and less therapy appointments. But, watching you both accept each day with all it entails which such an attitude of contentment and trust has taught your daddy and me to do the same and for that, we wouldn’t change a second of it. I could go on for days, but it is time to feed you guys and I want to breathe in these moments. Bottom line is this: If I could go back and do it ALL again-the constant morning sickness that never seemed to end, the sleepless nights, the unknowns, the worries, the testing, the sheer terror that came the moment I realized that my heart was sliced in two and came out in the form of two precious, beautiful baby girls- I would do it again a hundred times fold. To call being your mommy a privilege would be an understatement. I know I don’t deserve to be. All praise, glory, and honor to the One who gives us grace upon grace in this journey. Lord, THANK YOU. Bailey Grace and Ally Ruth Cheek: we celebrate you today, tomorrow, and every day after that. Happy almost Birthday, sweet girls!