My husband, Jim, and I are new parents. And like all new parents, we hit a wall of exhaustion around 8 p.m. That's when we finally get our sweet little Emily to bed and can have some "couple time." For us, "couple time" consists of figuring out who has the energy to get plates out of the cupboard so we can eat a real meal and who gets to pick up Emily's trail of books, toys, and assorted shoes (she's into shoes right now).
Before long, we drag ourselves off to bed, more than ready for some sleep. As we turn out the lights and fade into dreamland, we look at each other and say, "Isn't she wonderful?"
People tend to think of the first year of parenting as a fraternity hazing—a test you have to get through before you can join the ranks of real parents. Near the end of my pregnancy, other mothers felt the need to tell me all the difficult parts of being a mother—the lack of sleep, the mess, the stress, the absence of a sex life. Their intent was to prepare me for the sometimes-rough road ahead. But nobody told me how amazing that first year is.
No one ever told me that watching a child grow and change is one of God's greatest gifts. Even if they had, I don't think I could have grasped what they meant. Really, there aren't words for what it feels like to be a parent. Our vocabulary can't wholly explain the wonder of the first year.
The other night, Jim and I were talking about Emily, like we usually do. He asked me, "What's been the best part of being a mom?"1