I turned 32 years old yesterday.  In my card from my parents, my mom asked, “best birthday ever?!”  Hmmm…  There’s some stiff competition for the title of best birthday, as October is typically a pretty stellar month for the Schnell clan.  Last year at this time, Shane and I were frolicking around New England, pairing platters of fresh oysters with crisp glasses of white wine.  Two years ago, we were in Amsterdam, ringing in my 30th year with cheese fondue and a canal-side stroll.  Yesterday, I ventured only as far as the neighborhood diner for a late breakfast with girlfriends, and the neighborhood pizza joint for a casual lunch with Shane and Juliette. How times have changed…

Shane arranged for me to go out with Nance and La Verne yesterday morning, so that I could have some “time off” from the baby. Feels ironic, that his gift to me was time away from Juliette, when I think about the longing for a child that hung like a cloud over those previous two birthdays.  I remember being terribly disappointed when my monthly cramps set in two years ago as we arrived in Lyon after visiting Amsterdam and Bruges; I sat on the bed in our tiny little hotel room and shed a few tears as I relinquished the fantasy that we’d be celebrating a positive pregnancy test on our European tour.  I remember the fragility of my emotions this time last year, as we began talking about fertility treatments, wrestling with the idea that a baby might require more physical/emotional/financial investment than we’d imagined.  Those trips also held dozens of beautiful memories, but they took place during a time in my life when I so fervently hoped for more.

And now here I am, celebrating my first birthday as a mother.  Even in the midst of my brokenness, my bitterness, my envy, and my impatience, even though we already lived a life rich with so many blessings, God gave me more.  Because God is such a generous gift-giver.  His timing is mysterious, his presents often wrapped in unlikely packaging and delivered via circuitous routes, but I have been reminded this season that he doesn’t just give us what we earn or deserve (too often I deserve a lump of coal or a bag of sour grapes). Instead, in his infinite grace, he lavishes us with joy, peace, love, hope…

I enjoyed getting out with ladies yesterday morning for a bite at Geraldine’s.  I was due for a break from the baby, particularly as the little gremlin in Juliette has been making an appearance between the hours of 7 and 11 am.  But dang, it also felt good to spend a quiet afternoon at home, to scoop Jules up in my arms and feel her eagerly nuzzle against me (even if that nuzzling is usually out of hunger more than love…).  There were no big sights to be seen, no extravagant meals to be had, but still, the day exceeded anything I could have dreamed of a year ago.

So yes, Mom, without a doubt.  Best birthday ever.

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One Comment

  1. Pat says:

    Look at those matching smiles!!! I can’t wait to meet her.
    The joys she will give you!!