I watch our shadows on the wall as I rock you a little longer than necessary. Thoughts of the last months race through my mind sometimes. We still have more questions than answers most days. A worldwide pandemic? This must be a joke, right? How can this possibly happen in 2020?
I finish giving you one last bottle before I go to bed. In the soft glow of the nightlight, I can see your wispy blonde hairs, freshly washed and sticking straight up. I can just barely make out your perfect little face. I feel your warm breath on my cheek as I kiss your forehead, and all I can think is how you are exactly what we needed. I didn’t even know.
In March, I began to feel the knot creeping into my throat, the all-consuming anxiety lurking, just waiting to be allowed in. We were six weeks away from your due date and all anyone was talking about was COVID-19, the virus that had quite literally taken over the world in a matter of months. Friends and family told me I was worrying for nothing. It would be no big deal by the time you were born. Everything I was losing sleep over would be a nonissue.
I wish that had been true.
A few weeks went by, and we were in it even deeper. You were born during what was projected to be “peak week” in our state; we now know that was far from the peak. But you were ready. You broke into our world like bright light in darkness. You were here and it was like you had been a part of us all along.
When your big sister was born, I felt like she was my great love story that I didn’t see coming. Of course, I knew I would love her. We prayed for her and waited what felt like an eternity to hold that tiny girl in our arms. But as any mother knows, you can’t possibly understand how you’ll feel about your child until she’s here.
And you? You are the baby I didn’t even know we needed. If I’m completely honest, we were happy with just our one girl, but it was important to us that she have a sibling.
Now the thought that we ever could have lived without you seems completely ridiculous.
All over the internet, we’re swimming in memes about 2020, ranging from ranking this year as one star or “would not recommend” to ones talking about how incredibly long this year has felt. I imagine that for each of us, our lives are now divided into two parts—before COVID . . . and after. 2020 has been inexplicably marked by something we never saw coming.
I feel all the things we all complain about. I’m tired of being at home so much. I’m tired of having to make sure there are masks for each of us in the car before we go anywhere. I’m tired of not going to restaurants and not having fun things to do for date nights. I’m completely over watching church online, and I miss worshipping in person with our church community.
But I’m not ready to write 2020 off. It brought us you.
We didn’t know we needed you, but God knew. Oh, how He knew. He knew I would need another little person to keep me busy at home. He knew your sister would desperately need a little playmate. He knew we would need some good in this year. In this world.
You, my sweet girl, are our constant reminder: God is not finished. He has not been taken by surprise. He is in control today, just like He was yesterday, and in 2019, and every year before that since “in the beginning.” You remind us daily that He is a God of peace, not confusion. You are this unstoppable force of joy that He’s given us. And we will be forever thankful.