I recently became an aunt again and have fallen in love with my new little niece.
Looking at her got me thinking back a few years to when our daughter was born, remembering the bewilderment of trying to find a rhythm with this brand new tiny person whose personality seems to change daily, while everyone around offers some piece of new and conflicting advice.
Some of the lines we heard over and over,
“They grow up so fast.”
“Just you wait till she gets older.”
“Well you are going to be dealing with that for the next 18 years.”
But tonight as I tuck her in I am thinking about all of the things that no one ever told me, that I suppose even if they had I wouldn’t have understood.
That grief is as much a part of love as joy and that growing up is its own sort of death.
. . .
No one ever tells you that . . . watching your child’s first step you will cry with celebration mixed with mourning as she moves that much faster now on her wobbly legs towards the person she is becoming and ceases to be the baby that she once was.
No one ever tells you that . . . a knot will seize up in your guts as you watch her innocence and eagerness to know the world corrupted by the pain and violence she finds there.
No one ever tells you that . . . watching her grow up will drive you to work longer and think harder (with far less sleep) than you ever even imagined you were capable of.
No one ever tells you that . . . the confidence she has in you will leave you inspired and humbled knowing that you can’t help but let her down though you wouldn’t stop short of giving her your very life if she needed you to.
No one ever tells you that . . . you will be terrified holding her in your arms desiring more than anything to protect her and yet knowing that you are weak and your protection is minuscule against the strength of the world around you.
No one ever tells you about the power of a child in your life, that with her everything changes. And that when you tuck her into bed at night you will encounter the Holy, you will see that Love is a Person and in her you will be drawn to Him. And that is how it should be, grief and joy and tears and all.