First Birthday

Afton Rose (4 of 45)

Afton Rose (37 of 45)

Afton Rose (39 of 45)

Afton Rose (40 of 45)


My Affie Bear is 1 year old today, at 10:46am. It’s been an emotional last two days for me, remembering where I was last year at different times throughout the days. At one point last year, I remember going shopping, on my due date, to buy a watermelon- to eat all by myself. I was basically carrying two watermelons and I was quite a sight to behold. There were more than a few comments about the irony.

This year, I was at the same grocery store, on the same day, buying a watermelon for Afton’s birthday party, with her on one hip and the watermelon on the other. It hit me when people starting staring that there was something vaguely familiar about that situation:-)

Time is a strange thing. At 7 this morning, I told Afton that her birthday tradition would be a slideshow I would make her, whatever breakfast she wanted, and then she would have to sit and listen to me retell the story of her birth because now I understand why my mother insisted upon it every year. We worked dang hard to get them here so while we’re celebrating their life- why not go ahead and celebrate the fact that you survived too?

Last year at 7 I was in and out of sleep as my midwife actually told me to rest before I could start pushing since I was so out of energy. Interestingly I was so exhausted that I actually may have been sleeping on and off. John had no problem with this order and fell fast asleep. I laid there, shaking uncontrollably , as I did through my entire labor thinking-” I am actually going to meet my baby girl, today.” I closed my eyes and tried to picture what she would look like. Then I suddenly realized I was terrified to be a mommy. At some point after I met her, I would have to take her home. And then what would I do? The though occurred to me to beg the nurses to let me stay, the day I was told I would be discharged. Instead I called…a lot.

So many questions. So many concerns.

The other day Afton pulled one of my old journals off the bookshelf in my bedroom. She tore out a page with a chart of answered prayers on one side and on the other a list of things to commit to God for the following year. I remembered exactly when I made it. I was with my dad at A&W in White Hall, Wisconsin. It was our tradition before I went back to school to take a motorcycle ride somewhere, get ice cream and remember the ways that God had worked in the past year.

I looked at the “commit to prayer” side, and would you believe, not one, but all of those requests had been answered above and beyond what I could have asked or imagined? I sent the picture to my dad, knowing he would smile at the memory. He sent back:  “I guess we need to start asking for bigger things!”

A year ago, the day I went into labor, my dad and I walked to a park down the road from my house. We walked and we talked about all my anxieties about bringing home a baby, and all the things I was excited about too. When I got home from the hospital I found this letter in her bedroom.

“Well Darlin’, here you are! You and your own dear princess! You are surrounded by our love, by our Father’s love, He has each step of the way planned and all you need to do is be with Him- in the present-in the “now” and you will be ready for all that is ahead when that “now” comes. You and our Master and Savior will be ready because He is always ready. 

Lots of opportunities for faith (where there won’t be “sight”) that He is in control and all is good. But this is where we get to please Him, loving Him on His terms. 

Words can’t say how proud I (we) are of you. 

With love always,

Daddy and Mom

I definitely couldn’t make it through the letter without crying then. Not now either 🙂 But as I sit here a year later, there is so much I wish I could tell the terrified new momma in this picture.


Listen, girl. You’re right. You’re not enough. Only He is, and you are about to experience Him in a way you never could have dreamed. You are about to see him provide above and beyond in all your areas of insufficiency because where you are weak, He is strong. You are about to feel and see His love through others like you’ve never experienced and you are about to experience love stronger than you’ve ever known for someone else. You are about to be humbled beyond words and encouraged through the humbling process. Happy Birth Day. God is giving you one of the greatest gifts in life. The gift of entrusting you with the care of this child. 

Time is a funny thing. It helps us remember and it lets us forget. I’m starting to think I’ve forgotten some of what it’s like to be pregnant and have a baby because otherwise I might not be so emotional about Afton not being one any more! I might be saying something like “FINALLY!”

I expected to write something a little different on her birthday; something more about her year in a snapshot. But I decided to write what I wanted to remember and what I want to be sure to pass on to her. And that theme, once again, is God’s faithfulness.


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