Dear Little One,
This is one of my last letters to you before you make your entrance into this world. I can hardly believe it! You have grown so much in the last few weeks - making me more & more ready to meet your sweet face.
Carrying you has been a JOY - more than I could have ever imagined or hoped for. Once you are born, we won't ALWAYS be together. This is so hard for me to imagine! Being with you & feeling you flutter in my tummy is one of the greatest gifts the Lord has ever given me! Thank you for being an active baby. Thank you for letting us play with your feet. Thank you for loving Chick-fil-A milkshakes - you will fit right in with Papa & me!
I have carried you so many places this year & I have looked forward to cataloging them all so one day you can see for yourself, you truly are a miracle!
1. 3 weeks: We didn't know it yet, but the first wedding you came along with us was to Josh & Mel's. No wonder I couldn't stop eating Pirate's Booty all weekend! It tasted so good & boy, you made me so hungry. On the way home the next day I got sick, but of course we didn't think anything of it! You were still a secret to us all.
2. 5 weeks: The day before we left for John & Kelly's wedding was the day we found out about you! We were STUNNED & awestruck. We truly had no words. I cried for 2 hours straight while your Papa made dinner. Of course, nothing sounded good except carbs. We didn't know it yet, but that's all we would eat for the next month. That night, Papa tried to get me to eat fish so that you would grow strong & healthy. I couldn't keep it down & it was right then that Papa realized that he was in over his head - more than we could know or imagine! All during the wedding day, I kept asking Papa "Is there a bump here? Can you see it?" He laughed so many times - "JP you look no different!". How could this be when I already felt SO unlike myself?!?!
The next day was Mother's Day - the first one we celebrated together! That was when we told your grandparents with a song over Skype! Again, I cried for 2 hours straight while Papa planted flowers in our yard & we even had a neighbor comment on how thick my hair looked. How did she know? You were changing me already!
3. 6 weeks: You were known & making me SO sick at Jonah & Gabby's wedding. But nonetheless, JOY was there in knowing that you were growing & with us as we celebrated this sweet couple. Aunt Jess had to bring me a meal because I couldn't get in line fast enough! Boy did we enjoy those mashed potatoes & donuts! We prayed & shed sweet tears over you with Uncle Alex & Aunt Jess. The joy in sharing you is something that I am still trying to express.
4. 11 weeks: At Hilton Head we celebrated you as a Family for the first time. Even though you hadn't quite shown yourself yet, I still felt the changes you were making to me. I slept so much this week & ate mac & cheese everyday (along with a large serving of ice cream for dessert). This was the last time that Papa & I ran together. After that, I stuck to the elliptical & spin classes to keep me in shape. Hopefully that is enough to get us through labor. One of my favorite memories of this week was hearing our dear friends pray for you. They are all so excited to be your aunts & uncles! And yes, they will spoil you rotten & we can't wait to let them!
4. 12 weeks: At Patrick & Ellen's wedding, I had to go lie down while Papa continued to photograph the reception. It was the first time that you & I left Papa's side on a wedding day. I cried going all the way up to our room. I didn't like that you were making me different. I felt insufficient - a struggle that I have had to fight this whole time. Papa did a stand up job & we were back at it in no time! We also hopped back in line for more shrimp & grits :)
5. 17 weeks Yellowstone: This was the first time we took a "bump" photo & I didn't quite know what to do with my hands or how to hold you. All I remember was looking at Old Faithful with tears streaming down my eyes! How perfect of a place to capture you for the first time - to remember the Lord's faithfulness to ALL the generations & to celebrate you right there. I still have chills when I think back on that 60 seconds of pure magic. We can't wait to take you there one day, Little One!
6. 28 Weeks: Papa used you & I to test the light during Dan & Hillary's beautiful October wedding. The air was crisp & it was one of the first days that it felt surreal - I could feel that you would be here very soon! The leaves were at their peak this weekend & it was all I could do to pray for you & hope that this time next year, we would have moments together in the mountains so you could witness the wonder of autumn for the first time.
7. Also 28 Weeks: For some reason, Coke tasted extremely delicious at Susie & Jeremy's wedding. Also, goodness! Look at us running through this sweet bridal party (they loved you so much). I didn't even know that your Papa was snagging this photo of us - he's a keeper!
8. 30 Weeks: We had so much fun meeting Cassidy & Braxton right after Thanksgiving. Again, Papa used us to test the light, but it's one of my favorite photos of us yet. You kicked me so much during this shoot & for one of the first times, I couldn't bend down to get the shot that I wanted. But don't worry, Papa saw what I was trying to get & of course he succeeded!
10. 36 Weeks This is it Little One. We made it to Austin & Gabi's wedding. You & I have carried equipment, walked many flights of stairs, & witnessed so many beautiful moments together this year! This is your last wedding & I am praising the Lord that we made it safe & sound. It's been a marathon but you have made it all worth it! We can thank our new intern, Melissa, for these photos of us. She has agreed to come along with us on this adventure for the next few months so that you & I can learn how to do this whole motherhood/baby adventure together. Isn't the Lord so kind?
If it's you Baby Boy, at every wedding I imagine you standing at the end of the aisle ready to meet your bride. I am already praying for a soft & gentle woman to come alongside you & cherish you. And if it's you Baby Girl, I get all chocked up thinking about you getting ready with your wedding dress & Papa walking you down the aisle. I am already praying for a strong & firmly rooted man who loves the Lord with all of his heart.
Please don't grow up too fast. We need these moments together just like we had this year. I can't wait to meet you & show you all the wonders of this earth.
All my love,