I did not date this post wrong. This is the birthday of my first wonderfully beautiful child: Karis Laurie Harper. Oh man. What an incredible journey. I keep thinking about what I want to put on this post. What I want to tell you about her first year, about how she has changed, about how she has changed me. And I most certainly don't know where to begin. So, maybe I'll start from the beginning.
Karis was a beautiful newborn. I'm not lying, she was gorgeous. The first hour of her life her eyes were WIDE open. I'll never forget how she looked, starring up in awe as my mom and dad held her for the first time. She was completely freaked out, but totally there. Just looking, watching, taking it all in. And being totally gorgeous too. She was not necessarily easy as a newborn. She wasn't awful, no colic, or crazy diseases or sicknesses, thank the Lord. But not a chill baby by any means. She cried a lot due to gas, and unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, I could not breast feed her longer than three months. So... formula was fun. The child did inherit a sensitive stomach from both me and her father, she was doomed in that department. So, while I could not blame her for being fussy with the gas issues, there were other mountains, I did not like climbing.
I discovered my child's will to be stubborn the first day she had to be stretched to go on a schedule. She was doing this awful thing were she started snacking every hour, and after a hard "come to Jesus" talk with my sister, we decided she needed to go on a schedule, 4oz, every four hours. Oh. My. Goodness. You would think that I has made the decision to be the cruelest person that ever existed the way Karis cried. She really gave it to me. And then, I loved when people visited, and they thought I was being over dramatic, and then they heard the wonderful sounds that came out of her wonderful mouth. Yeah, that was pretty hard. It took her about a week or two to get on board with the new schedule, but the scarring of hearing her scream for that week, will probably last me a lifetime.
But she grew out of it, we got the formula issues down, and then one day, I just keep receiving compliments on what a happy, cute baby she was. And she is! She smiles, looks people square in the eye, and laughs. She makes noises and wiggles, just to get people's attention. At playgrounds, she loves going up to all the kids and making friends. Just an amazingly social, happy baby, and I could not be more blessed.
I am in constant awe of Karis. All the time. I love looking at her think. You want to know what I do some days? I just watch her. She is always thinking, turning things over in her mind...plotting, really. One day we had our storm door open, and it looked like she could get out of the house, and she crawled as fast as she could for the door. She wanted out! And that is when I realized that my child will not be a homebody. At 11 mo's I know, she will not stay any longer than she can. She was born with wings, oh goodness I love watching her. Everyday, she amazes me. The mere fact that one year ago, she couldn't even hold her head up, and she is now the fasted crawler in the Harper family, "talking" up a storm, and will be walking (or maybe running:)) around any day now. She has done more learning and growing in this first year, than I believe I have done in the past five! And no one has taught her how to do any of it, babies just do it themselves! Crazy.
She has changed me so completely. I think about her non-stop. When she cries, my heart breaks. Today, I found myself just watching her walk around the house with her "walker" (some device that she uses to assist her at this time). I love to study her face, today she looked just like Tim when she had this supreme moment of concentration trying to do something, and she would not be deterred until she accomplished it. She amazes me, and inspires me. She reminds me so much of God. Not only is her name a sweet prayer on my lips to God for her every time I say it, but it also reminds me of how much I need Him in so many ways in my life, and my desperate need for His Grace. (Her name Karis, is really Charis, the Greek word in the Bible for Grace). Also, God gently speaks to me all the time about His perspective. When I am lost in wonder at my little child, learning from me, growing, listening to me, I get a Holy Spirit nudge. It's like He's saying, "Remember all those times you wondered how I could forgive you? And then, while you do get angry with Karis, you're heart always melts for her, and you continually love her, and you can't even stop it. You're just a human and you can do that, I am God, and I can do it even better. Please stop wondering why I can forgive you a thousand times. I gave in wonder at you too!" God makes me cry when I think about how much I love Karis, and how much He loves me more.
Yes, Karis has changed our lives. I don't want to speak for Tim. I would love to hear what he has thought about this past year. But I'll tell you what I think. Wow. I seriously love my life with Karis. She brings so much joy and laughter to our family. Confession: I like to take her out to places (especially places where I know older people will be, like Aldi) so I can hear and see people dote on her. I love her smile. I love the way she looks at me when I come into a room and I've been gone. And yes, I love that she likes being with me over you when I'm in the room. It does get old when I want to talk, but yes, I love the Karis prefers me, her mother. She's a little too clingy right now, but I'm going to chalk that us to a phase (hopefully). I can't see it lasting past her preteen years, anyway;).
I must admit, the last literal moment before Karis came into the world, my last thought as a "mom-to-be" was. I'm not ready to be a mom. I'm not a big kid person, no one really called me back on a regular basis to babysit, and I'm don't blame them. I don't know what to do with kids, babies too. I didn't know if I could be the person that Karis needed. I hope she never catches on. I hope she always knows that although I was 100% not ready for her at all, I'm so glad she's here in spite of me. Grace. Karis.
I'm celebrating tomorrow, all day. Really, Birthday's truly are for the mothers. I'll relive my glorious child and her coming into this world and making my heart fill with a love that I had never felt before her. I'll watch her be her cute self, and reminisce about my tiny angel, and yet be SO thankful she is NOT a newborn. And worship Jesus, the giver of all good things, the Giver of my Karis.
Happy Birthday Karis Laurie Harper. While you will be receiving presents on this day from now on, I'll be the one the receives the present of you, everyday.