We are back from a wonderfully relaxing vacation—a week of family, fudge, and the first time I’ve ever been tanner than John! Vacation has a funny way about it, a kind of time warp. Sunday and Monday, I felt like we had all the time in the world. Tuesday, I didn’t know what day it was. And Wednesday through Saturday seemed to last all of fifteen minutes. As strange as the days felt, it was great to spend time slowing down, recharging, and reflecting on where we are at this point in our marriage, our family, and our lives.
Whenever I’m with John’s family (he’s one of six children), I am reminded in a very deep, very true way why I hope to have a larger family. As I watched John and his siblings play soccer on a quiet New Jersey beach last Friday afternoon, I was struck again by how beautiful this family is to me. Each person has a different relationship to the others, but there is a pure and enduring love that lives so fully among them all. Everyone has incredibly diverse interests and talents, but at the end of the day we can all sit around the dinner table together and laugh ourselves silly. I love being a part of this family, as a sort of seventh child. I love that John’s sisters don’t call me sister-in-law, nor do his parents think of me as their daughter-in-law. I am simply a sister and a daughter.
My happy revelation this past week is that the advent of this child is the start of what will be the very best chapter of our lives. We plan to have more than one child, more than two, even, and somehow I just realized that this Peanut, this first pregnancy, is how it all begins.
As I watched the soccer game on the sand, I considered what an honor and a challenge it is to be at the head of a new family: shaping it, caring for it, guiding it—and being guided by it—as it grows. Next year we’ll have a nine-month-old baby on vacation with us. There will be a baby bathing suit and gentle sunscreen to rub on soft skin. A big hat or little sunglasses to protect from the sun while we build castles in the sand. Walks down to the water to splash at the edge of the waves. And so many happy aunts, uncles, and grandparents to share it all with.
Wedged into my beach chair last week, I again had the feeling that I am “exactly where I am meant to be”—right then, with my brothers and sisters on the beach, and in imagining the coming months, when our baby will finally be in my arms.
Perhaps this all sounds cliché, but it is the absolute, honest truth. My family is home to me, and I cannot be more grateful to God for getting me here.
In response to a request by some of you fine folks, I’ve finally taken a belly photo to share. Here we are, our Peanut and me!