It's coming up on the year mark and I'm feeling as anxious as ever. Every day i find myself reminiscing over memories of the past two years, feeling awe struck at all I've seen and been through, not to mention all I've learned and how I've grown. As I think of those lovely nine months of pregnancy I feel as if it happened centuries ago, in another lifetime. I feel detached from the whole event in my mind and I don't quite know how to explain it. It's as if it all, the pregnancy and the birth, happened to someone else. And perhaps it's because I no longer have Sophie, she's being cared for by another family. Therefore, I am not presented with the every day, 24/7 task of aiding her growth. I was in that position for only a very short time, and can hardly remember how it felt to be her actual care giving mother. I do, however, know without a shadow of a doubt that I LOVED it. I LOVED every second of it, and would do it over and over again if I could. I miss it all the time and treasure every moment I get to perform those motherly tasks for her i.e. change a diaper or feed a bottle.
Sometimes I wish I could go back and do things differently. Not everything, just some things. For example, I would have exercised more so I wouldn't have all this extra baby baggage to carry around. ha! or perhaps I would have found a part time job despite my doctor's recommendations. And mostly, I would have done things differently with Sophie's birth father. Everything else I'd keep the same:) Troy and Rebecca, my spiritual growth, all the homemaking skills I acquired, the bonding time I spent with my dad, and so on. I try not to focus on this though. I can't stand living with regrets and like they say, "a life full of regrets is not a life at all". Or do they say that...I don't know. I just know I did what I thought was best when I thought was best and things turned out just great.
I still can't believe Sophie is almost one. she's crawling, she's got teeth, she's as bright and beautiful as ever. Her hair is blonde (with a hint of strawberry:)) and she's got color-changing eyes. I marvel at her every time I see her. I love her family, I love watching them interact with her. Each time I watch them together I hear a little voice in my head telling me, "What could be more perfect than this?"
So, my brother gets home from his mission in two days. And as you can guess, he missed everything. The pregnancy, the birth, the adoption. So we have a lot to catch up on to say the least, and I'm more than excited to watch him meet Sophie and her family for the first time. It's going to be like Christmas:) Anyways, because he's coming home my family and I have been doing a lot of cleaning and refurnishing. As my sister and I were cleaning our room I found a piece of paper my dad had typed up and printed off for me and Sophie's birth father the day after we told my parents I was pregnant. I started to get teary eyed as I read it, remembering the way my dad had calmly presented us with this list, explaining to us the importance of moving forward. This is what the paper looks says:
29 September 2009
1. Forgive and repent
2. Meet with the bishop as soon as possible and follow his counsel
3. Listen attentively and prayerfully to all conference talks this weekend :
Saturday: 10-noon, 2-4, Priesthood 6-8
Sunday: 10-noon, 2-4
4. Stay close to the Lord and learn to live by the Spirit. Keep a prayer in your heart at all times
5. Feeling remorse is an essential part of repentance. Fear is not. Fear is from Satan. Have the faith that if you repent, you'll make it. If you act correctly on that faith, then you'll have hope for eternal life. Then when you have that hope, you'll have charity towards all men and want them to have the same faith and hope as well.
6. Have personal scriptures and prayers every morning before leaving your room.
7. Attend institute every week--Wednesdays I think
8. Attend your meetings every week
9. You may not have duties for a while, but when you do, attend to them quickly
10. Pay an honest tithing--pay it first thing every pay check
11. Make things right, but don't be afraid
12. Always tell the truth, no matter how difficult
13. Work a full day every day
14. Study everyday until your GED/diploma is completed or you graduate
15. Decide what you want to become, set goals to get there, and work towards it every day
16. Don't accept other people's put downs--they're wrong and you don't deserve them
17. Every member is a missionary--all the time--even those who don't have the opportunity to go full time until they're older
18. Get your Patriarchal Blessing--read it every day for a year, then at least once a week for the rest of your life (this was for Sophie's birth father, I'd already received mine)
19. Get through the repentance process and get temple worthy
20. Attend the temple weekly for the rest of your life.
21. Be kind and have a constant spirit of gratitude
22. Learn from your experiences, they will help you grown and you can bless others
23. Know you have friends that pray for you and are counting on you to do much good
24. Know your Heavenly Father loves you
25. Know that sins can be forgiven and, "though they be as scarlet, become as white as snow" through repentance and the atonement.
26. Know repentance won't be easy, but it'll be worth it.
27. Always serve others and be generous
28. Be grateful for life, for the atonement, for opportunities, for a loving Heavenly Father who knows you, loves you, and has put you here to succeed and to help others.
You'll make it. Scott
Wow...I know it's quite the list. But believe me when I say I stared at this list every day during my pregnancy, and even after. It meant so much to me for my dad to immediately offer these guidelines to us. I have the most incredible parents. They never put me down or scorned me for my decisions. They only watched me make choices learn from my mistakes, offering support when I needed it. They are who I want to be when I grow up.
And to this day, I know Sophie's birth father carries that paper with him in his wallet, hoping that some day he can finally confront my parents again with each and every item checked off the list. I have faith it can happen and I truly hope it does. One of the biggest hurdles I over came this past year was forgiving him. I still don't trust him completely, but I've learned to hand my anger, frustration, and pain over to the Lord, because He is the one person who knows what to do with it. and those emotions weren't just a result of the way Sophie's birth father treated me, they stemmed form my own personal guilt as well. I had to forgive myself, which proved to be even harder than forgiving him.
Just over a year ago, I had my first face to face with Troy and Rebecca. We had seven weeks to build the relationship we have now before Sophie was born. We did it! and we had some good times. Though this next month is going to be bitter sweet, I'm so excited to be a part of the celebration.
Happy One Year Anniversary Soph!!!!!!:) I love you.