Now that the baby furniture is assembled and Brittany's hospital bag is packed, the fact that Ella will be here soon almost feels real. This week alone, I have dreamed that I delivered her when Brittany unexpectedly went into labor and that somehow we saw a picture of her before she was born to discover that she looks like she is Asian and has a lot of freckles.
I have no idea what day Ella will arrive (my money is on June 27th), but I know that the day will become enormously meaningful to me. Each year on Ella's birthday, Brittany and I will look back on another year with our beautiful girl, freckly or not, and recount the priceless memories we have shared with her. One day each year, we will focus on celebrating our little girl's life.
What is one day? 24 hours? 1,440 minutes? 86,400 seconds? Dawn to dusk?
Sure, a day may be those things (as long as my math is correct), but it is more. A day is a stretch of your life's road. Some of those stretches are only a few feet long and keep you moving slowly and steadily in the direction you are already heading; others are miles long and send you in a direction you never expected. A few stretches have feasts and parties set up at the side of the road where you take a break from the journeying to stop and celebrate; a few others lead you nowhere because you stop to stare at the road behind you, aching to go back and claim something you have lost, but knowing that the only way is forward.
The only way is forward, and each stretch of road that is a day paves the legacy of your life and becomes a permanent reminder of where you came from and where you have been. The more life we live, the more journey we have to look back on - and the more joy we have to look forward to. Do you remember those parties and feasts at the side of the road? Well, as a kid, we get a few of those days each year - Christmas, birthdays, a few other big holidays. As we age and accumulate experiences, we accumulate reasons to celebrate, and by the time we die, hopefully we are celebrating life every day.
Because of the course my life has taken over the past 24 years, I already have so much to celebrate: birthdays; holidays; graduations; wedding anniversaries; anniversaries of the deaths of people I have loved and lost, but will never forget; anniversaries of firsts - first dates, first kisses, first day on the job, first finding out that we were having a baby, first finding out that baby would be a little girl, first hearing that little girl's heartbeat and feeling that little girl's surprisingly powerful kicks.
And as I meet and love new people, I have more people with whom to share those same experiences. I used to think I only had one birthday a year, but now I get to celebrate my birthday, my wife's birthday, my sister's birthday, my parent's birthdays, Brenda's birthday, Cameron's birthday, Jenna's birthday, Josiah's birthday, all of my coworkers' birthdays - and very soon, Ella Rose's birthday.
What is a day? 24 hours, here and gone? Perhaps. A day may not seem like much, but when you put them all together...