I hit the thirty-five week mark yesterday, and reality is setting in: parenthood is imminent. I mean, if you want to be technical about it we've been parents for months now, but I'm guessing that parenthood in the full-time-care-of-a-newborn sense is significantly different from parenthood in the don't-mind-me-I'm-just-gestating-over-here sense.
We had our hospital tour the other night, and seeing the birth center rooms made me realize how excited I am to meet this little one. In a certain way Bryan and I already know him very well - he's been residing in my body for months, after all, and we pray for him constantly and talk to him daily - but I think that meeting him face-to-face will be entirely different, and much better.
And I know that in those first weeks I'll be exhausted and stressed out and it will all be new and very hard, but I have trouble imagining that, no matter how overwhelming it all is, it could possibly overshadow the joy of the new little one whom I'm going to love so much.
Contact with my nephew has really made it sink in for me how much deeper and more real this whole thing is after the child is born. Before my sister gave birth we would often talk about her baby, and I looked forward to meeting him; I've always loved babies and I expected to love him. What I've found really remarkable since his birth is how different my feelings about him are from my feelings about other babies. I love all babies as babies, but I love Daniel as a person. The fact that he is Daniel makes all the difference. The little guy looking out of those wide eyes, even at only three months old, is already one of my favorite people in the world.
And he's just my nephew! I can only imagine how it's going to be with my own baby.