I thought it fitting to introduce you (other than photos) to Isla Oak on the day of Marshall and I’s first anniversary as parents, our third year of marriage. After all, this is where she began.
Three years ago, I promised to love Marshall for the rest of my life. The journey to that day was adventurous. It took two very (VERY) independent people and merged them into a tiny family. Just he and I, telling God and everyone that we would be each other’s better half until our life on Earth was finished. As anyone knows, it’s not easy. But it is wonderful.
Fast forward to 5am on a morning in January. I sat straight up from a dream and knew it. There’s no real way to wake your husband gently to tell him you’re pregnant that early in the morning. We didn’t scream or cry or jump up and down. Marshall’s first words were “What? We are going to be parents? What time is it? Why are you awake?”
From the first time we saw a tiny flicker on the sonogram, we were hooked. And scared. We had a real, live, tiny human that would be joining us some time in September.
Well, September came fast. We didn’t find out if Thumper (a nickname that stuck after hearing her first heartbeat) Brown would be a boy or a girl, so the anticipation was even greater. Marshall almost passed out a few times just thinking about that. As we rode to the birthing center, we both bet a million dollars that Thumper would be a boy.
Here SHE was. After about 5 minutes of wide-eyed awe at the spectacle before us, we finally looked to see that we had a tiny, perfect baby girl. Yes, we were in love. But I’m not sure either of us knew it just yet. We were consumed with keeping this brand new human alive. Was she breathing? Was she eating enough? Was her poop supposed to look like that? We didn’t know. Even after reading 47 books about how to be the most prepared, versed parents in the world.
A few weeks later, Isla Oak had an awful night in which she stopped breathing for several seconds at a time. Which to me, felt like minutes. She spent the night in the hospital, and we went from seizures, to a final much less scary diagnosis of bad reflux. From the second something was wrong, until I had her home safe with me, my heart was full of something I’ve never felt before. It was a fierce, chest-tightening, overwhelming love. Her life was a gift to me, and completely out of my control.
It was the first time I was given a glimpse of God’s own heart. My love for her was heartbreaking and unconditional. I was in awe that there was an even more perfect love that He offers me every day. It was like being hit up side the head by your dad and him saying “YES! This is what I’ve been trying to tell you!”
I thank God for Isla Oak every day. What an amazing gift I’ll never deserve.
When she smiled at me for the first time. When Marshall sings to her and thinks no one can hear him making up songs about Gus being her brother and Frank being funky. When she laughed for the first time and my heart exploded. When she sleeps and lets out a smile like there’s a happy secret she’s keeping. All of these things and so many more are constant reminders of God’s heart for me, for Marshall, for Isla Oak, and for every child of his.
I hope that Marshall and I can teach Isla Oak that she and every person she will ever meet is God’s favorite child, and to spend her life trying to love them all as such.
Happy Anniversary Marshall Brown. And welcome to this crazy world Isla Oak.