One year ago this month, we called Julia's former teacher Amber, who had offered to take Senior pictures of Julia, and set up a time and a place.
The place was perfect, a farm with an aqua truck and weathered outbuildings.
We all tramped about in the tall grasses, bothered by the thought of wood ticks,
while Amber took beautiful images of my daughter.
We knew the photos would be good, because Julia was relaxed and happy with the whole process.
The photographer/teacher, the setting, the boots, the hat. The truck, better than all the ones we'd been scoping out over the previous months.
All of it just right.
And we loved the pictures.
Even more than we thought we would.
And now that it's been a year, I am eternally grateful that Amber also
snapped some photos of Anna Kate and me.
She made the sign we're holding, and Amber spotted it as a prop.
I remember holding this, flanked by my daughters, believing in my heart that the baby I was carrying would be a dream come true.
But deep inside, I wondered.
I didn't know for sure that he was healthy.
I was frantically uncomfortable, with stabbing pains in my ribs that intensified as he grew.
I loved my baby wholeheartedly,
but I was beset by fears on every side.
Malachi was born about a week later.
These two girls became "Nanny One" and "Nanny Two."
It's been a glorious year.
And because God and life do not allow us to settle into anything too mundane,
we have to face change yet again.
When Julia goes to college in the fall,
I expect to fall apart.
At least slightly.
This month is ramping up as our busiest May ever.
We have a college graduate, a high-school graduate, an impossibly huge yard to defeat before it defeats us.
Nate and I celebrate our 25th year of marriage on the 28th,
a week before our baby turns one.
All of these milestones bring up memories.
I remember the frustrations of early married life, the loneliness of new motherhood, the laughter woven through those years (humor saved us).
I want to shout, or maybe whisper, to anyone who is overwhelmed by the unforeseen sorrows of the day,
that your future is secure.
The lines will fall for you in pleasant places.
And if the wolf is at the door,
and your peace is devoured,
and the snake of fear is wound about your neck,
you will not be destroyed.
You dwell in the shelter of the Most High.
You rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Here is the promise that should be spoken aloud:
"He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."
One year can bring a whole new life.