Nostalgia · Stories

Week 15: The Gift of a New Life | Everyday Nostalgia

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The other morning I woke up coughing, a sharp pain in my right side taking my breath away. Although the cold came and went over a month before, a lingering cough had resulted in what felt like a cracked rib. Crazy I know, but for a brief moment, before I got my bearings, I didn’t know where I was. The combination of pain and disorientation left me a tad bit unsettled.

But it only took a few seconds for me to realize I was right where I was supposed to be: in my bed, in my home, waking up to another Monday morning and to a new week. As the pain in my rib eased, I settled back in bed, remembering the last time I’d woken up disoriented and in pain.

* * *

There had been the pressure of a hand on my shoulder and quiet, urgent words. It’s time.

Time for what? I wondered. I was groggy and confused, not sure where I was, the surroundings unfamiliar. But when the searing pain coursed down my back and seized across my stomach, I suddenly remembered.

I was about to meet my daughter.

Zoey arrived five days earlier than expected, on a hot July Sunday just one day shy of my own mother’s birthday. Her early entry into the world seems so fitting for her now: Zoey is so excited about everything in life that, if she could, she would still show up 5 days early to make sure she didn’t miss out on the fun. As a two year old, she once stood in line for a full hour to get her face painted, waiting patiently beside me, not one complaint escaping her lips the entire time.

I’d spent most of my pregnancy not sure about this whole becoming a parent thing, having decided years earlier that I would have been okay if I never had any children. But there I was, minutes away from bringing one into this world, frightened and in pain and still unsure about what I was doing… not only in giving birth, but in everything in my life. I was full of doubt. How on earth was I going to do this?

* * *

I don’t remember much about the 29 minutes that elapsed between waking up and hearing her first cry, but I know I will always remember how time stopped when they placed her in my outstretched arms.

I remember looking at her face, red from the cries that erupted from her lungs as they adjusted to the first breaths of this new world. I remember gingerly tracing her miniature hands, reveling in the five fingers they each held. I remember the way I carefully cradled her in my arms, the heat from our steadily beating hearts warming our tired bodies.

I remember the way she rooted against my chest, trying to find what her perfect little mouth knew to seek, and when she found it, I remember the way her eyes — which had remained closed until that moment—finally flickered open and met my own.

As her cries quieted, my own tears began.

* * *

Sometimes I wonder what I was doing before Zoey entered my life. I think I was wandering around a little aimlessly, not sure of who I really was, because somewhere along the way, I’d gotten a little lost. Somewhere along the way, I fell asleep.

Up until my daughter’s birth, my life had been a series new beginnings. Every promotion my dad received meant a move to a new state, where a new school and a new group of friends would be. I moved away to begin college, and then after that, I found myself moving to Colorado to begin a new life on my own. Tired of not feeling rooted anywhere, I settled into a job and a life that, at the time, felt safe.

But then Zoey arrived, and my world titled on its axis. She gave me a renewed purpose, and I became determined to provide her the life she deserved. And the harder I worked, the more I realized that all of the things that I wanted for her, I suddenly started wanting for myself. That realization changed everything, setting into motion another series of new beginnings. New beginnings that started when I chose to break free from places where I felt I couldn’t be the best me—not only for my daughter, but for me as well.

It’s remarkable. Because of Zoey, I finally woke up. Because of Zoey, I never want to fall asleep again.

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The other morning I walked into Zoey’s bedroom to wake her up. Upon hearing me, her eyes fluttered open. They were full of sleep and heavy with love, reminding me again of that blessed summer day when she arrived and changed everything.

“Hi, sweet girl,” I said, climbing into her bed so we could curl up together before we started our day. Zoey wrapped her arms around me as I asked my usual morning question. “What did you dream about?”

“Apples and oranges and you,” she answered in a sing-song voice, not missing a beat.

“I see,” I said as I smiled. “So everything sweet, right?” I laughed, wondering if she would get my lame joke. Zoey smiled back but shook her head.

“No, silly,” she laughed. “I dreamed about things that give me life.”

Remarkable, indeed.

* * *

Today, on Easter, I am full of wonder for this child who woke me up, the one who gave me life. I stand in wonder at the awesome revelation that one person truly can change everything.

Her full name is Zoey Nicole, a name that roughly translates to mean “life victor.” I think about how she lived up to that name from the moment she entered this world because of the gift of life she bestowed upon me.

For the rest of my days, I will accept and embrace the gift that she gave me, and I vow to not ever let it slip away again. I owe it to her, and more importantly, I owe it to myself.

It is my ultimate hope for all of us: that we remember and acknowledge the gifts, both good and bad, that brought us here to our blessed todays. That we wake up each day, experiencing a lifetime of wonderful, magnificent resurrections, and when we do, that we open our eyes to the world and stay awake for all of the lasting, beautiful moments that weave together into this amazing thing we call life.

Share with me your story: What is that wakes you up every day? What makes you come alive? What is it that gives you life?

Week 15 Suggested Viewing

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Begin Again is a joyous movie about the good things in life: love, family, relationships, creativity, music, and of course, new beginnings.


Just joining me on my journey? Catch up on the Everyday Nostalgia series here.

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29 thoughts on “Week 15: The Gift of a New Life | Everyday Nostalgia

  1. If I could, I would like this a million times. This is exactly me and my jhene and pleasantly enough she is an active, don’t want to sleep incase I miss anything 2 year old. Like your daughter, she is passionate about life! A child and the birth of a child really do change ur life, because I was definitely apart of the ” I would be happy if I didn’t have any kids” crew too until I had one…lolol

  2. Reblogged this on Spot the beauty! and commented:
    I just had to share with you my fellow beauties, this post from one of my fellow beauties on this lovely Easter Sunday. She highlight a beauty that was indeed close to my heart. The beauty of new beginnings and resurrection of souls, mind and body that were once dead. However this happen, make sure it continues to happen each day as we rise to start our day and what lies ahead. I won’t blog on top of this blog, I implore yo to go ahead and give her a read!
    Remember there is beauty in everything, if only you open your eyes long enough to see it.
    Go forth and spread that beauty, till next time

  3. I loved reading this post! Although, I don’t have any kids it made me think back to the times when my nieces were born!! They brought so much joy to my life and they still do. Even though, they are no longer small kids; they are 18 and 15; I want to be able to give them the world. I love them and treat them as if they were my own babies. They are my heart. But, now I have a 1 year old nephew who I can experience this feeling all over again!!! They are true blessings!!! Thank you for sharing!!!

  4. I absolutely love this post as it takes me back to the day my son was born. Having my son in my life has been amazing…he brings light to everything! 🙂

  5. Beautiful post, and I totally relate. I, too, spent much of my life thinking that I would never have children. I now have a two year old daughter and feel much the same way you do. I’m not sure where I would be without her. So much so, that I have another on the way this coming fall! 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. This is so beautiful. Everything you share about your daughter is so lovely and she sounds truly remarkable!

  7. So beautiful! It is so true that as we work to give our kids the best, it often brings out the best in us. She sounds truly remarkable. “the things that give me life.” Be still my heart. I hope y’all had a great weekend!

  8. Such a sweet story bring back memories back when I was a child. Beautiful post thank you for sharing .

  9. This was the most beautiful thing I’ve read in a LONG time – so sweet, pure, and heart warming. Loved how every word just kept pulling you in, making you want to keep reading! Just truly mesmerizing. Great post xoxo

  10. I absolutely loved this post. I loved this –> “Today, on Easter, I am full of wonder for this child who woke me up, the one who gave me life.” I can resonate with it so much, they have such a gift of bringing so much joy and life into our lives.

  11. This is such a beautiful story. 🙂 I was always the same way — certain I was fine without children. And now my son is 4.5 and I can’t imagine a day without him.

  12. The chance to take care of my family for another day gets me up every morning. The very act of being that one, that’s what fuels me. Like you, I am in awe constantly of what my girls are becoming, and how lucky I am to be part of it.

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