Today is Natalie's fourth birthday.
To say that Natalie is a surprise would be unfair, after all, we are adults, and we know how the whole "thing" works. Regardless, I was not prepared to be pregnant. It was not at all how I planned it, and when I think back now, I believe after she was born, was the last time I was really upset that life didn't go according to my plan. Dan would probably disagree with that last statement, but it truly was the moment I realized I don't actually control everything, if anything.
Like all moms, I remember very clearly every minute of the day she was born. From start to finish the day was actually twelve hours, but only four of them were difficult. The minute the nurse put her in my arms, I became Natalie's mom. As Dan puts it, he watched me "melt."
Natalie is my greatest joy and frustration all at once, and in rare moments of calm, I wish I could freeze her age: her sponge-like mind and equal enthusiasm for things which are actually exciting as well as those mundane.