Nineteen years ago today, my lovely Sweet Wife gave birth to our first daughter.
We had been married a little over two years when she popped up beside me on a Sunday afternoon and showed me the pregnancy test. We had just returned from a road trip to see our beloved Crimson Tide play and she had made me a bowl of chili for supper. I was digging in and then – boom! There she was, beaming at me.
Sweet Wife immediately dug into the pregnancy books to learn all she could about being pregnant and she was an amazing mother to that sweet unborn baby. She was also incredibly sick and was unable to eat certain foods and be around certain smells for much of the pregnancy. It was a really tough time for her.
I made regular trips with her to the doctor and both of us hoped each time that we’d get to take a peak at the little one inside of her. Usually we got a look and it was exciting each time. At the right time, they looked a little harder and found out the baby was a little girl. We were both beaming at the thought of a daughter and we immediately set out trying to pick a name. We eventually picked a beautiful one and when we found it, we never questioned it. It was just right.
Later on, we enrolled in the “birthing classes” and that was actually a lot of fun. The classes were held at the hospital where the baby was to be born and Sweet Wife and I would meet there once a week or so after heading over from work. I don’t remember much about the classes except we laughed a lot, talked about Sweet Wife breathing right and we learned about how important it was for Sweet Wife to stay relaxed. We figured out pretty quickly that listening to Jim Brickman was a great way to help with that, so he quickly became an integral part of the birthing process.
We started listening to his CDs more at home and quickly made plans to have a portable CD player on hand for the birthing so that Sweet Wife would remain calm and collected. So when we arrived on the day labor was to be induced, Jim Brickman and the CD player were along for the ride too.
Labor was started early in the morning and the baby wasn’t born until late in the afternoon, so it was a long day for Sweet Wife. We had a really nice and talkative nurse and Sweet Wife loved on her that day and I’m sure made the nurses day better. At the time, though, the nurse didn’t make my day better. When she found out I was an accountant, she spent a good part of the day asking me questions and I wasn’t real fired up about that. Did we listen to much Jim Brickman during the day? I’m not sure. With all of the accounting talk, I kind of don’t think so. But later that night, Jim and I spent some time together.
Our daughter was born around 5:30 p.m., and the next few hours were sort of a blur with Sweet Wife being moved into a room, the baby being warmed and batched and such. Family and visitors were all around, pictures were taken and everything was exciting. But then the day needed to be over because the new mom, Sweet Wife, was tired and hungry and needed to bond with her sweet little baby. So everyone finally cleared out and it was just the three of us, the two new parents and their sweet little child. As that first day faded away, the new mom settled for a short rest with the new girl in the hospital bassinet beside the bed.
With all of the visitors gone and with my sweet girls resting, I moved a chair out in the hall, plugged in the CD player and put it beside the chair and then sat there and listened to Brickman’s “By Heart” album. Quite frankly, it was one of the most surreal moments of my life. We had prayed for months and months for a safe pregnancy, a healthy baby and a safe birth for Sweet Wife. And those prayers had been answered. Now the prayers would be different. We had our own child and now things were different.
I don’t remember any other song that night, but the album’s title track, By Heart. In particular, I remember one of the stanzas very well from that night:
When you go, I’ll stop the clock
I won’t ever let this moment stop
Time is stealing you from me
But it can never take this memory
Time is stealing you from me.
Those words resonated with me like few others have. Sweet Wife and I had been together for just a few short years at the time, but time was stealing her from me. I could feel it. I knew it was happening. My first daughter was less than a day old, but time was stealing her from me. I knew it. I could feel it.
And so today, here we are, 19 years later. Nineteen years later. Time has marched onward. Two more daughters were safely born. Loved ones have died. Jobs have changed. Friends have come and gone. That first sweet daughter has grown up and is already in college. Right now, she’s three states away working for the summer and in a few days she will head to another state for her second year of college.
Sweet Wife and I are indeed blessed. We are indeed blessed.
But time is slipping away.
Unfortunately, I have wasted, wasted, wasted too many of these days. Man, the regrets that I have. There have been so many stupid things said and done. So many times I have forgotten the words, time is stealing you from me.
My Sweet Wife and my daughters are in Christ. I know that we will in some fashion spend eternity together. But we’ve also been given a life to live and our lives to share. I hope that today and everyday that I’ll remember that time is stealing you from me and that I’ll use these words to change my perspective and to live and to love as God has called us.