Two years ago, I received a gift from God, a new chance at conversion, a miracle in my arms. “Two years ago,” I wrote to Babs earlier today, “you were born.”

As we reflect, on this first day of the New Year, celebrating the Second Birthday, we have to smile. In the morning of the 31st of December, 2004, we had a sudden ultrasound that had been ordered by the midwife, “just in case”, which was a phrase we waited anxiously to hear completed (just in case of what?), but didn’t. The ultrasound only served to worry us: to convince Hubby that I had to rest more (came home and was ordered to take a nap while he went out and spent three hours chopping wood and frustration) and to convince me that something was wrong with our precious unborn baby. We had two visits by Angels that day, although we didn’t realize it until later in the evening. The first was at breakfast after the ultrasound, when a little girl, about 18-24 months old, looked over her father’s shoulder and waved at Hubby. This set me to sobbing uncontrollably, unable to imagine what could possibly be wrong with my dear daughter in utero. At dinner, after we had calmed down from the ultrasound experience quite a bit, we had another angelic encounter when, just as we were finishing our dessert, a little two-year-old curly-headed sprite bounded up to our table from we-know-not-where and screeched to a stop in front of my husband. She gave him a smile that was sent straight from Heaven, and waved, and then her father came and scooped her out of sight. That Angel accomplished what the previous one had not: she comforted us and convinced us that everything was OK.

Sure enough, it was. We went to a rare midnight Mass (what a way to ring in the New Year!) and, at 3 AM, I started into what we eventually realized was serious labor. Then, a few short hours later, our lives were inextricably altered and made immeasurably better. As we looked at each other over a small bundle we had named “Elizabeth Mary,” we experienced the miracle of birth and the blessing of making our own family. In the coming year, our hearts were wrenched as we shared this small bundle with those dearest and closest to us, and watched how a new person can impact so much more than it’s possible to fathom.

We’ve seen brothers and sisters transformed into uncles and aunts, parents into grandparents, nieces and nephews into cousins, current grandparents and aunts and uncles into “greats,” and current cousins into “seconds.” We watched hard hearts soften and white flags get permanently planted. We felt joy and sorrow, knowing that the parenthood we were blundering into was not an open club, and that some of our greatest heroes could only trust our observations, but knowing they would chuckle and laugh and enjoy the journey with us, as guests on our barge.

It has been two years! She is independent, and fully integrated in her role as Toddler, and STILL amazing to me, every single day. In two years, there has not been a dull moment – or perhaps my understanding of “dull” has been modified.

Two years ago, I was a newly minted mother. Three years ago, I was celebrating my first New Year’s as a wife. The part of me that holds binoculars can’t help but turn around, and face the future and wonder…what does two years from now hold? In the smile that follows, how can I resist saying “thank you” to the One who made this succession of miracles possible?