Ten years ago. (Day 344, Year 2)

Ten years ago, I didn't have a son. 

 I keep thinking about the time before Nicholas and it feels expectant. I think we were waiting for him. 

I have this memory of buckling my girls into their car seats and thinking, there should be one more to strap in. And then, there was.

But, still it is hard to remember not having Nicholas;; it feels like he's always been here. But he hasn't been. 

Before Nicholas, there were the girls and before the girls, there was just Mike and I. I know all of this is obvious and factual; but if you are a parent you know how momentous these facts are. The before them and the after them are the timeline that matters. It is the epochs of parenthood that define us--the before epoch was one climate and the after, well, the after is indescribable.

Of course, I'll try to describe it.

 It is as if you are suddenly breathing for more than just yourself--and more than just yourself and your babies--but you are breathing for your entire family. Every breath you take matters more than it did before because an entire family is depending on it. It isn't just your child that needs you--it is the very unit of your family--whatever that looks like--that depends on your inhale and exhale. And while this sounds like this enormous, heavy burden, the truth is that it is nothing but an honor and a privilege to breathe for this family--to be at the heart of it. It is the most miraculous thing to be part of a family and to be responsible for nurturing that imperfect, messy love. 

 I remember the first time my girls met their brother. It was magical. 

The look on the girls' faces and their adoration of this tiny little bundle made me realize that they were all breathing for our family, too.