Many times, the year seems to fly by as one big blur. Significant events are strung together by days and days of ordinary. As hard as I try, I often don’t take notice of the little things. I look back and realize another year has gone, and I’m not sure where it went.

But this year, I feel as if I have been able to slow down and enjoy so many more moments.

Maybe it’s because I put a lot of things on hold. I scaled back in so many areas of my life. I cut out some of the “good” things that were crowding out the best things.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been tired. I’ve had to move in slow motion. Stop rushing. Stop running. I’ve spent so much more time sitting and relaxing and pondering.

Maybe it’s because I feel like I’m in the “bonus round”. I know for certain this is the last time I will grow a human life. I know it wasn’t my plan but God’s plan to bring me to this place. I know I couldn’t have made it through with the joy, the good health and so much peace without trusting in him.

And now that I’m looking at my last nine days of pregnancy, it feels bittersweet. Oh, I can’t wait for it to be over. I can’t wait to be able to walk again without pain. I can’t wait to flip over at night without slowly rolling the basketball on my tummy. I can’t wait to see that baby’s sweet face.

But I’m also trying to cherish each moment. Enjoy the kicks and flips inside my body.

I’ve been getting a big smile thinking about all of the moments during the last nine months. I wish I could catch them in a bottle and hold onto them forever.

There was this day when I was so care free.

I had absolutely no clue even at that moment what was already happening. I keep remembering how I had just bought those new jeans. They were some of the more expensive jeans I had purchased in a long time. But I wouldn’t have more than a few months to wear them.

I keep thinking about my 40th birthday. I went to a spa with some friends and got a pedicure. I kept trying to come up with the words to tell them what I had found out a few weeks earlier. But it would remain a secret I would keep locked up tight a bit longer.

The one person I did tell was my midwife when I went to that comical doctor’s appointment ON my birthday.

Finally, I told the ladies at my Bible study. The news rushed out with a flood of emotion. I soaked half the people in the room with my sobbing.

A few weeks later, some friends had a surprise birthday party for me. “This isn’t a surprise pregnancy party!” my sweet hostess announced to the room. “It’s for your birthday.”

Half of the people in the room just got the news. Oh well. That made it a little easier on me.

Then there was Mother’s Day. That special day took on new meaning for me.

Not long after that, we told our kids that we were going to have a baby. Their reactions were so precious.

“Do you mean you are pregnant?” my oldest son, asked. “This is like a dream!”

We went to a picnic with our small group that evening and they spread the news to everyone within yelling distance. “OUR MOM IS PREGNANT!”

OK. So much for being discrete. In fact, they started telling everyone we encountered every where we went all summer long.

“My mommy has a baby in her tummy,” they would tell the teenagers taking our pool passes. Or their swimming instructor. Or random strangers. I would try to hide behind my sunglasses. Smile and nod. Smile and nod.

At 16 weeks, I thought I had developed a baby bump. I know you were laughing at this picture back then and now I can see why.

THAT is what we call a baby bump.

We started home school. And so far, we have all survived despite the teacher’s aches and pains and sudden need for a nap right in the middle of grammar.

“OK, it’s recess, everyone!”

We’ve had so many special moments this year as a family. The countdown to baby has dominated all of our thoughts almost on a daily basis.

I still wake up every morning and my first thought is, “Is she still in there?” I lie quietly and wait for her to move.

It’s a precious time. And we are ready for many more special days ahead.

Nine more days.

**Today I’m linking up to Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chatting at the Sky. Check out all of the stories of celebration of the small and sacred gifts of daily life. **

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