Twenty months ago, this little guy came into our lives. He was unexpected, but greatly anticipated. Before him, I never knew our family wasn’t complete, but in retrospect the potential hole seems obvious. His arrival changed my life, literally and figuratively. I am actually a different person, and he was the catalyst for that change. It’s more than that we “finally” had a boy, as some people put it.

The truth is, before Jonathan, I had my priorities skewed. I was studying for the sommelier certification and had my mind and path running solely in that direction. My life goal was to get Sophia in preschool so I could “finally” get moving on my professional plans.

I didn’t appreciate my children as much as I should have. I didn’t realize that their young years were fleeting, that I should pay attention to them and–more importantly–enjoy them. That I should be glad for snow days and spring breaks and not wish I were working.

I found this out the hard way, through nine months of being so sick that I could barely drag myself out of bed. Nine months of throwing up and living for the moment when I could climb back into bed, only to be taunted by a whirling brain and an inability to physically accomplish anything beyond the bare minimum. Nine months in which I discovered that I could put my career on the skids and no one–least of all me–noticed. Nine months of reflection resulting in me finally–truly–accepting my various God-given vocations.

The hardest lessons are never pleasant, but the reward at the end–Jonathan–certainly was. By the time he was born, I was truly prepared for him. I had never anticipated a baby like I anticipated him. Moments after he was born, I felt an overwhelming physical change. I wasn’t sick any more! And I had this amazing, precious baby in my arms, and I was ready to love him and cherish every moment with him and let everything else fall into place in its own time. And, of course, it did.

He is sweet-tempered, loving, cuddly, and fun. Our entire family dotes on him. I simply can’t get enough of him. None of us can. He says “whoa-whoa” when he wants a sucker and “nak!” when he wants a snack. He calls his pacifier “bear.” He smiles at you with his eyes, and he wraps his arms around you when he wants to cuddle. He starts every morning off with a banana (quartered the long way and sliced), and finishes the day by brushing his own teeth and having a story.

This is not to say that each of our girls isn’t adorable, interesting, and special (because they certainly are). But having this little boy, with the dynamic of two older sisters who love on him and mother him and create a cocoon for him, has been an absolute joy. Having Jonathan in our family has taught me just how quickly time flies when you slow down and enjoy it.