I check on my kids at night. I very seldom sleep through the night without getting up at least once. I take a quick peek at my girls before settling back into my bed.
I started when Hannah first moved in. I'll admit, back then I wasn't checking to make sure she was sleeping soundly. I was checking to make sure she hadn't stolen the car.
Just kidding. Kind of.
Every night I make my way across the house to pick pillows up off the floor and replace blankets that have been kicked to the end of the bed.
And I watch them sleep for just a minute.
Funny what time can do.
Eight years ago I was just going through the motions. I was still gathering pillows and adjusting blankets, but only because it was expected.
It was an emotionless exercise.
So much has changed.
Now, as I watch her sleep, emotions flood my groggy, sleep-deprived mind. Tears have been known to show up. Disbelief overwhelms me. Could she really be seventeen?
In the beginning I had to choose love every single day. Some days I had to choose love minute by minute. It was hard and uncomfortable and forced.
Back then it was all I could do.
Today is so different.
Nine-year-old Hannah was difficult to love. Seventeen-year-old Hannah is not.
As I cover her back up, kiss her cheek and head over to her sister's bed, I don't think about the difficult beginning. I think about the right now.
And right now she is easy to love.
I'm so thankful.