After our wedding and honeymoon to Maui, our real life together began. It was just the two of us living in our first little town home. We enjoyed hours fixing it up. We painted, stripped and stained railings, put in wood flooring, got curtains (no more bachelor black), put up wall hangings, and arranged all our little, bridal shower gifts! Joe and I enjoyed bike riding and working out together too. What a fun and short time as a couple. One of my biggest fears when I got married was that I wouldn’t be able to have children, and since I was 25 and he was 30 we didn’t put off having a family too long. Nine months after the wedding, I found out I was expecting! What a thrill and due Christmas day, talk about planning. I was working at the time and would follow an on-line baby growth (in the womb) calendar every single day. From the time Jacob was the size of a piece of rice to what felt like years later, when he was stretching in my womb and I could almost grab the body part or foot, whatever it was from the outside! My first real test of faith was the day we had our first ultrasound and one of the ventricles in his brain was measuring high-end normal. Of course, I went home and read “every” internet site about enlarged brain ventricles, not a good idea! My poor baby had hydrocephalus all of a sudden, I was sure! Fears flooded me. Coming to a place of acceptance of the worse case scenario seemed to help me, not sure why. We prayed. We had a level 2 ultrasound to see what was happening next in my baby’s brain. No change for the better. The Dr. could not tell us exactly what this meant or that it wouldn’t continue to grow bigger, just that it could be very minimal to very serious, he didn’t know. God knew, we needed to trust Him. When you look these things up on the internet it doesn’t usually help matters, I saw worse case scenarios and worried. I said, ok God, you say pray in faith believing and you shall receive. My faith was small. I didn’t understand how to have the faith that would “will” my baby to be ok or if that was even theologically correct to think that way. In my mind, it was better to pray, “Lord, I know that if you want him to be healthy, you would make him healthy, and I know you can do anything so please do. That was it. It was a great comfort to me to know that God loved our baby more than we did. I found some rest in that. The waiting was hard and long, but there was still excitement and hope that everything would turn out ok. On Dec. 16th at 12:24 a.m. Jacob Joseph was born 9 days early at 8 lbs 20” long. They did an ultrasound of his head and the nurse came back with him and told me that everything was perfectly normal. I was thrilled. God answered our prayers and the prayers of many. To this day, we have had no issues whatsoever. He’s a very healthy, active, smart, athletic 9 year old boy.
Nineteen months later, Evan Joshua was born at a whopping 9 lbs. 6 oz. Everything about his delivery and babyhood was easy. His toddler years were a completely different story. Evan loves to draw and he is very good at it, we think he’s an artist. He also loves to give gifts, we think he gets that from Grammie Weiss. He finds stuff around the house, wraps it and gives them to loved ones on their birthdays. After my two wonderful boys, I desperately wanted a girl. Of course, I prayed and prayed and prayed that my next baby would be a girl. And God was so gracious to give us Lacey Lauren on September 25, 2007 (3 years after Evan). She brings a different kind of sweetness to our family that only a little girl can. Everything is still pink, purple and princess to her. She was born with a rare genetic disorder called Phenylketonuria (PKU) where she is missing an enzyme that helps her body digest protein, without treatment this disorder leaves a person mentally retarded. She will be on a lifetime low protein diet unless there is a cure. Her diagnosis came as a shock, bit I feel as though God has carried us through the entire process of care and treatment for her. We are to take regular blood samples to check her protein (phe) levels and she routinely visits her metabolic doctor and dietician. She is perfectly fine and healthy. Lacey likes her special diet and has recently thanked Jesus for it at her bedtime prayers. The faith and wonder of a child.
Fourteen months after Lacey was born came our surprise baby, the one that surely has to be a world changer because we did not plan him nor did we know how very happy we would be to have him. And we are. He is adorable and funny, but can also be very naughty so we have to stay on our toes with discipline which can be very hard some days. He was potty trained in a week so that right there outweighs the bad. I so love my “baby” Ryan.
As a kid I loved baby dolls and got one every year for Christmas, I always loved babies. The idea of having a baby was one of my biggest dreams, but the day I actually had one, a real one to care for 24/7 my view changed dramatically. I was blown away. It was so much more than taking care of a doll, like I had thought. It was hard. I had all those thoughts moms have, especially the one, “why didn’t anyone tell me it was this hard!” I seriously, thought it was a big secret that no one told. Maybe this is why I’m telling you now. I love my kids more than words or anything could ever express. I would give my life for them, they mean the world to me. It’s just like nothing else. You love them with everything you have, but somedays you’re not sure you have enough strength to keep giving them the love they need. I’ve failed so many times. I can write this now, because I know my God is a redeemer and healer and he didn’t give me kids because I was perfect or even a good mom. He gave me the kids he did for a purpose and to change me. Along the motherhood journey I began to notice weaknesses I never knew I even had. Where did these come from? Who am I? I think motherhood can bring out the best in you but it can also bring out the worst. I was not loving my kids like God wanted me too, the way He loved me. He had to chip away at me but how could he change me I wondered? What about the Holy Spirit? What is His part in this and the whole mothering role, I NEEDED HIS HELP. Thus began my quest to truly find out what it meant to rely on the Holy Spirit, it took me years, even as an adult to get this, some of us are slow learners. I think I’m getting it now, more of His grace given. I believe He is changing me. I’ve seen answer to prayer. I admit, parenting is still hard for me. I think most of us would admit at least that it’s not always easy (with the exception of the Duggars (:) It just isn’t and there are so many times God shows me I’m just like a child myself. I watch my kids get so frustrated that they can’t do something themselves and I say to them, “just ask me, I’m happy to help you.” Isn’t that how God is with us if we would just humble ourselves and ask Him for help, He is more than able and willing to help us when we ask Him.
Parenthood has taught me about relationship, first with my Heavenly Father but also with my children. These are souls, the only “things” we can take with us to Heaven. I’ve got to do my best in raising them for Him. It’s easy to say right now, when they are all snug in their beds. Tomorrow morning when they wake me up earlier than I wanted and all of them are asking for different things at the same time or maybe whining and fighting all before my first cup of coffee that will be the test. Will I be to my children what I know I should? It’s an ongoing struggle, now with more good days than bad. I pray I will only grow on this journey but it’s a lifetime journey of growing into the person He’s wants me to be.