Twenty-two years ago, Bill and I drove from Raleigh out to Angier to visit his sister, Sue. As city high rises gave way to barns and pastures, I demanded that Bill pull over. In a pasture alongside 401S, I had spied a mama horse and her foal. I had to take a look.
At this point, Bill knew he was in trouble.
My affection for babies, whether equine or human, took root. But, honestly, he didn’t mind.
“We always knew we wanted a large family.” That’s what we tell people. And it’s true. We just didn’t know how large. An unexpected journey …
Unexpected because we started out, as many couples do, young and naive. Finances were not of concern to us. We embraced parenthood, seminary, and New England winters in one fell swoop. God provided, and He always has.
Sara Maria was born while forsythia bloomed in our parents’ yard and we looked out of our parsonage window at foot-over-foot of snow. His parents and a few weeks later, my mother, left the NC spring flying through ice and snow to welcome our first daughter.
Grace made her arrival early. Just over 31 weeks into pregnancy, I knew that “the time had come for the baby to be born.” As I juggled worry and boredom at New England Medical Center, Bill cared for Sara Maria, made arrangements, and welcomed his parents who helped us through the trauma of a premature birth and managed the household.
Adelyn was born just over a year later. From a pay phone at a Gordon-Conwell book sale, we let our doctor know that this was the day. Bill juggled two toddlers while I folded laundry and cleaned the kitchen before heading to the hospital just in time for Adelyn to enter this world.
Josiah was our first to be born on Southern soil. He came on a day that smelled green as a newly cut lawn. And he arrived fast. Bill held back while I told the nurse, “Yes, I most definitely AM in labor.” Forty-five minutes later with the water still running in the jacuzzi, I marveled at this boy-child on my chest.
Cameron arrived in the heat of summer. We barely left the pool long enough for him to press his way into the world. He made his presence known in a slow, easy way. Not too fast, but in a manner that showed us his personality. Determined, persistent, and not making too much of himself. We rejoiced in this sweet boy, and brought him home quickly to meet his siblings.
Piper gave us a date. With contractions strong but only on the quarter of the hour, Bill and I wandered through Lowe’s talking tile, and hardwood, and fixtures. The others were being covered by my mom, and so we lingered in this unusual date time until the sun set and we trusted that we wouldn’t be turned away from the hospital. An hour later, we called home to tell the children of their sister’s arrival. Years later we learned that they had a “Sibling Counsel” and decided they would not call her “Piper.” They had never heard such a name.
Just over a year later, Katya was born. Not in America, and not from my womb. But she is just as much our daughter. Seven years would pass before I would hold her in my arms and Bill would welcome this daughter of ours into our home and into our heart. One year and a bit more before she would be fully ours calling us “Mama” and “Papa” and telling us “Katya is like 100 bananas.”
What an unexpected journey! A young man and young woman, so very unprepared for these days of diapers and nights of nursing. The days were often so very long, as they say. But the years do, indeed, pass so very quickly.
I married an amazing man. One who I am proud to call husband and the father of my children. Every day I learn from him and thank God for the joy he has in being so very present with our children and with me. We love doing life together.
We never could have planned the years. We never could have dreamed them up. The faithfulness of God astounds us as we sit around our table and marvel, and wonder, and thank Him for the beauty of the years, for this unexpected journey.
Happy Father’s Day, my husband! I love you!
And, just in case you’re wondering, I am going to come back to courtship, dating, and whatnot. But today, I’m simply celebrating my husband. 🙂