Four years ago today, I was on bed rest and praying that the twins would not be born yet. Everyone was getting ready for my baby shower that was at my house since I could not leave. After church people piled into my house to celebrate the coming of the twins, we just did not know how soon that would be. I was in so much pain I just did not know how I was going to get through the day, I just prayed to God that the babies would not come that day. But I did not know how much longer I could go on; little did I know that I had preeclampsia.
Two years today, the twins were sleeping peacefully in their beds, when I got the phone call from my Uncle that my Mother was going to be leaving this earth very soon and that I needed to get to the hospital. My neighbor came over to stay with the twins and I rushed to the hospital. I got to the hospital on a prayer, since my car was out of gas. I once again prayed to God that I would get to the hospital before my Mother’s passing. That prayer was not answered, by the time I got there, my Mother had gone to meet Jesus. One year ago today, my husband sent me flowers for the first time. It was very special since it was such a hard day and he had such kind words to say on the card. Positive things can come out of very hurtful situations and my husband’s act of kindness on that day proved that to me.
Why some prayers are answered and some are not, I do not know, but I am thankful that God is faithful and true. The same day had many different emotions for me years apart. Today, I choose to remember how excited my Mother was to finally attend a baby shower for me and that God had gotten us this far. She was so excited to meet the twins and spent many hours loving on them for almost two years. I may have sadness thinking about losing my Mother two years ago today, but she had immeasurable joy when she came face to face with our Lord and also got to see all her grandchildren that went before her. Now all my other children are being loved on by her.
I recently read a news story about a family who was going to raise their newest child genderless. The parents and two siblings know the gender, but are not telling anyone else; given the child a gender-neutral name and going to allow the child to pick the gender that he or she so desires. The reasoning behind this is because they believe that gender is a societal label placed on children and who are we to say who a person is or isn’t? Now, I know we’re not supposed to judge, but seriously? This is nuts! Nothing bad will come of this, I’m sure. (note sarcasm)
As a mother to boy/girl twins, I’ve seen firsthand the clear differences between boys and girls, even though we raise them with the same rules, standards, and overall treatment. We respond to their individual needs, but I don’t think we’re forcing one to be a girl and one to be a boy. They just are who they are and as they are getting older, you can really see how truly different they are.
• Maria loves babies. When my niece, Leah, was born, we went to visit and ever since, Maria has been intrigued. She loves to look at pictures of Leah and now points out other babies that we see. Grant shows very little interest.
• Grant loves tools. My dad regularly helps with handy man projects at our house. Most recently, Grant sat in awe as dad drilled into the wall. Maria wasn’t interested.
• Maria is VERY opinionated about her clothes, shoes, and hair accessories. We’ve gotten to the point where we give two options and she gets to pick. Although sometimes, I just have to tell her, “I’m the mom, this is what you are wearing.” We’ve had several LOUD meltdowns over her wardrobe. Other than his Justice League shirt, Grant has no preference on shoes or clothes.
• Grant is into trucks, cars and construction equipment. Last week there was a utility bucket truck parked a few houses down. He ran to that driveway and stood mesmerized for at least 5 minutes and it took me an additional 5 minutes to get him to come all the way home. Maria was more interested in pushing her cart up and down the sidewalk.
• Grant is into sports. We went to the park this weekend and there was a rugby game going on. He ran across the field to watch and would have happily sat on my lap for much longer. Maria, on the other hand, was more concerned about walking in the tall grass than watching any rugby.
Every child is different and some girls might not be as finicky about their hair and other boys might not be as stoked about tools, but I don’t believe that gender is something forced by society. Boys and girls are wired differently and that’s all there is to it.
Life, I do not believe, is by chance, but rather preplanned by God. When I was visiting the Cassidy family in their home in CT, I noticed a cross stich sampler Patty made for one of her sons. I had cross stitched that same pattern for the twins! That was just one of the many signs I felt, God telling me, “This is my plan for you.“
As Julian sang “Away in a Manger” tonight at our church talent show, I could not help but think this was God’s plan not just for me, but for my whole church as well. The people in our church were such a huge part of our story because they were in constant prayer for me and the twins during such a trying pregnancy. I know my story would not be possible without them, as well as the NEDC or the Cassidy family. There are so many different threads that make up the whole picture.
Natalie, on the other hand, did not want to get up and sing, although she does love singing. I was so proud of Julian for being so courageous and willing to share God’s love with others through his song, and Natalie was also proud of him and was such a good supporter. I know that I am not the only person blessed by their gift of life and it just makes me more grateful to be a part of something so spectacular as embryo donation and adoption. So, this is a thank you to all of those people who lifted us up in prayer or had some other role in these beautiful creations God made that I call Natalie and Julian.
Children can be quite truthful. Just the other night Brian told me he was in the car with the twins and he asked “Who loves Daddy?” Julian replied right away with “I do!” Natalie did not reply, and Brian said, “Does anyone else in the car love their Daddy?” Natalie then said, “I do love you Daddy, but sometimes you smell.” Then the other day she told me, “Mom the house does not look beautiful!” Julian has also let me know that the reason I had lost a DVD was because I did not put it back into its home. I am sure this is just the beginning of the “truths” they have to share with us. They also tell us many wonderful truths as well and they all teach us so much.
There are times in our lives where we need to give encouraging words to one another, but we miss the opportunity. Then there are also times when we need to tell people hard “truths” in love. Every day I am learning new things from my children and all I can do is pray they are also learning important new things from me as well.
Grant and Maria had their first parade experience on Saturday. It was the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in our area and proved to be one of the best. The weather was perfect and the crowd was lively. We almost missed it, though. While we were walking from where we parked, my 80-year young grandmother tripped on an uneven piece of sidewalk and landed on her head. I was walking ahead of her and mom, and didn’t see it happen, but I heard the thud. I turned around and there was Grandmother on the ground. She got her bearings and we collected her broken glasses and assessed any damage. She busted her eyebrow, but was otherwise intact. She got up, brushed herself off and we moved forward. I worked on fixing her glasses and she worked on watching her step. She said she landed on her boob, but thankfully, it was the side with her original one. She was happy she didn’t land on the side with her implant, as she’s busted one before while snow skiing, and she was happy she didn’t bust up her teeth. She said “any other 80 year old lady would still be on the ground. Not me!” You have to love her attitude.
When we made it to the parade, my dad retrieved drinks and Grandmother used the beer bottle as an icepack for her eyebrow. We settled in on the curb and started enjoying the action. Grant sat mesmerized, exclaiming, “Oh, wow!” every two seconds. Maria was a bit overwhelmed at first and stayed glued to my mom, however, started to get into picking up the candy tossed toward us. Grant happily collected beads, hats, candy and whatever else was thrown at us. They even both got chameleon Beany Babies. They were disappointed when we had to leave after an hour so we could make it to church on time.
When we talked about the day, I reflected on two lessons.
• One: when you fall down; get back up. Grandmother is an excellent example of overcoming adversity. She left home at 15 for a better situation, was widowed at age 36 with seven children between the ages of 2 and 16, and had breast cancer at age 40. She’s always kept going and has a positive attitude. Many in her situation(s) would have stopped living, but not her. She’s always up to something new.
• Two: leave when you still want more. Not only do you beat the rush, but it’s good to leave wanting more and looking forward to the next time. I’ve surprised a few people when I’ve said I want my kids to want things. I don’t think it’s the best to give your kids everything they ever want or ask for. A healthy dose of “want” can be good for a person’s drive and character.
There it is folks…life lessons from the St. Patty’s day parade. You never know where life will hand you nuggets of wisdom.
Putting the children in preschool was a concern for me, because I just was not sure what new things they would come home with, such as biting, hitting, talking back and so on. I am so pleased to say that their teacher told me that when they were outside playing Julian came running up to her to tell her he heard an ambulance. And that every time he hears one he prays for the people with his Mommy. So she said they stopped class and prayed. What a wittiness the teacher told me that he was for the class. I have to say, it made me cry. All this time I had thought what the twins would be getting from preschool, not what they would be giving.
I think I have also thought that way about embryo adoption. That I would be getting the opportunity to be a Mother and have a child, I never really thought much about what that would also mean to the person or family donating the embryo. Since I have had the blessing of knowing my donating family, I can tell you that we give them great comfort knowing the twins are loved and have been given life. It is often so easy to think about ourselves and what we are getting out of a situation when, what I really should be thinking about, is what am I giving in this situation.
God has really opened my eyes to this and I am so thankful that I am giving Natalie and Julian the best loving family I can provide and that I am giving the Cassidy family peace of mind knowing that they are loved and cared for and that they also have a relationship with Natalie and Julian. Today we started planning our trip to Disney World together. We are so excited! We are sad that Patty’s husband, Jim, and their oldest son will not be going, but we are so excited to see Patty, her two youngest sons and Patty’s sister, Cathy. What a blessing this whole experience has been for us and I pray that others will find embryo donation and adoption a blessing for them as well.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,”