My two girls are in the dining room having school. The 7 yo is assessing the 2 yo’s level of development. She must ascribe to some unconventional philosophies. I just heard,
“I am the teacher!” 7 yo.
“I am not the teacher!” 2yo
“First I will be the teacher and then you will,” sweet, conciliatory tone from the 7 yo.
They are working on numbers.
Uh-oh “I am pooping myself!” The 2 yo announced. Her teacher is waiting with her as she sits on the potty.
My older daughter is a wonderful big sister. She prayed this baby into being. Paul and I had always thought we would have four children. Then we had one, years before we planned. We found out he was deaf within days of learning I was pregnant with our second. That kept us busy for several more years. We always thought we would have our kids all in a row. As time passed another seemed unlikely and yet I didn’t feel done.
Birdie started asking for a baby sister when she was about four, wondering when she would have one. “Only God knows,” I truthfully replied. I had started to tell her that babies were a lot of work, a big responsibility, but caught myself. That isn’t how I wanted her see babies. So I encouraged her to pray.
There were a couple of divine encounters. Two years before Beanie was born I wrote down all my fears of having another child. It was a laundry list of all the difficulties, the time and energy, the possibility of special needs, the toll of the pregnancy (my second had been very painful) but the last fear was, “missing someone.” The entry concludes with a prayer of surrender and a petition for strength.
About six months after that Birdie began to pray. A few months later I awoke suddenly. A thought was spreading from my head to my heart, invading my spirit. It was this: “Whatever God wants to give is a gift. You want it. Regardless.” Yes. I mutely nodded, peering over my shoulder at Paul who was sleeping.
This was in January of 2002. I didn’t write down the day. Four months later I was pregnant and due in February. This was a ridiculous time to have another child. Birdie was going to school the next Fall, Paul had quit his job and was selling real estate on full commission. Our insurance was uncertain because of our son’s surgery and Paul’s history of cancer. I was planning to get a job when Birdie went to school…but we were happy. It was so fun to tell friends and family who had written us off long ago. There was no fear (with the exception of one prayer meeting I called to order at 4 a.m.) only joy.
The little Bean was born 3 weeks early on the day I had set aside to “get everything together for the baby.” We had a boy and a girl name picked out. I had a clear picture of who each one was. As the due date approached I realized I had no preference and thought I might miss whoever wasn’t. Both babies seemed so real, Eden and James.
After my first delivery I was so wounded and disillusioned that I was still in pain. Our boy was handed to me and my first maternal thought was, “He’s so heavy.” That was a metaphor I couldn’t yet see.
With Beanie, Paul said, “It’s a girl.”
A girl. When she was handed to me I began to sob. It felt so good to cry and to hold this beautiful gift. Eden. How could I even think I wanted a boy. I don’t know the day I said yes to God in January of 2002 but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the 25th, Eden’ s birthday.
In the following months when my dad lay dying and our family spent days, weeks, months at the hospital, Eden was passed amongst us to hug and love. “What would we do without Eden?” was a constant refrain.
I am so grateful I don’t know.