In the Merry Month of May,
My Darkest and Dearest lTestimony
WARNING! Sappy post alert!
Stop now- if you don’t want to read some very personal and really sentimental thoughts. My story happened 40 years ago but with May 1 just around the corner, it feels more like 4 days ago.
I read this quote this morning. “Who in their infinite wisdom decreed that Little League uniforms be white? Certainly not a mother.” I love Erma Bombeck – she was a real mom and laughed at life as it really was. I have always wanted to be a mother. That deep desire wasn’t meant to be. As Randy and I attempted to start our family, we were disappointed for years that we were childless.
As our friends and family members had baby after baby, seemingly with an ease we didn’t know, we felt deprived of a blessing. Perhaps not from God-we never doubted what He wanted for us-but certainly by something beyond our efforts. As we sought medical help, eventually we were told that for some unknown reason my body was not capable. Not able to do what I had always assumed was just a woman’s natural body function. That function was denied me-and of course it seemed-me only. After all, my Mom had six kids, my younger sister had two already, within a span of 3 years, and all my extended family had multiples of children. We had a legacy of large families, for Pete’s sake! What was wrong with me?
I had thought every which way on the issue myself. Infertility was not a part of my gene pool. As I’ve said, we had babies out the wazoo in our huge, multi-generational, extended family. The doctors were baffled. The researchers were stymied. Test after meds after tests and bloodwork and cat scans and ultrasounds and more meds and schedules and weekly blood draws and… yeh- we were just a case of unknown infertility. I took to heart an ancient prayer.
“Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb…Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s house. In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”(1 Samuel 1:9-12)
Hannah’s prayer became my heart’s cry.
Prior to our devastating news, it had not occurred to me that her story would have any meaning for me beyond just inspiring me by her exemplary faith.But when I was diagnosed with infertility, how could I not relate to the empty wombs of Hannah, and Sarah and all the Biblical women, whose lives were decimated by barrenness?
I questioned more then what was happening in my body. I fought it with all my resources but it was enough to make me question my faith. Not God. But MY faith. Was it strong enough? Could I believe as I had before? Have you ever wanted something so much that being denied it made your quest even more vital? Maybe you can relate in total understanding. But in a simpler way we all may understand. It’s similar to that midnight desire for ice cream and there’s none in your freezer. Do you remember the intensity of your urge for ice cream?
It’s that feeling of needing a certain thing that is not available so you must seek it out at any cost? On a larger scale, in the most essential way, that is where I was at the end of three years of constantly being told “No.”
Could I utter a prayer like Hannah’s? Could I lean into my faith and relinquish my seeking? Was my faith strong enough? It wasn’t certain but I believed it was. I did what any woman would do being denied the deepest desire of her heart. I gave in and gave up control. I surrendered. Gave up and gave it to God. If we were not to have a baby, then God had different and certainly better plans for my life. Yes, the deepest desire of my heart was still to become a mom, but God knew best. I regretted I wasn’t able to get an answer through all my efforts. But I wasn’t giving up with no hope. I was now just allowing God to take the situation and bless me. In whatever way He would. Because I believed Romans 8:28 with every believing breath within me. He would and had always worked every situation out for my good. He was, after all, a good, good Father to me. “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God had shown me His hand too many previous times for me to doubt Him.
This was a different surrender however. In doing so, it required me to stop the bus, to get off the train, to halt chasing the rainbow, to give up my dream of a large family and to settle down. How crazy was I to do that? Not crazy enough to actually stop thinking about getting pregnant month after month. But mentally I was ready to quit. Spiritually I had never been so encouraged. God was with me with Randy and I. My faith was growing leaps and bounds through the surrendering.
I also had support from my family. My Dad, who was the most optimistic, positive person I’ve ever known would give me pep talks and as my Father in Heaven was picking me up off the floor, the two most important voices in my head and heart kept me hoping.
And hope does not disappoint. God’s Word assures me of that then as it still does now.
“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:5)
So what happened?
A Woman’s Day
I held tight to that hope, as tight as a four-year old boy on his way to the wishing fountain holds onto the dime his mom just gave him. I knew God was not going to give me a heartache I couldn’t handle. He was too good to me to do that. I certainly didn’t know how. I had been on that road of uncertainty long enough to think that I could figure it out. The medical pros couldn’t help me, so I was no longer chasing that hope.
It was necessary for me to concentrate in other areas. Randy and I were both in graduate school. He was working on his Masters+30 and I on my Masters in Counseling. Two poor grad students digging through couch cushions for change to buy tickets to a movie didn’t have the resources or time to keep on the frustrating journey with the medical profession. So we embraced our pursuit of careers enthusiastically and settled in to wait on God. Should we adopt? We had been foster parents and had found a sweet serving ministry there. Should we focus on our jobs in Christian education and live through and love on others’ children? We didn’t know. But we knew God had a plan.
How surprising when the Hand of God showed up in a woman’s magazine! God delivered a message by having a donkey talk, so why was I surprised?
At home for lunch one day, I was eating my sandwich, in between classes at the university. I sat on our couch flipping pages in a Woman’s Day magazine. There, I saw a small column next to an article on medical breakthroughs. There was a drug being tested in England (as in Europe) to deal with other issues, not infertility. The article reported that In a study of women with those issues, the researchers were testing a new medication. They had inadvertently discovered the reversal of infertility in a few of the women test subjects. The physical symptoms and medical issues, of the women patients miraculously matched mine.
I cut the article out.
Called my doctor.
Made an appointment.
It took a bit of convincing to get my physician to view this article as a life-saver for me. But after a few tears from me and my insistence, he agreed that we needed to pursue it. But there was a catch which meant some delay. And for me at that stage of the waiting game, even a delay of a day felt too long.
This story does end but it is so long.
I might need to think about skipping some parts of it for the sake of you kind readers.
But I can’t skip over what happened next.
ut then, the Dr. got motivated! I had called him and spoke to him about the information in the article. It was up to him to get the ball rolling because of all the medical red tape that had to be handled in order for me to become part of the study. Since it was in a foreign country that red tape was even more complicated. My physician was very, very interested in pursuing this for me. He called to tell me that with my permission (are you kidding me?!) he would begin the tedious process of cutting through that long line of tape. I was ecstatic. And grateful. How good is my God?
My doctor became relentless on my behalf. He believed in mine and Randy’s story and wanted desperately to help us. So, one day he called me to excitedly report, and to tell me he would show me the letter to confirm what he was telling us. I had been accepted into the first clinical trial in the United States for the drug that was being tested in England. I had read about it just six weeks before this happened. How could that not be “All God” I ask you? With the amount of government process as well as medical permissions to go through, we were, as Phil Robertson loves to say, “cooking with peanut oil!” in mere weeks. Not the year or more we had been told it would take. I was ebullient! Look it up. I love that word which described my feelings so beautifully. Overflowing with happiness! Joy! Sappy tears of thankfulness!
(I warn you. This is a very dear story to me and I can’t help but express my over-joyous state then and which will show up again at the tail end of this tale. In no small measure.)
Randy and I were finishing up our last semester’s work and had both been offered jobs at the school which we had left to attend grad school. We would be moving in just a month. I would then be again under the care of my gynecologist who I had started investigating my infertility with. He was the one I could trust to follow through. He was a great doctor and deeply concerned about me. We had become a good team, along with his wife who was his nurse. I decided I could wait until we moved to look into this exciting prospect.
We moved back to Shreveport from Monroe. There were medical procedures and protocols to get through in order to be the first and for quite awhile, the only person taking this new drug in this country. But to be honest, I can remember only a few of those steps because as Hope always teaches: the journey becomes part of the destination when the end is in sight.
And clearly, now we had answers or rather solutions. Who knows why we went through so much agony for months, then a year and then multiple years to finally find a promised solution? It doesn’t matter. God had presented a “get out of jail free” card and the monopoly of disappointed days and nights was over. We were going to be fixed, finally.
One of the pieces of paper we had to peruse and required was a bit worrisome. It stated that this medication had not been used or approved to treat infertility. Further, it said, I would be taking under the supervision of medical and pharmaceutical research to extend the study of the drug’s projected uses but there was no promise of, no guarantee, that I would be able to get pregnant using it. In fact, the women who had overcome infertility and had babies while taking the medication, were considered as “fluke cases”, outliers, since the prescribed use for it wasn’t to treat infertility. We knew that and signed off. It was the last step before I could be given the medication.
“Okay!” Where do I sign?”
Now give me the meds!
Ha! It’s never that easy. But it was fairly simple after that. I began taking the meds in the summer of 1979. Six weeks later i had a blood test. My HCG level was tested. It was a procedure I had become accustomed to. Another crazy part of my history was that routine urine pregnancy tests had never worked for me. I had had a number of false positives. My doctor said That was a very painful part of my infertility history which we were not going to repeat. So each month for years I had been having a big enough blood draw to test my HCG level. My doctors had also learned that I had not ovulated for years. Still though, with no cause being determined. The lab at the hospital had become very familiar to me. As I sat for the routine blood draw, I told the lab tech I was taking a new medication to see if it would work differently then the other drugs I had not had success with. She was sympathetic as I had found so many women to be.
Through my years dealing with Infertility, I had discovered it was much more widespread then I had once thought it was. I met so many women who had babies but who had similar stories as mine. Their grief was still visible as they remembered their heart aching stories. But as they been successful on whatever protocol had finally ended their infertility journey, I was desperate to hear each story. My compassion for every woman who had struggled was growing. It motivated me many years later to build a ministry to support infertile couples.
So, there I was after taking the first doses of the research drug, having another blood draw. And, per usual, with great expectations. I was and am, as I’ve said, the balloon-blowing-up gal who did it over and over again, never expecting it to burst.
And this time it didn’t.
Three days after my blood was drawn in the hospital lab, my doctor called me. You may be used to having your doctor’s nurse call you with test results, and certainly I had grown used to that. But it wasn’t a nurse. It was Dr. M. He called to tell me “You are pregnant!”
Can you imagine? I had only been on the meds for six weeks and it had worked. What was so gratifying was this was what the patients in the study in England had done also. The average time until a positive pregnancy test was around six weeks after beginning the drug. I doing something I had never done in all our years of tests and various medications. I was finally following the other test subjects’ timeline. For the first time I felt something close to having a normal functioning body! Not normal, like my mom or sister and good friends were with normal fertility histories and pregnancies, but there was a group of women like me. That was a odd comfort in itself.
I was pregnant! How sweet that was. To know we could get pregnant was an overwhelming joy. We were ecstatic and so we told everyone! We were going to have a baby.
Yes, I was thrilled. Starting planning a nursery, looking at baby clothes and planning a life with a new little one in our lives. Talking again about our future as a mom and sad. Conversations that we had decided not to have, because of the painful emotions we had to endure if we did, became our norm. Everyone was celebrating for us.
We were very involved with our church. The school where we both taught was the center of our lives and many in our church family were staff members there. We were surrounded by a big, loving, supportive community. We had friends who cared for us and shared in our journey.
Many of our older friends at church were only ten to twelve years ahead of us but they had houses and kids and careers and just more mature lives. As newly-marrieds, we looked to them. The Huffmans, Reynolds, Fielders, Ranas and other Christian couples at our church and at the school for support and guidance. They were so excited for us as they had known and listened to our struggles to have a baby. We worked with these friends. Worshipped with them. Served in ministry works together and spent hours in one another’s homes. It was perfectly natural for us to want to include them as we shared in the joy of this moment.
Our close, personal, younger couple friends were just as important and those like Dennis and Kathy Davenport and Jim and Sherrie Lillich, our closest friends, were especially thrilled for us. Our families of course had been constantly caring for us and getting us through tough times. We were also finally joining my sister and my brother in giving my parents more grandchildren and Randy’s parents, their first grandchild.
While we were blessed by such loving celebration, it was so much harder to then deal with my miscarriage. It happened almost as quickly as we had shared our great news. We had barely started the process of planning for our new baby when our balloon burst. It shocked us as if we had been shot.
I totally get it when couples choose to wait to share the news of a positive pregnancy test until months after learning of the results. Once you’ve gone through the devastating experience, you learn to protect yourself. As much as I was a true optimist, in this situation, I had never felt this degree of failure and loss as I did losing that first pregnancy after years of being denied the jubilation of sharing that joyful news. I certainly cannot feel anything but the deepest compassion and strongest empathy for those couples who know this loss. And once you’ve allowed yourself to be celebrated and then must share tragic news of miscarriage… who can blame a couple to keep private any following pregnancies. At least, until there is safety in months of successfully carrying your baby have passed.
My friend, I have spent most of a Saturday thinking about this history. The feelings have been there, not with the intensity felt in the past, but still sad ones which are never really kind to you as you recall. I don’t consider it a waste of my time to relive those painful years, however, if recounting my story helps even one woman carrying this burden. I pray God uses this experience to bring some comfort, support and even love to you if this is in any way like your experience.
This is why I believe God prompted me today to think about this part of my testimony and to write about it.
If you’re still reading, I hope this testimony blesses you or perhaps someone you know. If it does, these hours writing this will be used, I believe, as God intended. I’ve been mentoring and discipling women for over 30 years, I think my obedience to Paul’s Instructions in Titus 2:3-5 should include sharing parts of my story that aren’t as perfect as my instaposts make it appear to be.
It’s a Hard Life
Life has been hard at times. And these days I’m writing about contained some of the most faith-testing hours I’ve ever experienced. Because as I said at the beginning of telling this story, I had always wanted to be a mom. That desire was being denied again. I was failing in my function,
With the miscarriage, it was not going to happen.
My built-up expectation of carrying a baby for nine months and then bringing them home after delivery to start feeding, caring for, rocking and singing and playing with them had all crashed down in just a few seconds through my failed body.
How could I keep doing this to myself? To us? Randy was as devastated as I was. He was a loving, supportive and equally-yoked partner in our pursuit of a family. So my emotional pain was his too -every bit felt by him. Of course, he would say, let’s quit this.
“We have a great marriage,” he reassured me. We did. We had embraced our childless lives and relished our relationship. We traveled. We watched Late night movies snuggling by our fireplace. As any couple without kids can do, we slept as late as we wanted when off work. We ate in nice restaurants and dressed up when we went out for special dates. All of this was common for us during those years. But we were also anticipating that any month we would be so glad to become a family of three or four or more at any time instead of just a married couple. We would take full advantage of not having kids. We knew it was a great thing then to not have a baby to worry about. But the frequency of time we also wanted and cherished with our young nieces and nephews belied our total enjoyment of our childless state. It was not our life plan. It wasn’t what we had asked God for. We hoped it was a temporary life plan not a forever one and we prayed to that end, but now we were fearful we would have to get used to that plan.
These were the hardest moments. Yes, we struggled with worry and fear over our future. We had great faith but we had known too much We wanted a family. Randy was a coach. He dreamed of having his own boy to coach. To throw a football with. To coach in little league baseball and to watch ESPN on Saturdays with. His dreams were crushed just as sadly as mine.
We didn’t quit though. Dr.M. told us that the fact that we could get pregnant was a very hopeful sign we would again. So we decided to continue in the trial and I continued on the new medication.
In just a few weeks I was back at the lab having my blood drawn once again. My veins just below my elbow bend were running away at the sight of the needle! At least that was the joke the lab tech and I had each month when she would try to stick me only once while taking my blood. I once joked that I could replace my entire bloodstream just from all they’d taken in those lab draws. After my miscarriage, it wasn’t a joke I felt like laughing over.
So one day came a call that ended any need to distract myself at the uncomfortable blood draw. That day came a few days after lab work, when the lab tech called me. It was her way of preparing me. She told me she had reported my results and the Dr. would be calling me soon. No doubt, it was that sweet woman’s intention to let me be as prepared as possible for what Dr. M was going to tell me.
As my heart raced,when I heard his voice on the phone, I was praying for his words to be what I thought they could be. I had dared to be optimistic for years now although I had had my hopes trashed month after month. I had blown that Hope-filled balloon up so many times, I’d had lost count of the exact moments like these I had lived through. Because of the treatments I had done, each required the same uncomfortable blood tests, and I had received the same negative confirmation many times. I knew not to blow that balloon up again because I had experienced its quick burst every time – but once.
But I did. Not because of optimism.
But, because my God was bigger.
And one day it would be alright. So I hoped.
This was the day.
Dr. M. said the words -again.
“Joneal, you are pregnant!”
Again, Randy and I were ecstatic.
And I was again, ebullient! We did tell our parents because we had to tell somebody and we told our best friends, the Lillich’s and the Davenport’s. We had to. We were just too excited to hold back.
And then, The real fun begun. A few months later we were celebrated by our friends and families at the baby shower they gave us for our baby. Was it to be a boy or girl? We didn’t know. Ultrasounds weren’t done in 1980. It wasn’t until my third baby was safely in utero at seven months that I had my first ultrasound. In 1985, although the screen was as snowy looking as earliest television screens looked after 10 pm, we were told we were having a third boy. That turned out well. It’s another story of God’s faithfulness. For another day though.
This is how this part of the story ends.
On May 1, 1980 our first baby was born. Joshua Neill Kirby made me a mom. Just what I had always wanted to be. It was the most phenomenal occasion, event, moment – whatever you call it- it was a miracle to me to have a son.
I wasn’t however experiencing anything but exhaustion and pain for some time after he was delivered. I had had a pretty difficult pregnancy from six months on. His birth was complicated and my epidural didn’t work so my initial, stupid, naive plan for a natural birth happened, although I had changed my mind on that by the time my labor had started.
It wasn’t a fun labor or delivery experience at all. Josh was a forceps-delivered baby. I don’t even know if that’s done anymore but he had two bright red spots on each side of his head that stayed for a few days. And a cone-head. To say he was beautiful, well I said it, but I was looking through very, weary eyes. My Dad told me later that after he had said, “Joneal, you have a beautiful baby boy.”
I replied, “I don’t care.”
(You, who have had hard deliveries may can relate.)
That horrible feeling does leave though. After I held him, I melted. And this baby I had so wanted, settled into a place in my heart where he still is today. Almost 40 years later.
And a few hours later, I was writing long, gushy exclamations in Josh’s baby book, about my perfect and most beautiful baby boy. I had a baby.
And I was a Mom.
(Thank you for patiently waiting on me to finish. I actually have a few more things to say. But here it is 2 pm and I’m still in my
pjs. Have to get started. But this has been fun for me.)
I Hope in some way you are blessed by my story of this part of my life, as God has seen to write it. All glory to Him! A good good Father to me.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
“With God, all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
The Rest of the Story
Do you want to know why I’ve featured Beau, my first grandson’s pics instead of photos of Josh? Okay.
Now, the real REST of the story.
Writing about these long-passed years of our early family life and our struggle to have a baby began when I was reminiscing over my first grandson’s birth, our early years together in Kansas City and his upcoming birthday. When Beau was born, his mom and dad were doing their professional career preparations as a resident physician and a dentist in training. My son, Jake and wife, Jamie still lived in KC when Beau was born in 2010. In just a few weeks, on May 6, he will turn – 10! That fact rocks my world! That my first GrandBaby is already ten years old is bizarre to me. As time often feels, the days were long, but the years were so short. I spent the first two years of Beau’s life, driving back and forth to KC to spend days and weeks with my grandson.In 2011, I was there at least a full week and sometimes two, every month, caring for Beau while Jake and Jamie were working or in training. Jamie often spent more than 24 +hours shifts at the hospital in her residency
Helping with Beau’s care was the most incredible experience for me as a first-time grandmother. Jake and Jamie were immensely appreciative of my being there, and sincerely thanked me. It was not a hardship or sacrifice for me. I enjoyed that time as much as any thing I had ever done in my life. I was overjoyed to spend that amount of time with them. I know they could see how my bond with my grandson was developing. We had a mutual admiration thing going for sure!
As much as I cared for and was devoted to my three children, each who were a special gift from God, I had still never felt as joyfully loving, abundantly protective, as fulfilled in my nurturing as I did in becoming a grandmother. Those first years of being Beau’s “Honey” were unexplainable. I could only understand it as being a truly, unimaginable blessing from God in His goodness. An undeserved favor! My purpose was made so evident, so clear, I had no doubts about what I was to be doing at all.
In 2010, I still maintained a private therapy practice in the counseling center I had built. I was as active as ever in Heartfelt, the women’s ministry I had begun in 2003. However, I had no doubt that being a grandmother was my highest calling. This is what God had “built” me for. My energetic passion for my grandchildren has no equal. I am by nature an enthusiastic person. As someone once said if you find a job you love to do you’ll never work another day. Just as we all do when something inherent meshes with our fulfilled dreams and desires, the task becomes pure joy to do. I’ve known that since Beau was born and the joy continues with the seven who have followed.
I had always had the strongest desire to be a mother. That is how I began this writing. as Now, I knew why I had such an intense urge. Each of my children’s births and childhoods were wonderful blessings to me and their Dad. I’m so grateful for their lives, as children, and now as they live as faith-filled, courageous, and kind, unselfish, successful adults. They have exceeded my expectations as Christians, as husbands, wives, parents, friends, neighbors, workers, employees, and as my children in every way. Still, raising a child to be a mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy, good and godly person is the hardest work you can do. The joys, of course, outweigh and overshadow the difficulties but there are always really hard things you must do as a good, wise parent.
Comes along a grandbaby.
A gift. A blessing. A GRAND Joy. God gave me an award. The reality is “Parenting never ends”. Hence there’s never a graduation ceremony or an appreciation banquet. There’s no commencement speeches or best parent awards or even “most improved or honorable mentions. You do your task for your children regardless of recognition or compensation. In fact, you find yourself spending your resources-money, energy, mind, faith, time-every single thing necessary to invest in a good thing.
If you’re to progress towards an end, if you’re to wind up with something worth all those investments, you don’t withhold any thing. But, Parenting has no end to itself.
It is, once it’s begun, a mother’s ever-going, never-ending job. So to do it, seeking reward? That’s a silly thought to us Moms. We absolutely love our children. We must,
in order to make the thousands of personal sacrifices required. Sacrifices, good moms know, are all for the good of our child. Expecting little in return.
A hug and a kiss, as we bid one another “good night” feels to us moms, a sweet gift. A casual “thanks Mom” tossed over the shoulder of an independent teen, fills our heart enough to soften our previous frustrations. And the excited exclamations of an adult child calling to share good news, whether about a job, an engagement, or a personal best in the gym, is a large enough reward. We can coast on that for weeks.
There is really nothing. No reward or trophy or celebrations expected for all our toughly and trials of parenting. It’s what we do.
But then here they come.
The sweetest, cutest, most adorable child ever created. Our grandbaby.
This my reader, is my reward. All the days and nights, hours and dollars, sweat and tears are being overwhelmingly compensated. When that little human with a tiny face, teensy nose, velvety skin and innocent eyes is put into my arms, I know without any doubt this is what my life is about.
The years of struggling to correct my infertility, the subsequent years of pregnancies and childbirths, followed by twenty-three years of daily parenting required a deep, trusting hope and a faithful Father God. The Hope was not misplaced or false or unrequited. The Hope I had in God’s promise allowed me to find happiness in the long quest. And underwrote our family’s life. God never disappointed. As a good earthly father works hard to not disappoint his child, God’s care of me and our family over-blessed us. We could not do anything less but live our lives to His glory in gratitude.
It was God’s continuing care of us that proceeded through all our years of parenting. As a lighthouse whose beacon shines to guide ships through dark waters and the foggy unknown, God never wavered in His gift of wisdom as we trusted His way.
His gracious devotion is why Beau’s pics were featured in my first posts on Facebook as I shared mine and Randy’s story of infertility. Probably most normal women would have written this story illustrating it with photos of their baby or at least a few family pictures. But somehow it felt fitting to go straight to my first grandson’s photos to describe best what motherhood has meant to me.
How good it is to trust in God through life’s tests and trials! Through God’s providence, I believed He had great plans for us, but even so, I never would have believed that I would one day enjoy the favor of God by being given, eight grandchildren, with one more on the way. I have six grandboys and two grandgirls. Beau is my oldest and the oldest boy. He will turn ten on May 6. The youngest girl, Kirby Jane, will turn two on May 7. My eighth grandchild is Brooks and is 7 weeks old. He’s my oldest son and his wife’s first child and they live in Dallas. (This quarantine needs to be lifted by those May birthdays, because I need to see my Texas grandson when he has his first double-digit Birthday. And I need to see that newest grandson like – yesterday.)
My feelings for my grandchildren are like my feelings for my own children, but as they say, “on steroids.” I am blessed to have the most amazing relationship with each one. They are fun and funny and each personality is unique and I love watching them develop. Yes, I spoil them. That’s my pleasurable prerogative, I believe. I’m most concerned about them knowing Jesus, learning about God through the Bible and helping them find their own faith in the Lord. I pray for them and disciple them. They are well-behaved little ones. They are God-seeking children. They all have excellent parents. They are all seeing devotion to Jesus lives out in each of their parents. This is a delight in my life.
And that they are being raised so well, makes it so much easier for me to grant my grands their hearts’ desire. One way I think about this is I have earned the right to love on my grandchildren with little restrictions. Like a fairy godmother, gleefully waving her magic wand, I love to be able to fulfill my grandchildren’s wishes and dreams. Doesn’t every child need a grandparent who loves them with passionate abandon?
How have I earned that place in their lives?
I’ll tell you how I feel about the answer to that question. I believe it is my blessed reward for raising amazingly, good children who are people who do extremely well the hard work of parenting. I also with intention, pursue my grandkids. I pay attention. I notice them. I play with them. I plan adventures and events and parties.
I did my parenting job. So can their parents.
And one day, they will have their own grandchildren to love on.
A vital life verse I have said over my children and prayed over them ever since Josh’s birth. I still pray it today. It is 3 John 1:4:
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” This scripture is buried in our hearts as well as in concrete in our last two homes.
We claim this as our legacy for our children and our children’s children. Forever and evermore.