Thursday, August 09, 2007
My sweet girl
When Michael and I discovered we were having our seventh child in 2005, our hearts were burdened by the fact that we'd have to find a way to share this with our family. Instead of celebrating that God had blessed the womb again, we were pretty certain that we would come up against disbelief, shock and criticism. You see, up until that point, I believe our friends and family were just humoring us. They enjoyed our children, got a kick at how much food we had to buy, how many car seats were in our van. Our "large" family was a novelty everywhere we went, in the land where 2.5 children were common. Oh, you had all those kids because you were waiting for that little girl. That was the comment we heard over and over again everytime they saw we already had five boys. They had no idea that we were just trusting God for who He wanted to send to join our family.
So when the familiar signs of pregnancy came up in November of 2004, I knew in my heart I was pregnant. There was no need for tests or a visit to the clinic. Michael and I resigned ourselves to the fact that we should keep the news to ourselves, to keep the peace during the holidays. Why not wait until christmas? Let's just eat that juicy turkey and stuffing because we don't want to be bummed out. Then it was, Geez it's been so peaceful, why don't we wait until after New Year's to break the news? I just didn’t want to have to deal with any negativity or criticism since we were going to be spending a lot of time with family. I was already struggling with the fact that I had gotten pregnant so soon after Maya was born, a mere eight months before. I felt that I lacked faith in God, and His decision to bless us with another child. Mikey just turned eleven and the rest of the kids went on down the line; seven, six, four, two and a half and an eight month old. It was insanity, I will admit it. I was already exhausted and just didn’t know if I could do it all over again. But to hear someone else who didn’t have the same conviction that we did about our family planning voice their opinions and essentially expose my lack of faith, it really bothered me and I just didn’t know how to deal with it. So I didn’t. I'm funny like that.
For me, the most difficult aspect of having to deal with family who can’t understand why I would welcome more children is the way these very same people love my children. They are doted on, loved on, enjoyed and blessed by all of my family. They bring joy, laughter, entertainment and noise wherever we go. Our family life would not be the same without them. Why then, is it so difficult to be happy for us when we announce we are having another?
It was so hard for me to not be able to excitedly tell my family I was pregnant again. But my mom knew. She sniffed it out just like a mother would. She'd ask me, why are you so tired all the time? Why aren't you feeling well? Why in the world are you laying on your butt in the middle of the day--you have so much to do around here! And I would just say I didn’t feel well, I needed to take vitamins, it was probably the weather, etc. Anything to get her off the trail. And she would look at me suspiciously, and her and my little brother would turn to each other as if they were both thinking, Hmph, something is up. When January rolled around and I was nearly three months along, we decided to tell the family. They took it the way we expected. My mother was clearly upset and voiced all of her concerns. How are you going to take care of this little baby when you already have so much to do? You need to think of your health, having six babies in nine years could not be good for you. Let yourself bounce back! These children need more of you, not less. How are you going to continue teaching them if you are taking care of a baby? Did you even think of all these things? All of these questions I had already asked myself, over and over again. When I came up with the same answer I had with all my other pregnancies, my God’s sweet peace washed over me. If He had taken care of us before, why would this pregnancy be any different? I would be able to do it all if I just relied on Him, and His strength. I knew I couldn't do it on my own. Still, it hurt to hear my mother’s words, from the mouth that I deeply respected and cherished over the years. Her grandchildren mean everything to her, they have brought her so much joy and I knew this in my heart. But I was quiet and let her speak her mind. Then a few days later, I received a card from her in the mail.
God is so good…He has the perfect plan for your life and the lives of your children. Mija, every child that our precious Father has blessed you with has been such a joy to me. I can’t thank Him enough for these beautiful little beings that are like balls of clay, being molded in the image of our Lord Jesus. Forgive me because I worry, how foolish…knowing my precious Father has provided and knows exactly what you need before I even ask! We need to continue to have the faith and trust in our Lord, to encourage and lift each other up. I reflect in my life what I thought was right, which in fact was selfish then I met my Father and He put a "new song in my heart". He gave me hope, unconditional love, comfort and an awesome opportunity to change my heart and value what is the most important thing—other than my relationship with Him—my beautiful family! Continue to look to Him for strength.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above…"
In His love, Mama
As the tears poured down my face, I thanked God for touching my mother’s heart about receiving her precious grandchildren as gifts from His hands. It gave me hope, knowing I had the support from the person that meant the world to me, that meant the world to my children. It is now two years later and that little person who caused such turmoil is the little girl who brings a smile on every face she encounters. "Hiiiiiiii!" she booms to every person she passes as we are out shopping. She is all softness and giggles and she has this sweet smell that intoxicates me every morning when she wakes up with her pudgy face and puffy eyes and says, "Ooooo mo'ning, mama". Psalm 127:3 says, "...the fruit of the womb is His reward." And Xiomara most definitely is His reward to me because she has brought me so much joy and happiness. I couldn't imagine life without her. Happy Birthday, baby girl.