When Jonathan & I met in the foothills of Alberta, Canada, in the summer of 1998, who could have seen the road we would end up travelling together ;). We were both from Manitoba, conveniently, and as summer camp came to an end, we found ourselves within an hour’s driving distance of each other. That fall, while I worked as a live-in nanny in Winnipeg, and Jonathan continued his teaching career, we worked our way through the initial stages of a relationship and within a year of meeting, were married on a HOT July day!
The next few years were spent growing accustomed to this married life, to each other, and the work each of us found ourselves in. Any one who will tell you that relationships are not a lot of hard work simply is not being honest! It is work, and sometimes a lot of it, but it is worth it. Much learning and growing happened here as we sifted through issues, expectations, habits, and personality.
Recently we flipped through our wedding photo album. OH MERCY did we look young!!! How exactly did 16 years fly by so fast!
And then, in spring of 2005, the week I was set to graduate with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, we discovered that we were going to have a baby! Oh how things change in the matter of moments. One minute it’s just the two of you. And the next minute, with the indication of two little lines on a test, you realize your heart will never be the same. Mikayla arrived in December of 2005, Kezia followed in June 2007 and Lexi waited until June 2010 before she entered into this world!
~ Oh mercy. Just looking at those little babes makes me want to have another one!! ~
When Kezia was born, all things appeared normal and fine at first, other than the fact that her delivery was quite fast (she ended up being delivered at home, under the guidance of a midwife who arrived just in time!). But within a week, there were appointments, tests, concerns, and adrenaline became anxiety. And we were facing a direction in the parenting road that we hadn’t necessarily anticipated.
Looking back on those first weeks and months, I have some very fond memories (who can forget those first smiles, those “aha!” moments of learning about this unique little person, those first milestones) and also some very, very hard ones.
I did a lot of crying. Hormonal + tired = many days perspective seemed hard to find.
I did a lot of praying. Our Heavenly Father, who loves each person who has ever been created, knows each one of us so perfectly, so thoroughly. Believing He had a purpose for each of us brought relief from the fear and anxiety that plagued me.
And I did a lot of soul-searching. I never really asked, “Why did this have to happen???” In my mind, it seemed the question was, “Why NOT me; us? What would lead me to believe that hard things can’t happen to me, to us?” Hard things do happen. And the truth of it is, hard places have the potential to become beautiful spaces if we give ourselves the chance to grow. I recall crying, “I can’t DO this!” but knowing, deep in my heart, the real statement was, “I don’t WANT this!” I didn’t want “different” or “hard” because that to me = “scary.” I also examined my expectations of parenting; what I anticipated for each of our daughters.
I was talking through my struggles with all the unknowns with a very wise woman. (Some day I will write a post called Everyone Needs A Josie). And we shared a chuckle. She asked me, “Who is the only person that can tell you what is going to happen to Kezia?” Uh oh. Counsellor asks a question. Foot tapping. Throat clearing. Ummm. I stalled a bit. Shifting in my chair. I was thinking this should be a pretty easy answer, but I just couldn’t get it. In all honesty, I used the age-old Sunday School answer, “Uh…. Jesus!?” We laughed! No, that wasn’t what she had in mind. She looked at me and said, “Only Kezia is going to be able to tell you her story.” We can’t write it for them, folks. In reality, I wouldn’t want that, even if I could. Because I would likely cut out the Chapters of Hard Things, or fast forward through Tricky Teenage Years, and that would be really short-changing us all.
And oh what a gift we would’ve missed if this hadn’t been our road to walk!! Each person has a path filled with hard things and blessings. This was ours. And the blessings have been immense!! It still is not always easy, but it was never meant to be easy. It can be, however, beautiful, victorious, hope-filled and a great adventure!