Thursday, November 25, 2010
By the time we moved from Colorado back to Utah in 1997, we were sure our family was complete. Jon was only three, but we were focused on building a solid life for our family after years of travelling with school and the military. Before we knew it, Jon was in school and so was Rick and the time to have more children was gone we felt. Then something happened that set our lives on a new path. Rick started a new job in Ogden and the first thing he brought home was a severe case of strep throat. He was able to recover after a series of antibiotics, but it took a year of round after round of antibiotics and having my tonsils removed for me to regain my health.
At that time we also realized I was pregnant. Filled with confusion and concern regarding my ability to complete a pregnancy, we turned to our Heavenly Father in prayer. What we received was one of the most profound and definitive answer to prayer that I have ever received. We were wrapped in the arms of the Holy Ghost, He whose mission is to provide Comfort to all of His Father's children. We were also provided with the knowledge that we would have two more children who had been patiently waiting - one with dark hair and one that was blonde, but that the baby I was pregnant with was not one of them. Shortly after that prayer and answer, I did miscarry, but the knowledge that we were to have two more children remained.
Now you may wonder why I am sharing such a personal experience. First many people assume that because of the age difference between Jon and Lela that she must have been an oops and so we had Emily as well. I want them to always know that they were wanted and planned. Second on this day of Thanksgiving, I feel compelled to express my gratitude for a Heavenly Father who I know does hear and answer prayers. He loves each and every one of his children and knows us just as I know the children I have been blessed with and is willing to care and aid us if we ask.
LelaJane and Emily
Yin/Yang is the concept that comes to mind when I think of these two firecrackers. Not only in looks are they two sides of a coin, they have always relied on each others strengths as they have made their way through their lives. Emily has always been Lela's baby and Lela has always been Emily's hero. Yet I see Lela draw courage and confidence from Emily's presence, just as Emily can be calmed and focused by Lela. One of their favorite tricks is to tell people that they are twins. Then they both will just giggle leaving the questioner confused. When one is sick, the other is there to take care of her sister. When one has a game or performance the other has to be there to cheer her on.
As they have gotten older, their interests have diverged. Lela is more athletic. She loves tumbling, swimming, volleyball, etc.; anything that keeps her moving. Lela is determined. When she was five, she decided she wanted to learn to ride a bike. She spent one day at the park practicing on the grass and then everyday she would practice on her own in our driveway. One day she told her dad to take off her training wheels. He was cautious about doing that, but he did at her persistence. Off she went. She had done it. She approaches everything this way.
Emily is more artistic. She loves to craft. She can take paper, scissors, tape and glue and create amazing things. One day when she was only three or four, Rick stayed home from work ill and decided to keep Emily home with him. I came home to find that at some point during the day, Emily had crafted herself a doll from paper, aluminum foil, tape and a glue bottle. Rick was totally unaware that this had happened. Needless to say Emily went to daycare from then on when Rick was home. But it also shows how self-sufficient Emily has become. As a youngest child, you would normally think she would be used to being taken care of, yet she is the one who takes care of everyone else. She loves to cook and is always helping in the kitchen. She is the one who will make sandwiches or snacks for her siblings or get a bowl of cereal with milk. She will tell you how everyone likes their cereal if you ask.
Lela and Emily are just starting to discover themselves. Soon they will be separated during the day as they attend different schools. Last week I was discussing with them that once Lela starts Intermediate School, they will not be in the same school again till high school. At first they both giggled and thought it was funny, then they both looked at me and asked if I was sure. I could see them trying to imagine a day without the reassuring hug at recess or the high five in the lunch room.
I can't imagine these two going through life without each other. Their arrival caused a fundemental change in our family, but it was a change for the better. Our home is filled with song and with dancing. They bring sunshine and selflessness. As complete as our family seemed before, it truly wasn't complete until they arrived. As a further testimony to Heavenly Father's awareness, Lela was born one year to the day of my miscarriage and Emily was born at the estimated due date of that same baby.
Here are some thoughts I have had recently on perspective. As we worked to finalize our house plans, alot of time and effort was put in to insuring that we were building a home comparable in size and features to our former home. In order to reduce the size of the footprint on the lot, we have added a basement. We have also been in a couple of homes that have been built using the same basic floor plan, so it is interesting to see how the perception of the lot and our house changes as the construction begins. We have gone from our lot is huge to will the house be able to fit; from "Mom, this really can't be our house and garage, because it is no bigger than the playhouse" to "Oh my heck, do we really need all this room?" (The bank says yes to that question.) Just as our property space is being redefined, the perspective we use to look at life defines and redefines us.
Here are some stories of inspiration that I have witnessed the last couple of months that have truly inspired - Friends who were in the process of moving from their home worked to insure that my children would not have to move again until our new house was built; a dear friend who while coping with a life-changing crisis with her son had the courage to make a fundamental change in her own life and yet still had the awareness and compassion to share her love and home with others; a young couple facing both the challenges of new baby and life-threatening illness continued to put others ahead of themselves and were amazed and humbled at the response of others to them; dear friends who face their challenges with a sense of humor and gratitude for their blessings; business owners who go above and beyond the normal course of business time and again with no expectation of compensation even when it impacts their personal life; the men I work with on a daily basis who go out of their way to serve the community with integrity, professionalism and compassion knowing that their efforts will probably never be recognized; and an amazing community that steps up time and time again to help each other truly exempliflying the Savior's admonition to love thy neighbor as thyself.
As always, I am inspired by my family - parents who continue to give and serve their children while setting an example of unconditional love and faith; my children: Hunter who continues to faithfully serve the Lord and people of Montana even when faced with opposition, his list of gratitude was truly humbling (family, friends, my mission, beautiful sunrises, scriptures, prayer, my testimony, church leaders, the prophet, Montana, cars, heaters, trench coats, house, the fire that burned our house, snow, trials, people who tell us no, people who tell us yes, other missionaries, President and Sister Gardner, food, this country, the soldiers that laid down their lives defending freedom, the soldiers that are still fighting, technology, science, school, education, mail, money, clothes, rain, sunshine, moonlight, stars, this Earth we have to live on, Mormon Tabernacle choir, other music, movies, chess, board games, card games, my health, my life, my eyes, my fingers, my mouth, my hair, my legs, my brain, my heart, chemistry, history, math, English, talents, gifts, the love of our Heavenly Father, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and especially the atoning sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ), and for Wil, Jon, Lela and Emy who have faced this year with courage, humor, resiliency, compassion, faith and love. I am in awe at how even the youngest has stepped up to take care of themselves and each other so that Rick and I can focus on work, insurance companies and contractors.
I am so blessed.