Another Birthday Story

Happy First Birthday, Carter Brett Lawson!

Dear Carter,
Today is your FIRST BIRTHDAY! I am so excited about seeing you later today. It is so hard to believe all of the changes since you came into our lives. What will be ahead for you and all of us?
You were born 365 days ago, but God had chosen the exact day, long before. When I look back, now; it seems like a very short year compared to the long, long time we waited for you. Your Mommy and Daddy had prayed and prayed for a baby boy or girl to come into their lives. A lot of other people were praying, too. After some time, they decided to ask some other people to help them bring a new child into their family.
They talked with the wonderful people at Bethany Christian Services. They filled out a bunch of papers, talked with a bunch of people, started saving a bunch of money, and even making special efforts to get a bunch of extra money.  There was lots to do to get ready for a baby!  One of the most special things your Mom & Dad was to make a book about themselves along with a video for Birth Mommies to look at in order to decide if they would be a forever family for her little baby.  Your Mommy and Daddy did a lot of thinking during this process.

They talked about how they wanted to parent, how to share their faith and wondered about who you would be.  I was fascinated with how they communicated with each other during this time.  They were tender and sweet and sometimes very playful about this subject of a child!  Your Lolli & Pops and Skipper & I wrote letters to the Birth Mommies, too.  It was very hard to write a letter such as that.  We didn’t want to sound like we were begging for a baby, but that is certainly what we were doing to God in our prayers.

The day came without warning.  Your Mommy and Daddy called to tell us they had a call from Bethany.  It was Ash Wednesday.  How fitting that as I write this, Ash Wednesday was only two days ago!  Your Mommy called me at about 3:00 in the afternoon.  They went to meet with Mr. Mark and Ms. Terri at Bethany and were told that they could pick you up the next morning!  You were two weeks old on the day you were WELCOMED into their home, hearts and all of our lives.  You were such a little boy!  Skipper & I were so happy.

That night, your Mommy and Daddy went shopping for bottles, formula, diapers and the real necessities.  The next day, Auntie M and I went shopping for little bitty clothes for you to wear.  Then, on Friday, your Daddy called to say that we could come to see you!  My heart beat so fast, all the way from Pilot Mountain to Knoxville!  When we arrived, we thought we were seeing an angel!  You were and still are the most precious little boy, EVER! (Don’t tell your Daddy and Uncle Jeremy.)

During the year that has passed, we have watched you grow.  You are more than three times bigger than you were when you were born.  You have learned SO much!  You can talk and walk, play with toys and books, feed yourself and many more things.  Your parents have learned as much as you have.  The biggest thing they have learned is that their hearts can hold a whole lot more love than they thought before.

Your little personality is developing every day.  You have the sweetest smile that melts my heart and you are rapidly learning how to use it to your best advantage!  You have a funny expression that indicates you are going to be a little mischievous!  You don’t cry much compared to most babies.  You don’t sleep well when you are in a strange place.  You are a very healthy eater, thanks to your parents!  Each generation of parents seems to be much smarter about this, thank goodness.  You have a lot of patience for a little boy.

On your birthday, I have dreams and wishes for you.  I pray that you will be a strong and faithful Christian.  I hope you will be well-educated and have a fulfilling career.  Most of all, I hope  you will be happy and healthy.  I already know that you are loved beyond what we humans can measure.  I hope that you will always know that your family supports you and that you can call on us any time you need help or just a listening ear.

With ALL my love, Ju-Ju

P.S.  Miss Megan, you will always be my hero!  Thank you for loving us and trusting us…


Another New Year in Labor

Well, 2011 is in the hospital.  Almost in paliative care.  By the time I finish this post, she will have only 12 hours or less to live in our presence.  She will move into time heaven known as “THE PAST”.  While she (2011) is being remembered in our memory as a pleasant experience for some and a hard time for others, 2012 is squirming her way down the calendar’s birth canal.  Do we mourn the passing of this year, or celebrate the arrival of another?

I guess this is my opportunity for both.

The love of my life has had a difficult year.  The frustration of being retired, not by choice, has been a frequent topic of thought and discussion.  His ability to handle this has truly amazed me.  There have been emotional ups and downs, but he has continued to remind me of his love and devotion.  The highlight of this subject was the evening he told me I was doing a good job keeping the drugstore going.  I’m sure he has no idea how much I feed on his approval and praise.  Watching him handle the physical pain of his illness has been tough, to say the least.  I hear him when the pain causes him to catch his breath and hold it for a second and it makes me want to cry.  Sometimes his sighs can fill a room with sadness, knowing he cannot do the things he wants to do.  His visible disappointment with the delay in receiving disability benefits has been frustrating for me, as well.  We see many people every day who don’t suffer like he does who enjoy those benefits that we feel he deserves.  But, most days, he tries to be happy.  He is still my rock and I still look to him for guidance.  Now, here is where wisdom can be found.  Maybe I should get him to start blogging!

My favorite memory of 2011 will always be the afternoon of March 9th!  I was visiting a friend in her office (there is absolutely NO remembrance of what we were discussing) when I received a phone call from my sweet daughter-in-law, Cassie.  She repeatedly asked me if I knew what day it was.  I assured her I did.  It was Ash Wednesday, March 9th!  “I just want to make sure you remember what you were doing when we called to tell you we were on the way to Bethany,” she said.  I’m not sure I heard much more than that.  After many months of paperwork, fundraising and prayer, she and Chris were on the way to the office of Bethany Christian Services to hear of their “situation”.  Thank you, GOD!  The next call informed us that there was a 2 week old little boy waiting for us to be his forever family.  We had already learned all these new terms:  birth mother, adoption plan, forever family and had continuously tried to practice patience.  A shopping trip ensued the next evening after Carter Brett had been united with his parents and then, Skipper and Ju-Ju, followed by Maggie, Jeremy and Nicki made the journey to meet this little miracle.  And as any grandparent will tell you, It was worth the wait!  God is so good.

What will 2012 bring?  We know of at least one thing, another grandchild!  Maggie, our youngest, and her wonderful hubby are expecting a little girl in February.  Yes, if you read my first post, you were mistaken to believe that we already have 2 grandchildren.  The second is not quite here.  This is a VERY different experience having to wait for a pregnancy to pass.  I almost think it is easier to have short notice for an arrival of this magnitude.  Not knowing that God was making Carter for us, there was no worry about Cassie’s health during his formative months.  Nor was there any fear that he would be early or unhealthy.  This pregnancy thing is altogether different.  Being an observer is hard for the first time.  When one is pregnant, she has control over much of what can affect her body.  Grandmothers don’t have that security.  Not that my daughter would do anything to harm her unborn child; she has been the utmost example of a healthy mother-to-be.  But, I cannot “do” anything to help this child along.  That is a strange feeling that I didn’t have the opportunity to worry about with Carter.  You’d think I learned to trust God with that one, huh?  Well, a mother is always prone to worry.  Watching Carter grow and explore and learn will be another thing to look forward to in the new year.  And, Jeremy and Nicki, “our middle two” have an opportunity for new beginnings, as well.  They are such a fine example of devoted love.  They have overcome some hardships in 2011 and have a plan for success in 2012 that I am praying over diligently.

For me, I am still looking to grow.  I need to grow in my spiritual life, in my professional life and I need to be a better wife and mother.  I am grateful to have breath to continue to try and better myself.  I am looking forward to finishing my “knitting room” and USING it.  I am looking forward to more beach and boating trips.  I am looking forward to more time to love on my family!

Eleven and 1/2 hours to go and counting….

Here we go!

Really? Am I ready to blog? Maybe so.
I recently joined a web-based knitting group and I noticed tonight that the only open space on my profile was a link to a blog or web page. I just decided that I needed to fill that space! So, here we go!
I am still not really sure where to start, but I think that this will be the perfect place to share with my grandchildren. I have been writing to my unborn granddaughter in a little journal for some time, now. Her Mom hopefully will not see this until I have shared the journal with her. However, I feel like I am leaving my grandson out on these little sessions and that is the last thing I would want to do. Carter is the love that I never knew existed. He lights up my heart with every thought of himself. However much wisdom they will find here, I do not know.
After all these years, even though they may or may not admit it, my children are showing me what kind of parenting job I really did. This is the tale they cannot hide! Watching them become parents really does give me insight into what I did right and what I did wrong as a mother. The things they are doing like I did, I must have gotten right! The things that I do not see in their parenting techniques, I probably screwed up somewhere. That doesn’t mean I feel like a terrible parent, but we are human and we do make mistakes. I also know that parenting as an art must evolve with our ever changing world. Shoot, technology requires as much.
My point is that I can see the goals that I reached as I watch my children teach someone else to be a valuable human being. So far, so good! This is absolutely one of the most gratifying seasons of life, and I am blessed.