If you have been following my Christian testimony series, this is the next installment. Enjoy!
A few months before Orville was born, Michael and I made the move from Memphis to a nearby rural area. Michael had been teaching elementary Spanish at a school that was around the corner from our dream house. The year previous to our move that program had been phased out, and he was transferred to an inner-city high school. It was rough. That stuff you see in movies about inner-city high schools is fairly true-to-life. At the end of that school year, right in the middle of my pregnancy with Orville, Michael decided that he had to make a change. We put the dream house up for sale, thinking it would take some time to find a buyer. It was sold within a month of our listing by owner. My parents lived in the county next door and offered to let us move in with them for a few months until Michael could get settled in a new job and we could find another place to live.
My great-grandparents lived next door to my parents. Grandma was 91, and Grandpa was 101. It was a joy to be near them, especially because it was their last few months with us. Two weeks after Orville was born, Grandpa died. Grandma passed shortly after Grandpa. Michael had settled in his new job, teaching Spanish at the high school in our new county of residence, and Dad, who had inherited my grandparents' home, offered to let us live there. I spent several weeks cleaning out the house, transitioning it from my grandparents' final earthly dwelling to the first real home that my sweet baby would know.
Grandma and Grandpa married in 1929. Starting their lives together at the onset of the Great Depression built such character in them. It also created in them a habit of storing for the future, maybe a little too well. I sorted through 70 years worth of payment stubs, receipts, toothpaste boxes, coffee canisters and aluminum foil scraps. The nice part was I found at least one hundred years worth of newspaper clippings and documentation of my family history. I also found my prize possession of a photograph of my great-great grandparents taken in front of their farmhouse in North Dakota shortly after they immigrated from Denmark in the late 19th Century. Priceless.
Soon history moved forward. Antique furniture made way for a crib. Grandma's pretty rose-colored walls were painted baby blue. Reader's Digests and magnifying glasses were replaced with board books and finger puppets. The sound of The Wheel of Fortune blaring from the t.v. at a volume the neighbors could hear was replaced with sounds of gurgles and coos. And crying… a lot of crying!
Orville was a colicky a little guy. He almost never stopped screaming! He screamed in the crib. He screamed in the carrier. He screamed in the bassinet. He even screamed when he was held. The only place he was content was in his baby swing. We tried everything. Here's where I could insert a huge list of things we tried, but I'll spare you. Just trust me on this, we did everything in the book. It was a trying time, and the fact that nothing that was supposed to work ever did made me feel like the worst mother in the world.
When Orville was five months old (and still colicky), I realized (in spite of my sleep-deprived delirium) that a visitor had not arrived. This visitor was supposed to show up at a particular time each month and had not shown herself in almost six weeks.
Oh no! No! NO! NOOOO!!!!
"This can't be," I thought. "How in the world can I handle a pregnancy, NOW?!!"
I recalled my pregnancy with Orville. I hadn't had first-trimester morning sickness. I had around-the-clock sickness the entire pregnancy. How could I manage that again, so soon? And with a little screamer, ur… baby, to care for?!?!
As I mentioned earlier, we lived in a RURAL area. Our house was about fifteen minutes from the nearest town. This "town" had one traffic light, two gas stations, a Fred's and a Subway. That was about it. I decided I had to know if a baby was on board, ASAP. I drove to Fred's, bought a pregnancy test and decided I couldn't take the time to drive back home. I went to Subway and took the test in the bathroom there, with a crying Orville in my arms, mind you. I had to wait a few minutes for the results so I bought a sandwich, sat down to eat and gave Orville a bottle. After a few bites, I looked in my purse (where I had stored the test) and saw two pink lines.
I decided to go to the high school and tell Michael. I couldn't hold onto this news all day. I drove to the school, shaking and crying and found Michael on his lunch break. He knew something was up the minute he saw me. I think he feared I had finally endured all the screaming I could handle and had flipped out. I nearly hyperventilated while telling him the news.
"Oh, is that all?" he asked.
IS THAT ALL?!?!? Are you kidding me?
"Michael," I said. "Do you remember how sick I was during my Orville pregnancy? Do you realize that Orville will only be a year old when this baby arrives? Do you understand that this one could be a screamer, too? We may never sleep again!"
"Dawn," he replied. "It will be alright. God made this baby."
During the drive home, I thought about that. God had indeed made this baby. We live in an era in which we have been taught that we are in control of such things. That we decide when a child will be formed. That we decide if and when our children will have life. We had "tried" for four years and had no baby to show for it. Then we "decided" to give up, and God gave us Orville. Now, we had tried to prevent pregnancy, but Wilber was in my womb anyway.
I could not help but reflect on Psalm 139: 13-14 as I drove. "For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well." This child was woven within me by God. He was fearfully and wonderfully made. Why was I so upset? How could I have lived through miscarriages and said "blessed be the name of the Lord"? But now I had what I had always wanted and was anxious! I would NEVER consider having an abortion, but my attitude toward this precious human being was not very different from the mother who considers it her right to choose when pregnancy is or is not convenient for her. Convenient or not, this child was God's beautiful workmanship and I prayed for the grace to savor every wonderful moment with him.
Just so you'll know, my pregnancy with Wilber was not too hard. God's grace was once again sufficient. Wilber was not a screamer, a snorer, but not a screamer. I did get a lot of weird looks carrying around a one-year-old and a new-born. In our day of Planned Parenthood, I did not make the grade. I often was asked if Wilber was a "mistake" or an "accident".
"No," I always answered emphatically. "He is neither a mistake nor an accident. He is, however, my precious little surprise fashioned by the hand of God." What a nice surprise he turned out to be!