This blog is a continuation in a series I am writing about my husband’s brain injury. If you wish to read the story in order, go back in my archives and find Begin at the Beginning…all the ones in the category brain injury tell my story. Some are longer than others…they come in chunks of time…sometimes quickly and others much slower. Thanks for taking the time to read and being patient as I walk through the one of the toughest parts of my life again with new eyes to see how God used the broken pieces to create something beautiful.
I have been missing in action. I guess you have noticed. It has been a while, and this time the break is because I am unsure where to go with the story. You see, this is the part where the kids come along, and I am very careful what I share about my kids. I don’t want them to become blog fodder. It is one thing to put my life online for the world to read, but it is completely another to put theirs out there. I have been deciding how to proceed, and after much consideration, I have chosen to summarize and fast forward. That way you get the big picture without the personal details that they may not appreciate being shared into virtual space.
Last I shared, God had provided the perfect job at a group home for 8 mentally impaired men and we had moved back to Georgia from Tennessee. We worked at the group home for a couple of years. Things were smooth there and we loved the job, and as far as we knew, having a baby while working there was not an issue. We had the space for a crib in our room. We knew the guys would love to have a baby “brother or sister.” We didn’t know for sure how long it would take us to get pregnant…maybe months or years. Our thought was that once we got pregnant and had the baby, we could begin to look for another job so that by the time our child was 2 years old, we would have our own place. What we did not know is that we would get pregnant immediately. We were thrilled! The guys were thrilled! It was exciting for all of us.
The pregnancy went well and before we knew it the time had come to deliver. I had planned to work right up until the baby was born, but when I went a week past my due date we decided to go ahead and take our maternity leave. When we called the office to tell them, our boss informed us that they felt a baby would not be a good idea for the home and that they would rather we not return after our leave. We were shocked as we realized that we had a few weeks and then we would be unemployed. Looking back on it, they were absolutely right. I could not have handled it being a new mom and taking care of 6 guys, plus my husband. However, not finding out until a few days before I delivered was another blow. We had to disassemble the crib that was set up in our newly painted alcove. We loaded up our few things at the home that were ours…mostly clothes, in addition to the crib…and said goodbye to our family of guys. It was very emotional and the timing could not have been worse. Within days, I went into labor and had the most beautiful baby girl I had ever laid eyes on…perfect in every way. It did not matter that we were unemployed. Only that she was here and she was ours.
It seemed over the years that our pattern of having babies and being unemployed continued. Bill was able to find work after Hannah was born. Thank God. We lived in the condo we had used for weekends when we were house parents. Then surprise, surprise…when Hannah was 9 months old I got pregnant again. Then when Aaron came, we moved to a tiny house Bill’s dad owned on some property he was developing. In a couple of years, I was pregnant again and William was born. The tiny house was like living in a playpen… 800 square feet of toys and cheerios. However, being a mom was what I had always wanted…so for me, it was a dream come true. I learned to balance happiness with the constant stress of not knowing where the next paycheck would come from. We were surprised once again when we found out we were pregnant with Peter, and once he was born, we made two more moves. Hannah was the only one of our babies that was somewhat planned. All the others are birth control babies, proving the point that if God wants you to have a baby you will…no matter what kind of measures you are taking to prevent it. Unexpected though they were, we could not have been happier to have each addition. We felt that each child was a blessing and a gift from God.
I think we counted it up one time, we had moved 11 times in 6 years, and added four children in the process. Stability was not something we were familiar with. However, mentally Bill was so much better than before. He was a wonderful father…fun-loving, compassionate, understanding, patient. Truly a miracle occurred when he became a father. If you have ever seen a child being in awe at a baby, you would understand how he was with the kids. Gentle. Loving. Truly. It was amazing to watch. I stayed home with the kids. It was my heart’s desire to be with them in their early years. We went without. That was okay. It was our choice and my attempt to provide stability for the kids, and for my husband. Being available for everyone and holding things together at home was necessary at that time. I was the glue. Had I been working, I am not sure if we could have continued to be a family. Honestly. It took every ounce of my energy to maintain my home. If I had worked, that energy would have had to have been divided. There is no way I could have done that. No. Way. People did not understand this, and so being misunderstood and many times judged is something I became used to. We both did what was necessary to raise these children and provide them love in the formative years.
Family helped us a ton over those years. We lived in family owned homes. We received money from them. God used them tremendously in our lives. Once we moved back to Georgia after a few years in SC, Bill went to work for his dad in the real estate developing business. I got a part time job directing a pre-school at our church, so that I could be with Peter as he grew. When he went to kindergarten, I went back to teaching full time. We built our home where we live now with the help of my family. We have been here for 14 years. (to be continued…)