Tuesday, February 2, 2010

40 Years and 9 Months Ago Today...

...something or other happened between these two people...


...and I became more than just a twinkle in my father's eye.

40 years ago today, I was born "of goodly parents". It just so happened that my maternal grandmother worked as a nurse anesthetist in the hospital where I was delivered, and as she was walking the halls with me, admiring her very first grandchild, the supervising doctor of the floor walked by her, looked at me, did a double take, walked back and said, "Whose ugly baby is that?"

"This is my granddaughter, you damn fool!" she spat. It's true. I was a very ugly baby. I had a reverse black mohawk, eyes so tiny that no one knew how I could see out of them, and ears that were crooked on my head. They still are. I even have to bend my glasses so that they'll sit correctly on my face, but you can't really tell because now lush dark brown hair covers the flaw.

38 years ago, an experience occurred that would become my first memory. My little sister had just been born, THIS sister, the sister of whom I asked when we were going to throw her in the garbage. She wouldn't stop crying, so my parents, in order to cope, left her in her crib and took me to the park across the street. We could still hear her crying through the open window of my parents bedroom, but I didn't care. I was so happy to have my parents full attention again, that I happily swung and slid down the slide. I don't think we were there very long, and now my sister and I are so close that we talk on the phone nearly every day and she doesn't care if I write posts like THIS about her.

32 years ago, I was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

30 years ago, I got my period, completely shocking my mother. I had no idea what was going on, except that it was bad. My mother then had to explain the birds and bees to me....not something I was ready to hear. I also learned that year that Santa wasn't real. It was a tough year.

28 years ago, I kissed my first boy during a round of spin the bottle. He was a black boy, and in 1982, that was scandalous.

24 years ago, I heard my father pray for the first time during my 16th birthday dinner party. He had written out his prayer and it was one of the most special days of my life.

22 years ago, I met a soldier from Washington at a dance club, and fell in love with him when he showed up at my graduation with a red rose two days later, and found me, among thousands of people.

21 and a half years ago, I married this soldier.

21 years ago, I gave birth to my first child, a beautiful baby girl. It was a natural childbirth, and up until that time, I had no idea what real pain was. Looking into her eyes, though, and seeing my husband's face in her features made it all worth it. I learned what it was like to love someone more than you loved yourself. I learned to feel perhaps a fraction of the kind of love that God feels for us, His children. I learned that there is no stronger love than that of a mother towards her child.

18 years ago today, I gave birth to our second child, a baby boy. When he came out he was purple, as the cord had been wrapped around his neck, but eventually his color faded to a light pink and he's doing much better now. In case you didn't catch that, yes, today is his birthday, too.

15 years ago, I gave birth to our third child, a baby girl. This time labor was only half as long as the previous two labors, and hers was the best birthing experience to date. I also learned to garden, and 2 weeks after she was born, I dug my first square-foot garden.

14 years ago, I gave birth to our fourth child, a baby boy. He was so dark-skinned, that when I took him to church the first Sunday after his birth, some people came up and asked me whose little Mexican baby I was holding.

10 years ago, I gave birth to our fifth child, another son. Immediately after his birth, I told my husband that no matter how much I begged and pleaded, that he was to never allow me to become pregnant again. Giving birth was just too painful, and having an epidural was never an option for me.

8 years ago, I gave birth to our sixth child, a baby girl. It's amazing how we mom's just forget the pain, isn't it?

5 years and 3 months ago, I endured the worst day of my life when I found my husband having committed suicide in his red Nissan pick up.

5 years and 2 months ago, I saw a lone man sitting in church, across the chapel...


(shown here opening a Father's Day card)

...and a strange feeling passed through me that he would be my next husband. Of course, I immediately dismissed it, as he really wasn't my type and, of course, it was much too soon to be thinking of something like this.

5 years and 1 month ago, I began therapy to help me and my kids deal with the loss of my husband and their father, and I learned that besides dealing with his suicide, I had a few other issues as well. I'm much better now.

5 years and 1 month ago, I was asked to give a talk to all of the adult members of our church in our region of the city at a meeting called a stake conference. I was to talk on how my faith sustains me, and I couldn't do that without talking about my husband's suicide (that talk is HERE). The next day, the same lone man, mentioned above, came to me as I was sitting on a pew with my children and mother, knelt down on one knee in front of me, and told me how my words of the previous night had inspired him.

5 years ago, I had a conversation with my mother after she tried to set me up with a short, mustached Mormon truck driver (not that there's anything wrong with that). I told her that it would be very difficult to find a man suitable for my family, and that for future reference, these were the criteria...

1. He could not be hideously ugly.
2. He needed to be taller than myself.
3. He had to have a job that could support our family of seven.
4 He had to be a member of our church.

(not necessarily listed by order of importance)

Simple, right? My mother and I determined that there were only two options....a man named Br. Coon, who was 90 years old and in a wheel chair, but still loved to kiss the ladies, including myself, and the lone man to whom I referred above.

4 years and 10 months ago, my mother and I plotted how I should go about seducing this lone man, as I had received an answer to prayers that I was to encourage him to date me. I decided I would start going to choir practice so I could scope him out and make sure he was a man to whom I wouldn't mind uniting.

4 years and 10 months ago, I asked John out. I then found out that he only had two of the above criteria....he wasn't hideously ugly, and he was taller than myself. He didn't have a job, as he was on sabbatical, and he wasn't a member of our church. He had been a member 27 years before, but had fallen away, and now was trying to come back "into the fold", as we say. This wasn't what I had bargained for, and I prayed earnestly to God, asking why He had put me in this situation. I told Him that I knew I was supposed to initiate a relationship with John, because of my previous prayers having been answered, but that I also knew I didn't want to be with a man who wasn't a member of our church. As I prayed this prayer, a peace came over me unlike any I'd ever felt before, and I knew I was doing God's will.

4 years and 8 months ago, John and I married, then went to Cancun, Mexico for our honeymoon. It is to this place I go when I need to find a happy place...


3 years and 9 months ago, we welcomed our first child together into the world. The labor and delivery was accompanied by a doula and even though it lasted for 36 hours, it was beautiful to go through that with John.

3 years and 8 months ago, John was rebaptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, an event his parents and siblings had been anxiously awaiting for 27 years. 

2 years and 6 months ago, I experienced one of the happiest days of my life....I found out I was pregnant with twins!

2 years and 2 months ago, John and I became sealed for time and all eternity in the temple.This means that not only will our marriage last "until death do [us] part", but we will be united as a family in the afterlife as well, forever.

23 months ago, I experienced one of the scariest moments of my life, as I waited on the operating table to have the twins cut out of me. Truly, I had never been so terrified, as I had never endured surgery of any kind. I soon realized, though, that having a c-section is much, MUCH easier than giving birth naturally! Oh, except for the part where you recover. It was then that I realized that going through natural child birth is much, MUCH easier!

1 year and 4 months ago, I lost my father, after whom we named one of the twins...


I still cry over losing him regularly.

7 months ago, I learned that I was pregnant again, with my tenth child.

3 months ago, I learned that we were having another boy.

1 week ago, we finally agreed on a name.....Daniel Moroni. Moroni is the name of a valiant warrior of whom is written in The Book of Mormon. Of him it was said, "Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men." Moroni is also the name of another man, the last prophet to have written in The Book of Mormon, and it was this man, as a resurrected being, who directed Joseph Smith to said Book of Mormon in 1823.

1 day ago, we watched a movie together, as a family, for the first time in our theater, thanks to John's wallet and the 17- and 13-year-old boys' sweat. Thank you, gentlemen!

1 hour ago, at 3:13 AM, I lay awake, tried to go back to sleep, then waddled out of bed and began this writing.

5 minutes ago, I finished a Styrofoam cup of "fresas con crema", strawberries and cream, a Mexican refreshment John had purchased for me earlier in the day.

It's my birthday! Thanks, Mom, for all you've done for me over the years. Even though I'm 40 years old, you're still such a huge part of my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Can't wait to see you this weekend!

45 comments:

KC Mom said...

What an excellent birthday post! Thank you for sharing your milestones over the last 40 years. Wow...10 kids...you are amazing. Happy 40th Birthday!

~Amy~ said...

How very neat to walk with you through the last 40 years. Thank you. And, just for the record, I teared up a bit! HA.

TexasHeather said...

What a very lovely post! Happy Birthday, to you and your son, and congrats on the coming little one as well.

alessandra said...

I would like to say so many things, but all seem inappropriate, you are a very special person and always touch my heart, happy birthday,
love.

Kami said...

Happy Birthday sweet friend! I enjoyed reading this timeline and learning all these little facts about you (like the fact that you wanted to throw your sister in the garbage!).

Hope all is going well with you and you are treated as a beautiful queen today! :)

Homemaking said...

Excellent post! I like very much...

laurice romney. said...

Great post....Happy Birthday!

jenjamin said...

Wow what a story! You are one amazing person I am sure! BTW we just went to the Cenote over New Years in Mexico, SO fun!

jenjamin said...

oh, I forgot to mention I have twins too! 10 years old, time flies fast!!!

Lolli said...

That was one of the best birthday posts I've ever read! I loved learning a little more about you and your exciting (not always good-exciting, but exciting none-the-less) life!

Globe Trotters said...

Happy Birthday Jen! You've lived an AWESOME life thus far, and are a great example!

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Thanks, everyone! You guys are so sweet. And Lolli, thanks for your excellent compliment! It means a lot coming from you!

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Jenjamin, I hope twins get easier when they are 10! At least not so messy?

Cheryl B. said...

VERY interesting time line!!! Quite an eventful time line eh?

May today host it's own warm fuzzy memories to be seared into your heart and added to your time line.

Please tell the (now) 18 year old boy that I say "Happy Birthday" and that he really is becoming quite the man - in the true sense of what a man shuld be.

Congratulations on sucessfully sterring him that direction.

Smiles and hugs for your day today, my "Mexico friend Jen" :-D :-> ;-} :-Q

Sammy said...

Great post, I enjoyed reading about the milestones throughout your life! Happy Birthday! Hope you have a wonderful day! :)

King J's Queen said...

Happy Birthday! Hope you have a wonderful day of celebrating with your family!

Cassie said...

Happy Birthday! What a great way to celebrate your birthday by remembering all those great and not so great milestones.

Melinda said...

Happy Birthday Jen. You are AMAZING! Looking forward to what the next 40 will bring. Love Ya

NatureGirl said...

Happy birthday beautiful lady. I have the same one coming up in 5 weeks. Please post a few things on how it feels to enter that new phase of life...

heather said...

happy birthday! i hope it's a great one! loved your post!

i also have a birthday gift child, my first daughter born on my birthday. isn't that the best gift ever?

Freya said...

Happy Birthday!

*Jess* said...

Happy Birthday!

Oh, and my Uncle's middle name was Moroni. Mark Moroni Staska. The kids at school called him "Mark Macaroni". Kids can be mean!

snekcip said...

Blog hopping from BLOGFROG and saw that you are celebrating a birthday today!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!

Sharon said...

So....a question....were you not sealed to your first husband? I am a member of the LDS church, but am curious how that works...

Sharon said...

Oh...btw...Happy Birthday...to you and your son!

Cheryl B. said...

me again o;-}

How many people does your in home theater seat? and what movie did your family watch?

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Sharon, no I was not sealed to my first husband, as he was baptized five years after we were married, but fell away into activity after only three months.

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Cheryl, our theater seats 11 for now, and we watched Night at the Museum 2. Wouldn't recommend it!

Anonymous said...

Good dispatch and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you as your information.

courtney said...

happy birthday!! this was such a great post! so touching. & i literally laughed out loud when i read that your other option was brother coon! haha, loved it!

thorney said...

This is the best birthday post I have ever read! It was a joy to tavel through your life and see were you have been and where you are. I will be 52 on the 23rd. Not a milestone birthday but when I look at where I was last year, I have come back and it feels good on many different levels.

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Wow, Thorney, thank you so much for your sweet compliment! And it's always good to look back and see that we've come a long way. :)

Lisa said...

What a beautiful post!! Thank you for sharing and Happy Birthday!!

I'm sorry about your Dad, I know how you feel:(

This whole post brought tears to my eyes. I'm so happy for you and your family:)

Shelley said...

Lovely! Happy Birthday!

Rudy Rukus said...

Hope you have a very happy birthday!! I hate pregnant insomnia hope you get a NAP today!!

Rebecca said...

Um... can I have your body? I know, a great post and that's what I focus on? Really, I'd love to look like that. That's not even a "You look good for having children" body, that's a "You look good!" body.

That said, I love reading about your life. Thank you for sharing!

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Oooo, Rebecca, that's the best compliment ever! Unfortunately, that was nearly five years ago, plus 20 pounds of fat plus 30 pounds of pregnancy weight! I was lamenting over that photo yesterday with my kids telling them that I wish I still looked like that! Oh well, hopefully with a good exercise program after the delivery and maybe a break between Daniel and the next child (?), I'll get back down there!

restrainedchaos said...

Wow. I feel like my life has been so uneventful. The story of your first husband makes me cry whenever I think about it. But I'm grateful that the Lord has helped you and your family heal.
And I was also instantly jealous of how good you look in that picture. Sheesh!
Happy Birthday!

Amanda B. said...

Happy Birthday!!! What an amazing 40 years you have had- a lot of true joy and true pain. Hope you had a great day!

Jenis blog. said...

You look hot in that cancun picture! Liked this post! Hope you had a happy birthday.

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Restrained Chaos, remember, that was 5 years ago, the photo where I used to look hot. Things have changed, unfortunately!

Jeni, maybe if I start attending your exercise class, I will look hot again! Maybe I should put the pic on my fridge!

Leslie said...

Somehow I came across your blog (can't remember who had your link) and I just wanted to tell you that I think you are an amazing example of a strong, faithful woman. Thanks for inspiring me and good luck with your baby on the way.

Ashley said...

What a life! And what an excellent recount of it. Filled with joy and sorrow and lots of adventure ahead! Thanks for sharing.

H said...

Happy Birthday!!!!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post Jen! Thank you for sharing your story. You truly inspire me.

Terri (the jelly lady)