...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!