It’s amazing to have those ah-ha-Oprah-full-circle-come-to-Jesus-epiphany moments when clarity and the meaning of your life just hits you like a tanker truck. Now, I realize life doesn’t always work this way. I think more often than not, we DON’T know why some of the dooty in our life happens, but when the dooty comes and smacks us in the face (hypothetically, of course), it can really awaken us to the truth and we finally just…get it.
Well, I had a moment like this. It was a few months ago, actually. But another more recent ah-ha-Oprah-full-circle-come-to-Jesus-epiphany moment of awakening reminded me of the aforementioned realization. I’ll start with the more recent one and work back from there.
We -- Mike, the boys, and I – were discussing the topic of the current ‘Google doodle’ contest for kids. The line for which kids create a Google logo-themed design is: “My best day ever.” We were discussing ‘best days’ ever. Of course, the boys took this to mean the most amazing, magical (let’s face it, pretty unrealistic) day they could possibly imagine…which is fine; it can be interpreted however one wants. I took it to heart and started to really ponder this: could I name one – just ONE – best day ever? And without a second’s hesitation I realized that yes, yes I sure can.
Obviously, most people would name their obvious top days: your wedding day, the birth of your children, etc. These are most certainly on the top of my list, but the issue with those days for me was – while they were undeniably joyous and miraculous and had great moments of awe-inspiring wonder – they will always be marred by the stress and worry that accompanied them. Mike was so ill on the morning of our wedding, we thought we might have to cancel the whole thing. Once through with the ceremony and reception (both of which did go smoothly), we headed to the ER where we spent our wedding night. Not the most bliss-filled experience, honestly. Matthew’s birth-date – while incredible – was full of surprise, delight and immense fear. Five weeks early, our 5 pound peanut – thought to be a girl – was a well-endowed little boy who was immediately whisked off to the NICU where I wouldn’t get to hold him for over 24 hours. An amazing day, yes, but also not the most ideal of circumstances. Then a similar story with Zachary’s arrival into the world. An even smaller peanut who I didn’t get to hold or nurse or cuddle for a long time. I know so many people have way more tramautic labor and delivery stories than this, and we are SO very blessed because, in the end we have these two incredible healthy boys, but their first entries into this world weren’t exactly stress-free and nonstop joy. None-the-less, their birthdays will always be special to me. But these two momentous days were not The One. However, I’d like to think – I hope, nay, I know – that Matthew and Zachary will understand that The One – my Best Day Ever – was in a huge part because of them.
My best day ever was the day we brought Kayliana home from the hospital. That day was more intense and powerful than stressful. Kayli was placed in my arms by her birthmom. (Did I forget about the pain that Mia must’ve been feeling? No. Not for a second. My heart broke for her while it simultaneously was beyond full of joy. Just trying to understand how she could’ve made that ultimate sacrifice deepened my awareness of what a blessing our daughter – and her birth mom – are.) Kayliana came home. We introduced Matthew and Zachary to their brand new baby sister. When they rocked in the chair before bed, they held her and sang lullabies; I stood in the doorway and after capturing a quick photo, wept tears of joy. That was my best day – my best moment – ever because I knew…I knew from the depths of my soul that our family was complete. Whole.
So, that’s my Best Day EVER…to date. I’m still open to having more awesome, amazing, incredible days, but it’s hard to imagine topping that day.
OK, so my other big ah-ha-Oprah-full-circle-come-to-Jesus-epiphany moment is…well…pretty different. It, first of all, took place in an Applebee’s restroom. I kid you not. Hey, Jesus is everywhere, even in the bathrooms of casual dining establishments.
Mike and I were on our way to present an Engaged Encounter retreat weekend to 30ish couples. We’d stopped for dinner. Maybe it was the glass of wine (does Applebees have especially potent wine?!), but I’m pretty sure Jesus spoke to me while I made a quick pitstop before we left the restaurant. It came to me in one quick rush of understanding. I suddenly knew. I finally understood why everything happened why it had happened. If Mike hadn’t had Cancer in our first year of marriage (and doctors, therefore, telling us we might not get pregnant or it might take a while), then we might not’ve tried to get pregnant when we did…which lead to the conception of Matthew (who we were told would be a girl but was a perfect, surprise of a bouncing baby boy)…two years later we get pregnant with Zachary but at 28 weeks I go into preterm labor and get locked up in the hospital for seven weeks of bed rest (which resulted in the birth of this blog AND…) another sweet little preemie boy…who was discharged from the NICU after one week and sent home with us…where I proceeded to be slapped in the face by a bad case of Postpartum Depression (is there such a thing as a good case?! I don’t think so)…because of the bed rest and the PPD…so I start therapy and begin the long (never-ending) process of working through some of this history…and after a few more years…we eventually come to the conclusion that we do want another child and that adoption is the best route for us…which lead us to the adoption agency Amara…which brought us the info on Mia…who picked us as her daughter’s forever family…which has automatically placed us in the longterm blessing of being automatic spokespeople for adoption…which lead us to, when needing to update our Engaged Encounter presentations last year…writing an entire talk on the discernment process that helped us work through everything that I just talked about and conclude that adoption was the way to go for us (full circle-y, huh?)…so that now, every single EE retreat we present on, we are planting the seed of adoption in at least 30 engaged couples…of these 30 couples, unfortunately, approximately five of them will experience infertility and may, just may, think back on their EE weekend and how they heard this amazing story of adoption and perhaps it will lead them to consider it and discern that adoption or foster-to-adopting is right for them too. (And obviously, couples who don’t experience infertility can ALSO adopt, I’m just going with some stats here). If we continue our average of the last ten years and present at least three wEEkends a year, that’s 15 couples annually who might be affected by our story and maybe, just maybe, that’s why everything worked out as it did.
And, while I could’ve done without some of the stress along the way, as you can see by my Best Day Ever, I’m pretty glad things DID work out as they did. And God Bless Applebee’s.
The Best Day Ever moment