For several reasons, it’s been a particularly discouraging couple of weeks for my crew and I. But even in the midst of challenges, deep discouragement and personal failings and failures, God uses my crew to remind me just how incredibly blessed I am.
Tomorrow is my baby’s birthday. She turns 14. 14 years ago tonight, I was pacing the hospital halls by myself. My water had broken earlier in the day while eating with friends at a Mexican restaurant. Yes, I ate the entire burrito. Yes, it was a bad choice later on. She was SLOW to make her appearance. Her father was out of town when I first went to the hospital. He returned later that afternoon, and I sent him off to Upward Basketball evaluations. He returned to the hospital afterwards and I sent him home to sleep. I knew she was taking her own sweet time. I have my babies with no drugs, so I am free to roam. I spent my evening visiting a church member’s grandmother who was in the hospital, and then finding an empty hospital room to hide from the nurses while I labored hard. Bethany Ellen (named after my mother) finally arrived around noon the next day. She would not be hurried.
For those of you who know Bethany now, you would never guess what a “wild child” she was when she was little. Those in Hawaii who remember her will recall it—she was a little church mouse, running around the church property in no shoes, begging for food from the Vietnamese congregation, throwing tantrums in Sunday School (she was one of two students, I remember her fellow student looking at her like she was crazy), and wrapping everyone around her little pinky. She had wild blonde curly hair that matched her wild personality.
She was always dressed beautifully, thanks to hand-me-down clothes from miss Sally Edwards–who was the cutest dressed kid that I ever remembered. We were so thankful whenever a “Sally” box arrived! So my wild child grew up wearing the sweetest smocked dresses and matching outfits that totally belied her personality.
DaNa and Lydia and Dia will remember that Bethany thought she was just a natural part of their family, as many times as she slept over there. Remember Bethany getting scared and crawling in bed with you guys?? So funny.
In Tennessee, when she was still in an infant carrier, we sat her down on the front pew, locked up the church and went home, leaving her there in the church. We didn’t realize that none of us “got the baby” until we sat down to eat Sunday lunch. In a panic we flew back to church, to find her sitting quietly in her infant seat, waiting for us to remember.
When she was about 4, we almost lost her over the side of a mountain cliff. We were hiking a trail from the top of Tantalus, along the ridge, down to Manoa Falls, and then to home. Out of nowhere, a torrential downpour hit, and the trail began to fill with water and mud, making the 10 inch wide trail treacherous. We were soaked but had no choice but to keep going. Bethany stepped on the side of the trail, and slid in the mud off of the trail, landing about 8 feet below us in the crux of a tree. Her father had to climb down and rescue her and hand her up to me. I’m not a panicky mother. I was panicked that day. 🙂
Enough memories. Today she has grown into a beautiful young lady that we are so proud of. She works hard at her grades, reads everything in sight, and just this week was chosen for all-district Choir with the top score at her school with her beautiful soprano voice. She is industrious and creative, and goes after what she needs and wants. She wrote an essay that won her free braces, which she wanted with all of her heart.
In our home, she is the sweet one, quick to give me a hug and a kiss still. She is adored by her brothers and sisters. Because of circumstances in our family’s life, she’s had to grow up quickly. She’s done so with grace and a beautiful attitude. Her forgiving and loving spirit has helped the rest of my crew also remember to be forgiving and loving with each other.
Yes, I am a proud mommy. I thank God for teaching me how to love all of my crew, because there was a time when I did not know how to do so. It did not come naturally to me. And yet, He has patiently and lovingly taught me and shown me how precious all children are. There are things that come from suffering great afflictions that I think we learn and are blessed with that we might well have missed if our lives were picture perfect. One of those things is the incredible closeness of my crew and I. I am so blessed. So incredibly blessed to have these four rascals in my life. Everyday they teach me more and more about God’s grace and mercy.
So, Happy Birthday to my Wild Child! For 3 days you’ll be the same age as your big brother—enjoy your annual teasing of him, he deserves it!