The Grocery List

Hello all! I'm actually going to do two posts today, as a way of concluing my walk with God in the journey of becoming a mother.  Both of them each deserve their own postings, as to give you a clearer picture of how God decided to complete our family, and to show His hand of blessing in that.

Just to give you a little timeline of how the stories have looked so far, it goes something like this:

1. Experienced five miscarriages - w/ six children now waiting for us in heaven (the first miscarriage was fraternal twins)
2. Went on adoption journey to adopt our son.  This current posting briefly describes a hard detour along the way.
3.  We hold our son Anthony for the first time.  You can see that story with "Worthy of Praise" below.
4.  When Anthony turned six months old, I discover that I'm expecting Anna.  You have read that story in "Furnace or Freedom" below.
5.  The conclusion to our family is coming up on the next post after this one.  :o)

So now to help keep this story going, here's "The Grocery List"

“Let’s go around the table and say what we’re thankful for, “my friend quipped from across the dining room table one Thanksgiving Day. Everyone nodded in agreement except for me. Perhaps they thought that I didn’t hear or was preoccupied in thought. Not true. I was ignoring the suggestion all together, for I had nothing to be thankful for.

Never mind the fact that I had a wonderful husband, a great job, supportive family, dear friends, good health, and financial stability. My spirit was grieving, for a phone call the day before had broken my world apart.

Looking back at the day before…

I was puttering around the house after work, trying to decide what to bring to my friends’ house for Thanksgiving dinner. My heart was fluttering from the news Brent and I had received earlier in the week from our local adoption agency. The expectant mother who had chosen us as adoptive parents had just delivered by C-Section. The adoption specialist had given us details of what the baby might need, should the placement go through.

Along with my Thanksgiving grocery list were things I thought I’d never write on there: baby formula, bottles, newborn diapers. I glanced at the list again and took a deep breath and wondered, “Is it OK to go ahead and buy these things? Should I wait until I know for sure?” I put the list back down and wrestled with what to do. My husband walked into the kitchen and saw me. “Are you OK?”

I’m just not looking forward to going to the grocery store.” Kneeling down, Brent looked at me tenderly, and then gave me a sympathetic kiss on the cheek. “I think you can wait on some of those items till a little later, Holly”, he said gently. “I know you want to be prepared, but it’s going OK, really. Let’s just wait a little while longer. Alright?”

Actually, it was more than alright. It was a relief. That’s why I had been putting off going to the grocery store all week. I just couldn’t make up my mind about what to do about the list. Get it or don’t get it? The same words swirling in my brain.

Relieved to have an answer, I picked up my list again and grabbed my car keys. Just then, the phone rang.

After hanging up the phone, I sat on the floor and just sobbed. Brent didn’t ask. He didn’t have to ask. He just sat on the floor with me and held me close. Though no tears came from him, I could feel his shoulders shaking. He was trying so hard to be brave for me; for him; for both of us.

My mind throbbed as I recalled the conversation on the phone. I told our adoption specialist how I was glad that the expectant mother had made the decision to parent her son. I went on to explain that she had to make many hard choices in her life and we were so glad that she just never made the choice to abort her son, but to give him life and now to parent him too. This just wasn’t our time right now and though we’re sad, we have peace in knowing we helped a young lady make the best choice that she could for her son and herself. Then I hung up the phone.

I knew the words I had just spoken. I meant every one. And I sobbed uncontrollably in spite of that. Wave after wave of grief just washed over me. It was like a miscarriage all over again. And exactly at seven weeks – just like five previous miscarriages I had previously experienced. Why seven weeks? Why not two or ten? Brent holds on like we’re fixing to slip off a ledge into a dark cavern. And we don’t move for over an hour. Sitting crumpled up on the floor, the only words manageable, a prayer – no a cry to God with only one word, “Why?”

The next day was such a haze. I was so grateful that God prepared the way for us to be with our friends to be with on Thanksgiving Day. We listened to everyone give a glowing report of all that they were thankful for. And then came Brent’s turn. He grabbed my hand and thanked God for our lives together, for our friends and their graciousness. Then he compassionately looks at me and says, “Do you want to add anything, Holly?” Bless his heart, he was always protecting me. I glanced around at my friends who had heard the stories in hushed whispers and said, “Thank you for having us over.” Our friends smiled broadly in a way that says “We understand”. Nothing more is said or even asked. And we ate in peace.

Fast forward a year…

We made plans to be with our friends again on Thanksgiving. The grocery list sat on my table and on it were things like size four diapers and formula. And it wasn’t a question of should we get it; it was more like where can we get it the cheapest? The grocery list was not as neat as last years. It was scribbled in a hurry and it tended to run downhill, because someone was tugging on my arm and pointing at whatever had captured his attention at the moment. His play fishbowl on the floor; the cat meowing outside the door; the half full bottle on the counter. “Just a minute,” I tell him as I gently lowered him to the floor. That wasn’t good enough for him and soon I felt hand over hand running up my pant leg and then the same tugging on my arm; this time accompanied by baby chatter and quizzical brown eyes. I tried to put him on what was left of my seventh month pregnant lap, as he happily grabbed the pen and added his own touches to the grocery list.

And that’s when last year’s memory came in like a flood and I’m sobbing uncontrollably from all the thankfulness that is pouring through my heart – for all the heartache I know my son’s birthmother is feeling right now – for another dearly prayed for and loved little boy who is celebrating his one year birthday with his mother - and for my own personal future of next year’s adventure with two children.

Brent walked into the kitchen in and noticed Anthony bathed in my tears. He asked, “Are those happy tears or sad tears?” I replied through a smile, “Both, actually.” He grinned at me in a way that said I really don’t understand pregnant women and said, “I see you got the grocery list done, but I think you’ll have to do it over.” “Why?” “Well, the tears made your ink run…”

I looked down and sure enough, I can’t read a thing.

I grab two fresh sheets of paper and grab another pen. Anthony and I work on the grocery list together. I can’t help but smile and hold him tighter. And write down the words formula and diapers all over again.

When I shared this story with a friend, she asked, "How old was Anthony when you received him?"  "Seven weeks old," I reply.  "Holly that's fantastic!" she replies enthusiasticlly. 

I'm giving her my watcha-talkin-about-willis look to her.

"Just think about it," she said.  "God redeemes even the TIME.  Almost all of your miscarriages happened at seven weeks, right?  And look!  God gave you a seven week old son.  Isn't that awesome?!"

Whoa...hadn't thought about that before.  :o)

Psalm 62:8

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.


For His Glory said...

I have something for you at my blog: I really love your writing and hope you keep on writing!

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Feel free to comment, and God bless you! ~ Holly

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