On Mothers and Daughters

I went through a phase when I was a senior in high school where I was certain I did not want to have children. I think my line was “I’d rather cut out my ovaries with a spoon.” At the time, I was determined to become a doctor and I knew a family would complicate that. I saw how tired my own mother was and in my self-absorbed way, I knew that could not be me.

Fast forward a couple years and Patrick and I get married. I have decided that I don’t like the type of person I would have to be in order to excel in med school. (Cut-throat. Ambitious. Selfish. Self-centered. Successful at the expense of others.) And even while I have decided a family is something I want, I have decided I don’t want daughters.

Come on, ladies. We all remember what middle school was like with our moms. This was a typical conversation:

Mom: “How was your day?”
Pubescent Me: “Fine.”
Mom: “Just fine?”
Me: “What?! Is that not good enough for you?! LEAVE ME ALONE.”

Anybody relate?

So I was sure a brood of sons would make sure I didn’t have to repeat that cycle with my own girls.

Baby #1 was a boy. Success!

Baby #2…oops.

There hadn’t been a girl in my immediate family since me 20+ years earlier. My younger siblings are all boys. My sister had two boys. I had a boy. I had changed twelve million diapers in my life and not one of them was a girl baby, until my Maggie Jake was born.

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My beautiful mommy and her first granddaughter, MJ.

And daughters are different. In weird ways. In wonderful ways. In frustrating ways. In awesome ways. And if my husband doesn’t mess things up 😉 MJ will be raised to take care of herself and not depend on others for everything in life. (We are strong women, us Hansbrough/Jardeleza women.)

With Luna, I think God is teaching me not to take any child for granted. I am always reminded of something my parents told me.

In 1982, my parents just moved to the rural town of Taneytown and bought their own house. They had the perfect family: two girls and two boys. Everything was as it should be. They were feeling like they could be done having children. Until three-month-old Josh died of SIDS. I was born the following year.

My parents had nine kids. And everyone always gives me a face and says something like “That’s a lot!” Yup. It’s a lot. My parents learned to value every tiny life God gave them because they know what it was like to have life taken away.

And that’s about where I am. God gave me Luna just like He gave me Bo and MJ. All three are an important and essential part of the family and God is the one building my family. Not me. So if He decides that Luna doesn’t get to be born, I will accept it like I accepted the fact that Maggie is a girl. Luna is HIS baby before she’s mine.

And for the record, girls are pretty awesome. I am incredibly fond of my nieces Lucy, Grace and Lolo Fe.

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All in the Family

I had a house full of family today. My brother Joe, his wife Erica and their five month old Grace were here. Plus my dad and my brother Rico. Plus my sister Jes, her husband Ian and two month old Lolo. There is nothing that makes me feel happier than my family. Loving on their babies. Watching them love on my babies.

I have eight siblings. Six of whom are still living. And four of those siblings have a significant other who I love like a sibling. And they are all my best friends. I love and support them unconditionally, even if that means that I tell them they are being stupid and/or annoying. They know when I tell them things that they don’t want to hear, I am loving them.

We quote whole scenes from movies as part of everyday conversation and understand every nuance and hidden meaning behind using that particular scene instead of some other movie. We argue over who would beat who in a fight and get more excited about food than most anything else. We sing really (awesomely) bad music super loud and make mocking each other a competition akin to the Olympic Games.

And we were raised by the most incredible parents the world has ever known.

I mean, I know everyone says that about their parents, but I am not lying. Considering the loss that they have experienced, their unwavering faith and trust in the Lord has shaped me more than anything else.

When I was a little girl, I was terrified of the end of the world. This was to the point where I would stand on my parents’ bed with my knees literally knocking and tears running down my face because I thought it might be our last night on Earth. Any storm or loud wind or threat of inclement weather was the onset of the end times and I would flip out. But it was in these moments that my parents taught me the most about trusting God.

It was on one of these nights when my father said, “Katie, you just have to trust God.”
Psh…like that was going to help. “But daddy, God kills people in the Bible all the time!”
And this next phrase changed my life. “God will always give us what we need. We have to trust that whatever He decides is best IS the best and no matter what that means, we will be okay.”

These were the words of a man who had not had an easy life. Without sharing details of a life that is not mine, my dad had a unique childhood. And this was not many years after my parents lost their fourth child to SIDS at three-months. My dad put him down to sleep, let him cry it out for a while and in the morning, he was not breathing anymore. My mom is a labor and delivery nurse and going back to work with all those babies was very difficult for her, especially if the patient lost the baby during delivery.

If my parents could tell me to trust in a God who doesn’t guarantee us an easy life, when they knew exactly how hard life could get, then I would be stupid not to listen.

And my lesson continues to this day. Their faith did not waver when my mom’s dad died. Or when Jake has his first heart attack and open heart surgery in 2001 or when Jen was diagnosed with leukemia later that same year. Or when Jake was in a car accident and was flown to shock trauma. Or when Jes had her fifth miscarriage. Or when my dad’s mom and stepfather died in the same summer. Or when Jake died in 2010. Or every time we thought we were losing Jen because her doctors gave her weeks or months to live. Or when I told them about Luna and her many issues.

My parents trust in an all-powerful, eternal God who is sovereign in all things. How many of us say that God is omnipotent but have no idea what that really means? How many of us say that we trust God but have no idea what kind of faith that requires?

You could say that my faith in God is amazing, but mine pales in comparison to the faith I see demonstrated every day in the people around me. And more than that, my faith is only a fraction of what my God deserves.