In an effort to catch up on my list of things I'm thankful for, I'm going to cheat and list my four children. That way, I'll be where I'm supposed to be tomorrow. Is that clear as mud?
I'll start with the youngest of our brood: Lauren. I am thankful we kept her. When I was pregnant with her, we were at a very difficult place financially. We had moved from Tennessee to North Carolina, our house payment was $50 more a month there, and we had bought a van and thus had a car payment. Darrell of course had changed jobs and was making about half what he had been making in Clarksville. We just didn't see how we could support another child. We came ttthhiiss close to asking Darrell's sister and her husband to adopt Lauren. I'm so glad we didn't. Our first three children have always been Darrell's. You know what I mean. Especially Shana. She'd be under the car with him and knew different tools before she was two. From day one, Lauren was mine. If she was hurt, she wanted me. If she was afraid, again me. If she was crying and someone picked her up, she'd cry until I took her. Then she'd just stop. Frustrated Darrell no end, but I loved it! She has become a wonderful friend and I appreciate her immensely.
Clayton is our only boy. He has been blessed/cursed with a mother who wants him to be happy, but doesn't want him hurt. One of my great regrets is not letting him play football. He wound up getting just as hurt wrestling and playing soccer. Clayton inherited my cleanliness habits and actually (sorry, Lauren) is probably my neatest child. He folds his t-shirts according to sleeve length and sport (i.e., long sleeved soccer shirts in one stack, short sleeved in another, etc). He constantly astounds me with his knowledge of scripture and his ability to remember them. You may have read on the sidebar that I don't like to be called Bev. Clayton does not like to be called Clay. I try really hard to honor this wish, because I feel his pain.
Next comes Holly. She's now the oldest of the lot and I often wonder how she feels about that. She followed Shana around so much when they were little and Shana taught her a lot of things. I can remember Shana trying to teach Holly the alphabet. Holly is like me and is very hard on herself. I tell her that she's done too many difficult things--things other people will probably never do--and she needs to give herself a break. One of those hard things is having a baby without an anesthetic (we got to the hospital too late). The other thing is finding Shana. My prayer is that she can find a way to live with that and be at peace.
And of course there's Shana. My first born. I was only 19 when she came along and she used to tell people we grew up together. She probably wasn't far wrong. She wasn't active in church when she died, but I know she loved the Lord and still had a testimony. I've found evidence since she's been gone. She was a great friend to me and often told me I was her best friend. I still feel her with me sometimes, especially when I'm down. I can't wait to see her again.
It's been said children bring us our greatest joy and our greatest heartache. All I can say is Amen. There are some things I would change if I could. But I think I have great kids and I am thankful they are mine.