19 October 2010

The Hinge in the Middle




I was thirty years old and living 
in a hotel in Ohio with my husband 
and three children under the age of ten. 

 It was yet another stage of the journey 
and it was an exciting time. 

All of our belongings were 
in our house in Tennessee. 
We had the essentials with us.....
clothing, school books, 
dolls, cars, building blocks.....
and some diapers and onesies and sleepers......

My parents had the bassinet at their house 
two hours away.
Baby number four would soon be making his appearance and 
we could not find a house to rent.......

Finally, we found a house....
but we could not get it until 
AFTER
 my due date.  
Everyone figured that would be fine 
because I always went
 two weeks past my due date.



In the meantime, 
our eleventh wedding anniversary rolled around and my husband surprised me by arranging for us to renew our vows. 
You need to know that God had moved us 
from Tennessee back to Ohio where we had lived for a couple of years 
and our church family became very dear to us. 

 So, the morning of our anniversary, 
I awoke to realize that I could breathe again
 but could barely walk, 
which is a very good sign for an expectant mama. 

I had visions of renewing our vows and then having a new baby for an anniversary present.

Not God's plan.......
nope.......
an entire month went by........

We moved into an empty rental house and 
I cleaned it. 
Mom and Dad brought over the bassinet. 
Our church family loaned us
 beds, chairs, tables, sofa, lamps....
you name it.....
and then,
 at the two week mark past the due date, 
we went to the hospital.


This little guy had some trouble during labor
 and had to be coaxed here.....
but....
when he was born, 
he was holding on to his umbilical cord. 

We wondered if that was why his heart rate dropped so suddenly and stayed there. 
 Then he ended up in another hospital 
under bili-lights.  
Let's just say that 
his entrance into the world 
was not calm and peaceful.

This child learned to speak 
in complete sentences 
at age one. 

And then, 
when we moved from Ohio 
to the far away state of Louisiana, 
he began making friends.  

Once again, we were living in a hotel.....
with four children and another on the way......

once again, we had left our home and were looking for a new one.

This time, Tommy became the star and 
we all got the very best treatment because of him. 

It is not your average two year old who can hold complete conversations with adults.....
but he could. 

I was always a little leary because I never knew what he would say.  
At the end of our extended three month stay at the hotel, 
the staff gave us a going away party and a gift.



Once, shortly after we moved into our house, 
I was in the check-out line in Walmart. 

I heard his little voice say, 

"Are you a boy or a girl?".  

I heard a man's voice say, 
"Excuse me?"  

And yes, Tommy repeated it....
"Are you a boy or a girl?".

 I turned to see a man with a bandana around his forehead an a very long pony tail.  
He did not seem offended and they struck up a conversation. 
Then I heard my son telling the man that he was having a birthday and this man and his wife should come to the party. 

The man chuckled and said,
"When's your birthday?"  

To which Tommy promptly replied, 

"October 19th.  It never changes."

After the man got control of his laughter, 
he asked Tommy how old he was going to be.  

"I'm two, but I'm fixin' to be five."  

Tommy had already picked up the "fixin' to be" of Louisiana. 
He was, in fact, "fixin' to be" three. 

Tommy kept inviting the man and told him 
at one point that he had,
 "just moved here from Ohio and didn't have our new address memorized yet, but my mom can tell you where we live".  

The man told him that he was a truck driver. 
He didn't think he could make it to the party, 
but he had a gift for him anyway....
and handed Tommy a one-dollar bill.


His verbosity did not always go so well
 with all adults.  

Once, in the same Walmart, 
an employee asked Tommy if he was all ready for Santa Claus to come. 

He looked at her and said,
 "Lady, don't you know Santa Claus isn't real?"  

I got glared at for that one and had to tell him not to tell people that Santa isn't real, 
especially grown-ups because they will get upset.

Being  a smart little kid was not always easy.  Some grown ups did not take him seriously when he asked about scientific things. 

We left one particular hobby shop without a motor he wanted for an airplane he was building. 

All of theirs were too large and
 they just did not understand what he was explaining to them that he wanted to do. 

But he understood they were laughing at him......
he said he would never go there again.  
We went to the local science museum and 
they had just what he was looking for 
and understood 
what he was wanting to build.


Tommy ended up being the
 "hinge
in the middle of seven kids. 
Boys as bookends with two girls in-between.

 With the stretch of years between boys, 
I guess they technically are all "first-born sons" according to the birth order books. 
Uniqueness is definitely a trait of middle kids.


He is not a little kid anymore.....
he is on the edge of adulthood......
the future is full of such bright possibilities. 

God has gifted him with an intellect that is very curious about life. 
He has been gifted musically. 
He has been given favor with man.

As I watch him grow and think and challenge his thinking, 
my prayer is
 that he remain
 grounded in the love of Christ.

 Truly, God has protected him,
 not just in the womb, 
but out of it many times. 

The Lord has an amazing plan for each child 
He creates. 
It is such a privilege to be a witness to a young life unfolding in all of its promise.

                                  
  Happy Birthday, Tommy!

06 October 2010

A Lesson of Grace


On a hot summer night twenty-one years ago, 
God gave me a baby girl 
who was much prayed over. 
She was the third blessing added to our family
 and I was beginning to learn about a very real, very personal God who cares about the 
tiniest details of my life.