I've always been quick to remind my sweet Shelby that her birth was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. Long and painful and just plain hard.
True, she was round as a watermelon, so the old saying...
And she was late.
And I was tired before I even got started...
But I think, after all these years, I've finally figured out the real reason it was such an excruciating time for me. I've lingered long and hard over the agony of it all. It wasn't you, Shelby.
It was Roman. And John. And Marlana. And oh, Bo. Wild gorgeous Bo.
Let me try to explain.
Around my fifth month of pregnancy in 1991 I discovered Roman was not really dead but had been held captive on Stephano's island since the tragic day in 1984 that Stephano shot Roman and he fell off the cliff- only to die in his brother Bo's arms, with the ever beautiful Hope weeping in the sand.
And it was in a fit of rage and revenge that Bo ran to kill Stephano, leaving Roman's body to be swept away by the tide. Oh, Bo's guilt over the cruel twist of fate that was the tide!
And the pure devastation of it all as Marlana received the phone call of Roman's death. Life faded to black as she sat on her sofa curled into a ball grieving, phone still in her hand.
It was too much. It was just too much my dear Bluebird.
And then, seven years later and me five months pregnant to discover all this time Roman was alive! Held captive by the diabolical ;) Stephano as the "pawn" John was living Roman's life. John loving Marlana back in Salem while Roman suffered in a cold cell. I think the shock of it all just wouldn't let up. I couldn't move past it. I was so tired and post traumatic stress had set in and by January I was mentally and physically wiped out. I was just a walking shell of a person when I delivered you. And now, 24 years later, Bo's untimely death of a brain tumor brought on by years of his own torture in Stephano's prison forcing him to be apart from his Fancy Face has been an awakening for me. The blinders have fallen off my eyes and I can see clearly!
I apologize, my sweet Bluebird, for all these years believing it was YOU. I shall never tell the horror harrowing experience of your birth and what it did to me ever again to a single soul!
It was ME. It was my inability to cope with the sheer sadness of it all.
Forgive me, bluebird.
I was pregnant with you here. Blissfully ignorantly unaware that my world would soon be shaken so hard! But Delia - look at her face! With the wisdom of a child she must have known!
I love my daddy. He would be eighty years old today.
Daddy had a favorite joke he told us when we were little about an Indian, a doctor, and a tepee. This joke has one not so nice word in it and when I was in the third grade I told it to my teacher and class.
If I try hard I can still hear Daddy's laughter loud and strong when I did that.
Daddy had been sick a couple years before he died and didn't have the energy he did before illness attacked his body. But his spirit was the same for a long time. I remember a day on my front porch when he did that little wave of the hand and roll of the eye and sound from the throat he did when he spoke of someone and how they ain't got no sense.
When I looked at my daddy I didn't always see age. I saw the little boy who was scared of school and beat his mama back home every morning after she dropped him off because he took the shortcut. The man who could never bear to spank us, so he didn't. Ever. I didn't see a man who walked barefoot in the snow to school everyday. Really, Daddy? Here. In Mississippi? Or a man who lived in a house so bad you could see the chickens pecking underneath through the cracks in the floor Maybe? But.... I don't know, Daddy. Trust is a little shaky after the snow story.
Who became caught in the middle of my teenage rebellion with my mama.
And who stayed up all night with me after a hard day of work because my eyes were as big as quarters.
I saw a man who allowed my mama to stay home and raise us. I'm sure sometimes he thought she raised us alone, but the power to keep us in her loving presence came from him.
His words were few. Sentiment crept in as he grew older and he felt the need to love us more. But that wasn't possible, we never felt unloved. Happy Birthday. Sleep well, Daddy, in the pure peace and presence of God. I'll see you soon.
I think, but I'm not certain, the last time he cupped his chubby hand all the way around my neck- all the way till his hand lay flat right at the center of my throat- was on a walk to the mailbox on a hot afternoon. But I'm not certain. Not certain that was the last time.
If I had known it was the last time she would place both hands on my cheeks to tell her story I would have looked closer. I would have gazed into those great big beautiful eyes and memorized every detail. I would have asked questions about that story till she grew weary if I had known it was the last time she'd place her hands on my cheeks to spill words.
I don't remember the last time Mamie or Mommy became Mama. Just like that with no warning or foretelling it just became Mama. I can't tell you the last time I cut up a plate of spaghetti or chicken breast when I'd never be asked again. I didn't know the last time was the last time.
The last time I brushed your hair back into half ponytail and held round brush to your bangs was - I don't know. One day in that eggplant colored bathroom before our world rocked hard.
But I had no idea I'd never do it again.
How many nights did you crawl into bed with me? How many nights did your daddy move to the sofa? Probably way past when most would say it should have been, but not me.
But I didn't know the last time I felt the weight of your body wake me as it lay in the middle it was the last time you'd come.
When he'd never say po-wa-wa again and ask for popsicle next time.
When she'd never turn both feet in as she walked to just one day walk straight.
There's a last time for everything my darlin'.
And it rushes in like an unexpected wind and lifts away childhood one veined heart pounding moment at a time.
Carries it away into a swirling gathering of what Webster calls memories but what your mother calls a slow glorious death.
And only few times will you pause and wonder if it's happening.
Because car seats are heavy and bags are weighted and baths seem unending. Meals come one after the other till you are weary and papers need checking and teeth need cleaning and you dig one after another after another of something from underneath the sofa and why did the dryer have to eat the very last matching sock when you didn't know someone was drinking the last drop of milk and payday is still two days away so there's too much to think about to think about last times?
You will see. So listen closely now and take heed my love.
You didn't leave home the day you moved out. You didn't leave home the day you married that red headed boy of yours. You still came back. You still lay with your head in my lap and cried over problem and I knew you were still my little girl living in a woman's body trying really hard to be a woman. I'm sure you'll probably lie with your head in my lap again and cry - I hope so - but even if you do you'll be just visiting.
Cause now, my darlin' baby girl, you've left home.
And I know exactly when it happened.
Now she swells big tiny inside you and you look beautiful and you really do glow as you sit across the room and rest your hand on that spot that aches and now you've left home. She's the one who has taken you away.
And it is above all my moments of motherhood with you my love the most amazing glorious take my breath away moment of all.
And I know exactly when it happened.
Read the first letter here. When I'm gonna be a grandma.
Hey, it's Shelby again. If you didn’t read
yesterday’s post, I would advise you to before starting today’s!
So…. Where were we?
Oh yes, me becoming an AUNT!
Delia and I are
extremely close, wouldn’t want to do life without her. I love her to death; her
and my younger sister Isabela (can’t forget Maxter too). Delia was the first born;
she always did things before me; she drove first, she got a car first, she bought a house
before me, she got engaged before me, and she got married before me. This is normal
life. She is older than me! It is expected.
There is ONE THING I THOUGHT I WAS GOING
TO DO FIRST THOUGH, and that was
become a mama. See a pattern happening? I love living by my
timeline, and if we learned anything from yesterday, it is that I should leave
these things in God’s hands.
Now my wonderful Big
Sister is becoming a mama and I couldn’t be happier for her!I went to bed on the night of January 16th
thinking that we will be pregnant together. Our babies will grow up just as
close as we are. Because clearly I was going to be pregnant soon and in a month
I could take a test and run to her and tell her. Our littles just a couple
months apart. Perfect timing.
Do you see where this
is going? You guessed it. I wasn’t pregnant a month later or the next month or
the next. 6 months later, I’m still not pregnant. It was not supposed to happen
this way, why is it taking six months?
what’s going on?My mama got pregnant with Delia just a few months
after getting married; now Delia is pregnant just 2 months after stopping birth
control. Both not trying as hard as I am. It’s in our genes, why am I not
So, what makes me a
Did you know you can’t adopt until you have been married for two
years? I am not pregnant, I can’t adopt yet, I am not a Mother. That
is what a woman is, right?I was
created to be a wife and mother. What happens if I can never be a mother, why
do my thoughts always go to the negative and not to God?
Why can’t I just enjoy being young?
Why do I want to rush into the next step?
Why can’t I just TRUST in His perfect timing?
Why am I so impatient?
What if being a mother isn’t in God’s plan?
If you know me, you know I don’t have patience. I want things
to happen right away, when I want it to.
deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but
a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
So, what makes us women?
GOD, God makes us women. Just
because I do not meet the standards I gave myself does not mean that I am less
of a woman.
I do not get a “C” in
this life. I get an “A+” because God is my FATHER,once we accept HIM we become so much more.
His love and grace gives me the
strength to stop my petty and untrue thoughts.
He tells me that I am
cherished and loved, and He reassures me that I don’t know ALL and gently rocks
me back to Him when I go down the road of thinking I am anything less than His.
I am a woman created by the
ALMIGHTY and PERFECT God. He makes no mistakes.
We are not less of a woman if we never marry.
We are not less of a woman if we never have children.
We are not less of a woman if our house is not always clean.
We are not less of a women if ___________?
Come on, we are women; I know something
popped in your head on that last one.
So, we all have a
different idea of what makes us the perfect woman. But you know what? I want to
be a woman who fears the Lord.
I want to be the woman God made me to be. I want to be
remembered by being one of his.
If being one of His
and following His perfect plan means it takes years to have a baby or never be
able to and only adopt then He will carry me every step of the way. I will be honest,
if I was never to become a mama it would be hard and I would be angry but that
is where GRACE comes in.
Instead of being 6 months
pregnant like I thought I would be by now, I am going down a different road.
Well, a different road than I had in mind, this was always God’s plan though.
I am excited about
this new journey. Tomorrow I quit the corporate world and dive into food
full time. Excited to see where God is taking this little business of mine!
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should
go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Will we still be
trying for a baby? Of course. Will I be pregnant next month? Well, I can’t
answer that question, cause God has that in His hands.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the
purpose of the Lord that will stand
Am I trying to live by what
I thought a woman was? Not entirely, I am going to love and support my husband
and do life side by side with him and when I have children I will try and be
the best mama and love them unconditionally. But, I am also going to be a woman
of God. Love
and serve HIM and place my future in HIS hands.
different. You may not be struggling in the same way I am. There may be
something else in your life that is causing you to go on your own road and not
God’s. You may be angry with Him because He hasn’t given you something you
wanted or dreamed of. You may be thinking?
God, what’s going on? Do you not
hear my plea?
I will reassure that
His plan is more perfect than you could ever dream. Just in case you don’t
believe me, Here are some of HIS words.
For everything there is a season, and a
time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a
time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time
to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a
time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away
stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to
refrain from embracing; ...
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-22
Trust in the Lord
with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your
ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3: 5-6
You know, it’s about time I took my own words to heart that
I spoke to Delia when she came in shaking and I prayed with her. He does have
this all under control and this is all a part of His plan.
Now little Meredith
Jane is due in just a short 2 months. I get the pleasure of throwing Delia a
shower and I get the glorious job of being Meredith's aunt BB! So excuse me if that’s all I
talk about, I am just a tad bit excited for this little miracle to arrive. Now
if I could only get Delia to let me touch her belly, everything would be
Don’t let you steal your own joy. This season of your life may not be happening how you expected it too.
But you won’t enjoy it if you are so consumed with the “what if's” and “woe is
This question has an obvious answer. What makes a
woman’s body different from a man’s? We all know the answer to that question.
But when I ask myself, “What makes you a woman, Shelby?” I
am not expecting the obvious answer.All throughout my life, I only wanted two things: a husband and children. Simple as that. I thought that this
was what I was created for. My job in life was simple, become a loving and
supportive wife to my husband, birth as many children as I could, and be a loving and supportive mother.
I still believe this is what I am supposed to
do with my life, but now I am learning that it’s not going to happen when, or
maybe how, I expected it to (the child bearing part that is). I'm accepting that I
was created to accomplish other things in my journey as well. I am learning to
go by God’s agenda and not my own - trying to at least. I am far from perfect,so I falter and fall
into the “woe is me” attitude on occasion.
So, what makes me a woman?
First, I have to tell myself that I am not less of a woman for not having kids,
biological or adoptive. Adopting a child is a perfect picture of
selfless and complete LOVE, and I pray one day I can do it. Isn’t that what
Jesus does? He doesn’t have to love and cherish us, but He chooses too. But
that’s a whole different post.
this one. - If you would have asked me a few weeks ago if I am less of a woman because I'm not a mother yet, I would have said
yes. Isn’t that a horrible attitude to have? I thought I was failing at 50% of
what I was made to do. Guy’s, that’s an F.
I have only gotten one part right, having a husband. And, man oh man, did I
in that department. I need to give myself more credit, okay, I am at whatever
gives me a C. So I am still passing and
not failing at life. I can’t fail with God on my side though, and my husband
does great at reminding me of that.
husband is truly too good to me, as my mama would say my daddy is for her! I don’t deserve the love my
husband gives me, or the patience, he loves me so well. I am so thankful and I
don’t tell him enough!
So many people tell me, you’re still young or it
will happen when it happens, just have patience. Yes, I am young, and yes, it
will happen on God’s time and not my own. But do I listen with an open heart to
all the people who are just trying to make me feel better and are speaking the Truth? Nope! I am
listening with the attitude “you don’t know my life, stop making me try to
feel better, it’s not working”. The loud voice in my head telling me that I amjust a failure is too deafening to hear your
kind words of encouragement, and also God’s.
That’s dangerous people,
drowning out God’s voice.
something (or lack of) in your life that’s making you feel
like a failure?
Let me back up a
little bit. I married a wonderful man by the name of Joseph Hennessy on
December 28, 2013, at the young age of 21. I would have started trying for
babies as soon as possible if I had it my way. But I cherish the past 19 months
I have had him all to myself. I don’t regret waiting.
I had been talking about starting for a family
about 6 months into our marriage but we knew we weren’t ready. Joe had just
graduated college, he was looking for a job, and we were not swimming in money!
On our one year anniversary Joe said he wanted
to start trying. There are not even enough words to express my EXCITEMENT! In
my head I had decided on a timeline. No birth control right that very moment,
which the doctor said only takes about two weeks to get out of my system, and
the first month I would be pregnant. That would put me popping out a baby in
November (just in time for our 6 year dating anniversary). I just
knew that since God put this overwhelming desire to be a mama in my heart that
He would bless us with a child right away! Do you know what happens when you
try to go by your timeline and not leave it up to God?
Disappointment, that’s what?That was my first mistake.
It was January 16th
when my sister texted me. “I’m late…” I texted back that she needed to take a
test. She assured me she would wait another week and then take one. Low and
behold, 45 minutes later around 10 pm I hear a knock on my door. My music is
loud and I am working on a cake, loving husband isn’t home, and its pouring rain
outside. I open my door and there is my sister, cold and wet, shaking with nerves, holding up a positive pregnancy test. You see, Delia and Ruben were kinda
trying since October but very content and positive that it would take a
while (we are the opposite of each other, can you tell?)
I pulled her inside and tried to calm her
nerves. I prayed over her and asked God to bring her peace and assurance that
everything was happening according to His mighty plan,to let Him lead her, and for her to cast her worries upon Him.
stop shaking. I couldn’t stop smiling.
I just cried out
to the Lord to guide her though this and prayed she would lean on HIM.
I had another test so she took it and there was
no mistake that she was pregnant.
She stayed over past midnight and we just
chatted about the baby and the future, my cake sitting unfinished. I didn’t go
to bed till after 2am finishing that rotten thing. Can’t tell you what it even
looked like now, all I remember about that night was that I was going to be an
Guys, this post is going to be really long so let’s wait till tomorrow
for part two, okay?
Maybe I will still have the nerve to pour out my heart!
This was twenty years ago. First tooth was missing and moments after this picture was taken you'd break your arm for the second time.
Five years ago when you turned twenty-one I wrote these words -
Words won't even come that seem powerful enough to express my thoughts at you turning twenty-one years old.
What makes this age so different? You don't look different or act different. The sun is still hot and the planets are still lined up. Everything looks and feels the same.
Everything but me.
It's hard to describe. It's almost a feeling of dread. There is a heaviness in my heart that spreads into my arms when I think of today. I physically feel it.
Am I, for the very first time after twenty-one years of watching four children grow so rapidly before my eyes, just beginning to realize that I will never get any of that time back? I know I've known this, I've even blogged about it - but I think it was only in my brain and tonight my heart is not taking the news so well.
Five years later and my heart's still not taking so well this growing up all of you are doing. So. Fast.
And today you turn twenty-six. And you do look different. You are carrying my first grandchild. A baby girl and I know the moment I lay eyes on her I will be traveling in my mind back to a place and time that was the beginning of you. You, my darlin'. The beautiful baby girl born to your daddy and me.
And these words I wrote are the same -
The first moment you were placed into my arms I felt a strange and powerful kind of loveas I stared at you for the first time. And I remember staring, for a long time - just staring.
You and I began to grow up together. I seemed to know little more than you did. And because of that you suffered many things.
And there's a heaviness in my arms - a longing to just hold you again.
Just another chance to stare.
Just another chance to say, Wow, I love you, baby girl.
I want to raise a boy into a man that sees.
I send him over to ask if it's okay. He runs back all smiles - yeah, Mommy, she says I can.
So he is changing clothes and bug spraying when my phone rings.
Marie, Max just knocked on my door and asked if he can cut my grass.
Yes ma'am, is it okay?
It would be wonderful. Last night before I fell asleep I prayed to God to send someone to knock on my door today to cut my grass.
We both laugh amd chat a minute and then hang up.
His daddy gets him going and then he cuts. He follows the pattern and cuts circle after circle after circle.
And I watch.
And then my phone rings.
Marie, my son says he wants to send Max $30 for cutting the yard.
No, thank you, but please no ma'am. That's not why he's cutting it. I don't want him to think he has to get paid.
And then she begins to cry.
I prayed to God last night before I went to bed that someone would knock on my door today and ask to cut my grass.
Yes ma'am, I know.
And she hangs up crying.
I go to the window and watch. He's cut the same spot so many times there's bald patches appearing. I go outside and guide him to a few missed spots.
Repost from here - We were blessed beyond any form of our worth with three beautiful girls and my years were over forty and much time had passed since we made the unspoken bond of no more children by not speaking of it any longer.
There are some things that are very hard to explain. And the fear is if you try you might sound somewhat extravagant. Or like a dreamer. Or just plain foolish.
But on a night earlier pressed against each other I laughed loud and told him we just made a baby. I knew it. I felt it. I can't explain it. I said it but how does a woman know such a thing at such a time?
But I did.
And I was right.
And weeks passed and he came home as I walked out of the laundry room and right into his arms and cried and there were only three words -
You're pregnant? Yes.
And I said words that were too honest when I wondered aloud why would God give us another child? I didn't want another baby or need another baby and why would I be pregnant unless He was giving us a son? Why would I be pregnant if it were a girl?
Some things will shame till the day we die.
And I didn't realize how badly I wanted a boy until the thought that I might not have one.
But I was afraid to say the words too loudly or too often.
And on a table too short in cold dark room I held the hand of the man I love and watched only him. And there it was. Wand moved and fingers touched keys and I saw it on his face before she spoke the words.
It's a boy.
But I already knew for his smile started slowly and he saw and looked at me in a way he had never looked at me before.
And then my excitement turned to fear as I realized I had no idea how to take care of a boy.
But I could figure the taking care of part out.
But raising a son?. How do you raise a man?
To be honest I had come to believe God didn't think I'd be any good at it. I guess He believed I was the daughter raising type.
But here, now, he was granting us a son. Blessing us with a son.
In this post I continue on to explain a promise I made to God when it appeared later on in the pregnancy that something was very wrong with Max.
I'm still not going to share that promise here in this white space. It's personal. Too personal. And it was a hard promise. One I want to keep but am not so sure I'll ever be able to. I think of it often.
So here we are raising a son.
Girls are natural care givers, mostly kind-hearted and compassionate. Instinct drives much of what they do. A mother's instinct.
But boys like bad guys and heroes and dirt and mess and often get wrapped up in their own little gross worlds, too wrapped up to just notice things around them. They go too fast to just notice.
And boys seem to not have chivalry in this modern age. I don't want the age of harlots and brew and turkey legs devoured around an uncivilized table.
But there has to be an in-between, because boys growing up now are missing the mark. Parents are missing the mark.
I want to raise a son into a man.
A real man. A man like Christ the man. A wise, kind, compassionate, loving man who has the hands of a hard worker. A just man who angers with injustice and a zeal for God's house that will consume him. John 2:17
A man who is not afraid of hard work and sweat. One who is not afraid to be gentle. A man who never tires of loving one woman and telling her so. And I want to raise a son who grows into a man who notices. One who notices things going on around him. A man with a keen sense of what needs to be done and then just does it. One who notices a woman carrying a box while men stand all around her. Notices an elderly neighbor's yard that needs attention. A man who notices the child in the corner without a friend. And then becomes that friend.
It was 2001 and Judy walked up to me on the right hand side by the front doors and said, You should direct Vacation Bible School. God told me so.
It was more of a command than a request.
Now, fourteen years later, I've been to Japan and the United Kingdom and the Amazon and . . .
I guess I've been all over the world.
So many years of prayers. Over a thousand children. Many now grown and gone and I wonder where and question.
And it's scary. Every year I come close to quitting. And if you really get to the heart of it I know I'm just scared.
God will happen in spite of me. Not because of me.
I remind myself.
This year I watched them as I always do from the back. They raise their arms and stomp their feet and sing about taming their tongues and walking with the wise.
Where will they all go? What will they do? Who will they become?
Will they say yes now or later - or never?
They sing and dance and laugh and I begin to beg again, as every year.
I look at the back of their little heads and know all will one day die, some with eternity being separation and fire.
Today I don't even make it through the doors at the beginning of the day before the tears fall and I wonder which ones? Is it the little brown haired boy that sits on the third row? The one with the glasses and cow-licked hair? Or the little curly haired blond girl with blue eyes that light up when she sings?
There's the beautiful little girl who keeps walking right out of her flip flops and the quiet lovely child in the corner soaking in every word and motion. Is it them? The same little ones whose mothers held them close?
I stand in the prayer room before the morning begins and choke out my words so badly I have to ask someone to take over. And they stay with me and cry with me and petition with me.Not for one but for all.
Statistics will tell you mathematically every child here will not accept Christ and spend an eternity in Heaven. Statistics will tell you of one thousand children only one-hundred and seventy will even attend church. And I can't bear that. How do you bear that?
But I do not have to. I can't believe in statistics.
I can only believe in faith.
I believe in my God, your God, the one and only God. Lord, soften their hearts and prepare them and let them hear and see and know and say yes.
Because everyday, somewhere, some child is hearing the name Jesus.