I’ll never forget the day John Henry entered the world. As most new parents are, we were nervous and excited about meeting our newborn son. John Henry’s arrival was anxiously awaited, as our arms had been left empty almost exactly one year prior. August 27, 2009, Fred and I thought we were going to be first-time parents to a healthy baby boy. Unfortunately, life took a different route after a long 39 weeks, and instead of leaving the hospital with a healthy baby, we left to attend our son’s funeral.
Reflecting twelve years later, it is surreal how his birthday unfolded. This tragedy came with no warning signs. What was supposed to be a beautiful moment was replaced with a gut punch and a lifetime of longing. I remember my heart being completely broken, but I also remember trusting that God had a plan. The countless cards and prayers we received during that time still carry us through today. It was a trial in life we were not prepared for, but God’s people were prepared to carry us through it.
Fred and I knew immediately we wanted to try again to have children. Our prayer was answered quickly, and we found out December 31, 2009, we would be parents again. This was a season in life when profound grief surrounding what I no longer had, walked hand in hand with overwhelming joy at what was to come. I know many people must have been covering Fred in some extra-strength prayers because I was an emotional mess every day. Oh, did I mention that John Henry would have the same due date as our first son Trip? It was like I entered Ground Hog Day and was reliving the previous year but praying for a healthy baby to fill our arms and hearts.
In August 2010, less than a year after I experienced the most intense heartache of my life, my arms were filled with a six-pound, six-ounce baby boy we named John Henry. He was our triumph after facing trials we could never have imagined. After ten days in the NICU, we brought home our second-born son to experience life as new parents. Our family will celebrate John Henry turning 11 this month. I always rejoice that I get to look an answered prayer in the face and see the sweetest freckles (angel kisses) and most precious dimples that can light up any room. He is an old soul with a tender heart for people and animals. If you open a window of conversation with him, you better be prepared to have at least ten minutes to talk because, like his momma, talking is his spiritual gift. I do not have adequate words for the gratitude I feel for being able to fulfill the role of mom, and I give God all the glory for blessing me with this title I do not deserve. Today I celebrate God’s faithfulness in life as He so graciously surrounds us with people who carry us from our trials to our triumphs!
At my house, we always celebrate heading back to school. We all seem to thrive within the boundaries of a normal routine. Letting go as a mom can be hard but trusting my boys into the care of the great educators of Texarkana is something I do with ease. We have incredible campuses with well-trained and caring staffs that create opportunities for our kids to pursue the passions of their hearts. So, high fives to the incredible educators of Texarkana who carry our kids through trials and triumphs every single day. We wish you all a blessed 2021-2022 school year.