Tuesday, July 28, 2009

For This Child I Have Prayed!!!

Four years ago, my dad got sick.....really sick. It was in June when he was first diagnosed with cancer, and by end of July....I knew he was going to have a hard fight ahead of him. At the beginning of August, he was already in so much pain and was just about to start his second round of treatment and LOSE his hair. Now my dad wasn't concerned about losing his hair at all....in fact when it started to fall out in clumps, he just pulled it out; and had NPayne shave off the rest. But because I knew he was starting to feel really badly and was about to lose his hair, I wanted to take a picture of my parents with my children....4 of them at the time. By the end of the summer, I could see his will to fight was dwindling...he was just so tired and in so much pain. He was becoming more and more disoriented due to the cancer that had spread to his brain, and I think sometimes he didn't even remember what was causing him to be so sick. I didn't know what to do for him....besides pray! One day Addi mentioned how she wished Papa could have another grandbaby, because he was such a good Papa; ANOTHER GRANDBABY??! Besides being the most devoted husband and father, he was the most wonderful grandfather....PAPA is what my kids called him. He loved being their Papa with all of his heart and soul. I agreed with her and prayed right along with her when she prayed for another grandbaby for Papa which meant another sibling for Addi and another baby for The Payne Family. As time went on, I continued to pray with or without Addi for a "miracle" baby....something that my little girl believed would help her Papa get better.....something that I was starting to believe would help give him the will to fight this cancer. It would have to be a miracle blessing, because NPayne and I had decided....much to my chagrin....that we were meant to be parents of only 4 children; so we were preventing any further pregnancies. I was getting older, and my health wasn't the greatest due to rheumatoid arthritis; so we thought it best that we not have anymore children. Nonetheless I prayed for a miracle baby....what I thought would give my dad the will to fight....the will to live! I even mentioned this thought process to NPayne knowing that if he was on board with Addi's idea, having a baby would be much easier....after all he holds a large part in the making of the baby ;)! I was hoping he would be on board and forego the prevention methods....but he wasn't, and he didn't. Eventually my mind was overcrowded with many other things, and I stopped praying for another grandbaby for Papa....but Addi didn't.
By mid October, I knew in my heart my dad wasn't going to make it; and I was NOT pregnant with a miracle baby! By this time, I had become so distracted by my dad's illness and the loss of Chet....my dear friend, Leslie's, baby boy that I had forgotten about praying for a miracle baby. I was praying diligently for peace and comfort for my parents....I wanted my dad to spend his last moments at home and free of pain....and I was consumed with grief over the loss of Chet....I was living in a foglike state.....where you can't remember things from an hour ago much less the day prior....I felt like I was living in a dream....a really bad one. My heart was breaking, and I was trying to prepare myself for the rapid deterioration and eventual death of my sweet father. I had to tell my girls, "Yes, I think he's going to die", when they asked me if Papa was going to die. I had to start planning, in my head, his memorial service; and wondering how my mom was going to survive without him. On November 7, 2005....he left this earth.

In February of 2006, I was experiencing some "female" issues and after dragging my feet...finally went to the doctor. I was given the shocking and completely unexpected news.....You Are Pregnant. I was 12 weeks along when I went to the doctor and figured out what was "wrong" with me.....I never dreamed that I was pregnant, although Addi and I had prayed so diligently for a miracle baby a few short months before. NPayne and I had faithfully been preventing, and I still had my regular cycle....or so I thought....until my cycle never ended. I began to worry that I might have a cyst or something that was causing the constant bleeding, or maybe it was just from the stress of the last several months....but much to my complete SHOCK, SURPRISE....I was pregnant! I did have cyst that was causing the bleeding and made the first 6 months a little more high risk, besides the fact that I was now 39 years old. I could NOT believe it.....after a few hours of absorbing the news, I had to tell NPayne....and I was nervous....he had been adamant that he wanted to be the proud parents of FOUR children! Although it didn't surprise me that he was completely calm and actually quite relieved that I was healthy, and by that evening....although we were both still quite surprised....he was adjusting to the news of the surprise....baby! I remember that previous December, Addi asking me one day...."So when are we going to have another baby?" She was so matter of fact about her question....like she already knew I was pregnant which I cluelessly was. I told her that I didn't think we would probably have another baby unless God had plans that we didn't know about.

When Elliot was born in September of 2006, we were thrilled.....all of us! When she was almost 2 months old, we went to visit Leslie and her family.....I vividly remember Leslie saying...."WOW....She looks just like Russ (my dad)!" I had been thinking that since she had come home from the hospital, and I had been completely absorbed by her; but Leslie was the first to say it. I thought maybe I was just wishing she looked like my dad....and she would be my sweet gentle reminder of him every time I looked at her....the completely unexpected answered prayer. As she grows, I see that she is more and more like Papa....she looks like him, she has a lot of his personality....she IS, in fact, my sweet gentle reminder of my sweet daddy! The fact that she is a complete and total daddy's girl has God's hand all over it. NPayne adores Elliot....there was never a doubt in my mind that he would....even when I first found out I was expecting and was nervous about telling the man who was completely happy with only FOUR children. Not too long ago, as I was watching her with her daddy; I said...."I can't imagine our lives without her! We are so blessed for this answered prayer!" He agreed and admitted, that on several occasions while he rocked her in her room, although she had no idea what he was saying; he apologized to her for one time thinking he only wanted FOUR children. I get teared up when I remember him telling me that and the look on his face....it reminds me of the unconditional love he has for her....for all of our children....and that he had for my father! He is so extremely thankful for her that it goes beyond words....as am I!

When Elliot was about 18 months old, I took her to the cemetery. I don't visit it often, but I went to see the headstone which had finally been placed at my dad's burial site. My mom had asked me to take a picture of the headstone, so she could see it....remember she is disabled and is not able to go to the cemetery much at all! While I was there, I took some pictures of the headstone and some with Elliot. I gave my mom one of these pictures for Mother's Day that year, and she treasures it. I was afraid it might seem a little morbid to some who saw it in her house, but I knew she would love it; and so I decided to do it. The pictures actually turned out beautiful, and I love them as well. Elliot will never meet her Papa on earth....she will never sit in his lap for a picture; but she will meet him someday in Heaven. I know that he already knows her, and I know that he is probably quite happy and amused at how much she is already like him....a gentle soul with a firey red headed personality!

God works on His time....and sometimes he answers prayers YES and sometimes he answers them NO....and sometimes we don't get the answer when we think we should, but He has a plan; and he turns everything into good....if we will allow it! She was part of the plan all along, whether my dad got sick or not, but in my mind....I like to think of it as perfect timing, since she reminds me of my dad every day!

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