Monday, February 13, 2012

Sweet Sixteen...Clark

Parts of it, I remember like it was yesterday. But most of it, thankfully, I can't even recall. I guess that's the beauty of time. And life (And the after-effects of anesthesia...ha!). 

It was a short pregnancy, but a hard one. We'd wanted one more child, and were thrilled when we found out we were expecting. We had even talked about adoption, something I had had on my heart since my early teens, but Jim didn't have a peace about it and said it would be SO EXPENSIVE (Ha. Fast-forward 2 1/2 years and see God's protection and provision for sure, but also His great sense of humor. Our Million Dollar Baby...Clark Joseph Garland).

From the beginning of my pregnancy, it was obvious that it was going to be difficult.  Seems like from the time this child got in...he was trying to get OUT. This little one of ours...not yet born, but planned for, expected, loved. We might lose him before we even got to know him. My heart was about to break into a million pieces.

It was way too early. The doctors said that when it came to preemies, white, male babies did the worst. Preparing me, I guess...but, hellllooooo? Look at Jim and me...pretty sure we were having a white baby, and the sonogram already said he was a boy. Rats, little're already starting out with the statistics against you.`13 1/2 weeks too early.

Things happened quickly, and quietly. I remember the faces of the doctors, so serious and concerned. I remember the friends who wished us well and prayed for us. I heard the whispered conversations in the room...

"what if he doesn't make it?"

I heard it and I couldn't believe it. It made me mad, and then something took over. My MOM instincts, and I pushed my fears down and determined to love my child no matter what. No matter how long we had with him. There were other babies in the NICU that day. In the 7-plus weeks our little guy was in there, we saw many go home with their families. They left with lots of fanfare and pictures, and everyone was so happy. Other times, there would be an empty bed and hushed talking, and eyes that revealed that that child did not survive. Why? They were just as loved, just as wanted. I don't have any answers. I just know that God had a plan for this tiny one to live: "before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you." (Jer 1:5). And HE ALONE has a plan for when his days on Earth will end: "in Your book they were written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them." (Psalm 139:16-17)

There have been times since then, when issues of health have threatened his life. When he was diagnosed with cancer at age 2, I could barely breathe. For MONTHS. I went straight to my knees, and didn't know if I could get up and face what was to come. I didn't want to. 

Again, he was spared. Why?

This boy of mine, he turns 16 today. He is tall and handsome, like his Dad. He is kind, thoughtful and smart. HE.IS.HEALTHY. Like all of us, he is a work in progress and we expect great things from him. His purpose here on Earth has yet to be fulfilled. Or has it?  He completes our family. He brings us much joy--but even on those frustrating days between teenager and parent...we are thankful. We will never forget what God has done for us.

Happy Birthday, Clark!

"The LORD has done great things for us and we are filled with joy." (Ps 126:3)

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