Hard at work as a youth minister for over a year, I picked up a second job in the summer of 2008. I started teaching at a local preschool in Danville, Virginia. Dean was almost 2. Sierra was almost 4. And Tyler was 10. Our family had moved from one side of Danville to the other and were living in a tiny 1000 square foot double wide trailer in the middle of nowhere.
Our life was "perfect" by our standards.Michael had a new job with Sears as an auto center manager. We were busy but we were settled. And then one day while on a lunch break trip to Target, I decided it was possibly time to pick up a pregnancy test (for all obvious reasons why one might suspect a pregnancy test is needed).
I must break for a second. For some people, buying a pregnancy test is a moment of awe and anxiety. I did it often. We have never been prone to "preventing" pregnancy. I bought tests often and usually did so without hesitation or anxiety.
This day, however, as I purchased the test, I became instantly nervous. When the test came back as a positive, I began to cry. I am not sure why. I shouldn't have been surprised. Maybe it was just the hormones, or feeling overwhelmed with having just started a new job. Or maybe I just wasn't sure I wanted to grow our family from 5 to 6. Either way, I made an instant call to my Pastor's wife at the time and cried on the phone with her. She smiled through the phone and reminded me of the blessing of new life. By the time I made it to her house that afternoon I was feeling those tinges of excitement.
I was going to be a new mom. Again.
As with our pregnancies with Sierra and Dean, we chose not to find out the sex. But I think I knew all along that it was another boy. In that 9 months of pregnancy, I continued my job as a youth minister (quit the 2nd job), and suffered through the trials and tribulations of any pregnant mother who also had two babies at home, plus a kiddo in elementary school. We had stomach bugs, the flu, and the stress of normal life. And when the day finally came to be induced (yes, none of my children like to come naturally or on time), I remember feeling completely in shock at the realization that I would soon be mommy to four.
On May 1st, 2009, Christopher Warren Gaffner entered the world around 6:45pm. He came quickly and without pain for his mommy. He was heavy and long and healthy. His brother Dean was amazed at the discovery of a new boy in the house and quickly asked for evidence that he was in fact a male. The girls happily jumped into their role as big sisters once again. We celebrated with many wonderful visitors both in the hospital and at home. And we were in love.
Christopher was his own man right from the start. He ate on his schedule, and he ate a lot. Sometimes he would breastfeed for 30 minutes and still want more. He never slept in the same bed with us. He demanded his bassinet or pack and play. By seven weeks old, he slept through the night. He was content to sit in his bouncy seat for hours and watch his siblings. And once he was mobile, you could find him playing independently most anytime of the day. He has always been an observer, a serious thinker, and a sweet talker.
When I watched him over this weekend and today, realizing that he would be 3 years old as of tomorrow; May 1, 2012... I just had to shake my head in wonder.
How was this little man, this little man full of character and personality... ever a part of me?
When I see him smile or hear his unusually deep voice for a toddler, my heart smiles. As it does with all my kids really. And I stand in constant amazement as what an incredible gift I have been given to be a mother.
I know that I will and do make mistakes.
I know that my kids will not always do everything right.
I know that our imperfections will get the better of all of us from time to time.
But at the bare bones of this life with these kids, I realize how deeply blessed I am to be their mother. To have carried them inside of me, nurtured them, kissed their boo boos, rocked them to sleep, corrected their misbehavior, taught them to give, taught them to hug, encouraged them to dream, enjoyed the sound of their voice.... to be their mother. It is an honor.
Three years of Christopher's life have come and gone so quickly. And I pray that there are 90 more to come. It is my desire that Christopher would grow in the joy of the Lord, knowing God, serving God, and being a light to others. It is my prayer that his siblings will be a source of support for him all the days of his life and that he will succeed in every facet of his life. It is my hope that with each passing year, that he grows more and more into the man that God has designed him to be and that I would have the privilege of watching and being a part of those moments.
Now in 2012, as a family seven (we of course added one more baby in 2011)... each member of our family is vital to all that is the "chaos". We would not be who we are without each individual personality. And Christopher is no exception.
Happy Birthday Christopher Warren Gaffner
|Christopher at 2 weeks old.|
|First Birthday Party|
|2 Year Old big boy|
|One month before turning 3|