Look at that face! Can't you see the attitude and joy she has about having her picture taken? That's my sweet Jelly. My youngest child. My baby girl. It's hard to believe that in a couple of weeks, she'll be seven years old. It feels like only yesterday I was carrying her around, and snuggling with the no-haired baby that she was.
I know I've shared this story, before, but I'm going to share it again because it still amazes me...
In January, 2005 I made the decision to start my journey towards becoming a teacher. Up until that point, I had been working at the Walmart Home Office and was content with the thought that I'd spend the rest of my days working there. Yet, I was blessed with a boss that wouldn't allow me to "settle" and urged me to follow my dreams and try my hand at going to college. I was nervous, though. I had been wanting another baby for sometime, and I realized that I would have to make the decision to try and have another baby, or give up on that option to pursue going to school. So, that January I made the decision to enroll in classes, and give up on the fact that I was going to have another child.
Despite starting school in January, I did drag my heels a little bit with having a long conversation with Hubby about taking the necessary precautions to ensure that another child didn't come in to the mix. I vividly remember sitting at Village Inn on a Sunday morning in March, having that very conversation about needing to make an appointment with the doctor to get back on birth control and forever saying goodbye to the thought of having another child. Waiting until I was finished with school wasn't an option. I would need to then focus on finding a teaching job, and I'd be pushing thirty by the time I was secure in a teaching position long enough to think about taking time off to have a baby.
So, that morning, Hubby and I made that decision. No more babies.
Yet, the reason that morning sits so vividly in my mind is the weird feeling that happened after having that conversation. Something just didn't feel right. I mistook the feelings for guilt and sadness. I was upset that I was never going to be pregnant again, have another newborn to hold in my arms, or finally have a child the "right way" in a committed and loving relationship.
As we drove home that morning, the weird feeling started getting stronger, and all of a sudden a jolt hit me. A realization. At that moment, without any sign or symptom, I knew I was already pregnant.
It was the weirdest experience I've ever had in my whole life. I hadn't been feeling any other form of pregnancy symptom up until that point. No morning sickness, no fatigue, not even the realization of a missed period. I just knew. Something inside of me ignited and told me I was going to have another baby.
About a week later, my feeling was confirmed. I was pregnant. And I was already enrolled in college, taking classes, and was just going to have to cope with the fact that I'd be having my cake and eating it too. I was going to be able go to college and STILL have another baby.
Talk about miracles.
I loved being pregnant with Jelly, yet it was tough with going to college full time and working a full time job. And it was August, and me being five months pregnant when I decided I couldn't handle both. So, I quit my job at Walmart and took on a part time job working in the IT department at the college.
My pregnancy aligned perfectly with my school schedule. She was due to be born around December 18th, which was after finals. So, the plan was to be on Christmas break when I had her. Yet Jelly never was the child to do anything as scheduled. I was absolutely HUGE pregnant with her the first week of December, and my doctor just wasn't comfortable letting me go to term. On December 4th, I was admitted in to the hospital to be induced. After 13 hours of labor, I gave birth to a healthy 8lbs 12oz baby girl at 5:30AM on December 5th. My sweet Jelly.
She was such a good baby. She slept a lot, and I loved holding her in my arms and watching her sleep. I would sit and do school work with her bundled up on my lap, soaking in every second I could with her.
She was also a fantastic toddler. She was so independent from such an early age, wanting to feed herself, dress herself, and walk along side me rather than riding in a stroller. She loved music and would dance and sing along to songs. I have the most hilarious videos of her singing along to songs while in the car, and she'd make the most hilarious facial expressions while she was trying to mimic the singers she heard on the radio.
She was the only one of my children that didn't have to go to daycare at a very young age. She was able to stay home with Hubby on the days I worked or went to school, and I was home with her the rest of the time. She was four before she ever had to go to daycare, and that was during my senior year of college when I had to do a full year of student teaching. Hubby and I opted for a home daycare, because Jelly had always been in that type of environment. It was a hard transition for her to start going to a daycare, but she finally did enjoy going and loved who was taking care of her.
It was my first year teaching when Jelly first went to a school-like daycare. I enrolled her in the preschool at the Methodist church in the town where I teach. She transitioned very well, and loved her daycare. She got along well with the other kids, and the small class size made it a good fit for Jelly. She never really was very social, and that has a lot to do with the fact that she'd never really been around many kids.
Her kindergarten year started out very rocky. Going from her little daycare to a giant primary school was downright terrifying for Jelly. The first few weeks of school, she would cry and beg for me not to make her go. It would break my heart, standing with her at the bus stop outside my school, while she cried and held on to me for as long as she could before having to get on the bus. Even though she only had about a mile ride to her school, I'm sure she felt like she was being ripped away from me each and every day. After a couple of weeks of my heart breaking each and every day, my principal finally stepped up and decided enough was enough... for both of us.
One morning, she took Jelly and made me leave her to go and do my morning duty. I could hear Jelly crying as I walked away, and my eyes filled with tears. At first, I was angry with my principal for doing something like that to me. How could she make me leave my baby girl in that state? But, what I quickly realized is she was doing the intervention I had been needing. She stood with Jelly that morning, held her hand, and made Jelly tell her about the stuff she was going to do at school, what she'd done the previous day, and completely distract Jelly from the upset she was feeling. From that moment on, the heartbreaking goodbyes were over. Each and every morning Jelly wanted me to drop her off in my principal's office, and she was excited about the fact that she was going to get to stand with Mrs. B while she waited for the bus.
Now, Jelly is in 1st grade and loves school. She's super smart and her teachers are amazed at how much she can do. She loves to write, and spends most of her time writing about anything she can. She even asked for a journal, this year, so she can write about what's going on in her life. Like Mother, like Daughter, huh?
Jelly is also an avid animal lover. She absolutely LOVES anything with fur and four legs. She is partial to cats, kittens really. And, wants to rescue about every animal she sees walking down the street.
Even though Jelly is quickly growing up, she's still my baby girl. She loves to snuggle with me on the couch every evening. I get to take her to bed, and tuck her in every night. She's never in short supply of telling me how much she loves me.
I love that little girl with all my heart, and I'm so thankful she's my daughter.
I have truly been blessed when it comes to amazing children, that's for sure. A day doesn't go by where I don't thank my lucky stars for getting to be their mother, having that honor and privilege.
I'm so excited to see how each of their lives play out, but I'm not ready to give up on these days. The days where they are home with me, with me taking care of them, under my roof and my supervision.
My sweet, baby girl is growing up so terribly fast, and that makes me sad. Yet, I see the young girl that she is becoming and I feel nothing but pride in my heart. I feel that way about all of my children. I have so much to be thankful for, and I can say that ALL of those things are in someway or some form related to my children.
Man, I love my life!
Have a great Tuesday, everyone!!