How can my baby be 18 years old today?
We call her our “ Migraine Baby”. We also call her “Our Angel Sent From God”. We tell her that she was an exceptionally unique soul that God was looking down from the heavens searching for just the right family for whom to gift her. There were many families to choose from, many who would love this precious soul, who would cherish her, give her all the love she deserved, give her every opportunity to use her myriad of gifts, and share her with all the world.
But God also wanted to find the family who needed her. The family who already had already been given an abundance of gifts and were thrilled to have had such good fortune after various difficulties earlier in life. This particular family of four, we were settled in for the long haul after my husband and I married in our early thirties, had minor struggles with conceiving our two amazing children, including two miscarriages, but ultimately having a beautiful baby girl and then two years later, a strapping baby boy. We had full-time careers, a lovely home in the country, and our two darling children, making our lives filled with charm and thankfulness. We had it all and couldn’t imagine how life could be any better.
One day, when our daughter was 4 and our son was was 2, I was stricken with a horrifying headache which evolved into vomiting, dizziness, and severe pain. It would not pass for several hours and I realized I’d suffered from a migraine headache for the first time in my life. I was blindsided by this; I was 37 years old and had never experienced something so painful (barring childbirth) in my life. And with a full and crazy-busy schedule, I certainly didn’t have time for this nonsense. But it happened again, and again, and again, so I finally sought help from my doctor. After several months it became clear that the majority of these migraines were happening during my monthly period and my doctor recommended discontinued use of birth control pills and see if that helped.
WHAT??? I’m not going to be able to take the pill, keep my periods regulated and painless? And what was I supposed to do about……birth-control? Jeez, this was turning into a bit of a hassle that I really didn’t need at this stage in my life. I was now 38 years old and I was totally over all this woman reproductive stuff. Bring on the menopause for heaven’s sake! (A most regrettable wish I now know at age 57. That’s a story for another day). My husband and I were flummoxed by this conundrum. I mean really, what were we going to do now? My husband is a man of very few words, albeit deep thoughts. He said, oh so simply, “Well we could just put it in God’s hands….” And I said, “Oh? Well, I guess we could……OK, that’s what we’ll do then.” Based on previous experience, I didn’t have any thought or expectation that God had a Plan, because I’d had such difficulty getting pregnant before so I was assuming, given my history and my late age, that life would go on as normal, and hopefully migraine free. Pretty much a win-win.
I conceived three days later.
I was two months shy of my 39th birthday when she was born.
And she was perfection. She completed me. I had no idea that I’d been waiting for her my whole life. I had no idea that she would enhance our already perfect family to a place that I didn’t even know existed. Make no mistake, I was madly in love with my first and second children. They were, and remain as great a gift as I could ever have imagined. I play no favorites. I suffered greatly when my oldest child left for college six years ago. I nearly lost my mind when my son followed her two years later. I mourn for them daily, even though they are only an hour, a text, a FaceTime, a phone call, a family holiday get together away. But I still have this amazing third child, this amazing young woman, who turned 18 years old today. She will be going away in 5 months, just like her older brother and sister. I’m officially the mother of three adult children.
But she’s still here, and we are all going to be together tonight to celebrate all the gifts God has given us. And I will cherish these next remaining months of still being a mother with a child living under my roof. She is the very definition of the extraordinary gift that I never knew I wanted or could possibly be worthy of having. She is the final brush stroke of an already beautiful work of art that we had. She made it a masterpiece.
And so what’s next?
Only God knows. And I trust Him. And I thank Him every single day for this embarrassment of riches. A loving husband, three amazing children, an unknown future, but a perfect present.