Stalked by the Stork...a diary of raising twelve kids

Having twelve children is an amazing blessing and one heck of a crazy ride. Join us through all the joys, smiles, tribulations and trials as we navigate this fabulous journey!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Today, my oldest, firstborn baby is fifteen years old. I cannot believe that fifteen years ago, in the wee hours of the morning on Thursday, July 27, 1995, I laid eyes on him for the first time. I was such a young mom- just a couple months past my 19th birthday. When the nurse put my brand new son in my arms, I burst into tears. Happy tears. Scared tears. Tears of relief and elation. My family had been with me for twelve hours- my mom was in the doorway of the delivery room. My Dad and two sisters were just down the hallway. I hadn't wanted anyone in the delivery room with me to witness his birth- not out of modesty- but because Albert couldn't be there. He had completed boot camp and was in Marine Corps MCT school. As soon as I was admitted, I'd called the Red Cross to get the message to him that his son was going to be born, but they informed me that they couldn't contact him until the baby was actually delivered. This dashed any hope of him making it back to Knoxville for the birth. And I decided that since Albert couldn't make it, it'd be just me and Drew.

When I held him, I remembered the beginning of my pregnancy, when I had been so afraid and so confused. And Albert had been so afraid and so confused. And my parents and his parents had been so afraid and so confused, and so worried for their own son and daughter. When everyone had an opinion about what we should do. And how the words of Psalm 139:13-16 had firmly replayed themselves in my head. As I looked at Drew, his innocent brown eyes squinting as he struggled to adjust to the new world around him, I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that this was the best decision I'd ever made. Ever.

Later in the morning, I called the Red Cross back to give them the information to pass along to Albert. I didn't realize how long it can take the Red Cross to pass along the message. As it turned out, and quite beautifully, Albert called my house to talk to me, as he did as often as possible from MCT school. My Dad had answered the phone that morning, after he'd come home from the hospital to finally get some sleep. Albert had asked to speak to me and my dad had replied "Albert! Didn't anyone tell you? She's at the hospital. She had the baby!" As you may imagine, Albert was surprised, full of questions and full of his own mixture of emotions...pride, joy, wonder. That phone call was a blessing. The fact that my Dad was the one to deliver the news and to hear Albert's reaction was a beautiful thing. It bonded them a bit, and let my Dad know that Albert was...well...for real. Later that day, the Red Cross did catch up to him. They came to his classroom and asked him to stand up and when he did they said "Congratulations..." and gave him the info. He pretended to be finding out for the first time. Then, he made arrangements to come home to meet his son.

My mother and sisters picked him up at the airport late that night. He arrived at the hospital very late. I was exhausted. So was he. I will never, ever forget the look on his face when he saw Drew. It was literally watching a kid turn into a grown man- into a Dad, in a single instant. He picked our baby up and cradled him in his arms. I saw the love fill up in his heart. And we, two teen aged kids and a baby, were a family. We came home the next day, and there, in my sisters room, as I filled out birth announcements, Albert asked me to marry him. Now. Then. As soon as the court house opened. He didn't want to wait. Neither did I. There was, however, one more thing he had to do. The next morning, I pressed my ear against the door leading out to our garage, straining to hear the conversation between Albert and my Dad. I heard Albert tell my Dad how much he loved me. How much he loved Drew. And how he wanted to marry me and take care of us.

Two or three days after that (sorry, I can't remember exactly) we were married at the Knoxville Town Hall (something like that). When we'd called that morning to see when we could be married, they told us it had to be THAT day and that we had to be there by 11:00 that morning. My Dad had rushed home from work to be there. My sisters had dressed up and helped me get Drew dressed. We filled out our paperwork, showed our I.D. and there in the lobby, Albert, me, my Dad, Mom, Ashley and Katie, who was holding Drew, assembled together as we said our vows. Then, Albert and I went out to Applebees! I'm dead serious. And then the grocery store to buy Pampers!
I couldn't make this up if I tried! But we were soooo happy.

That night was night. Our room was just down the hall from my parents. Albert slept on top of the covers. Fully dressed. In his shoes. He would only give me a peck on the cheek! He said he didn't want to disrespect my Dad's house. As I looked over at the crib on the opposite wall, I resisted the urge to remind him that it was a bit late for that now! Today, we all still laugh about that night.

Now, fifteen years later, Drew is this wonderful, amazing, handsome, compassionate son who makes me so proud. He is the best big brother in the world. I am so thrilled about the young man he is turning into. The MAN that is emerging from this child is incredible. I wish Albert and I could take all the credit, but I think the truth is, he has the most amazing heart, the most amazing sense of loyalty, devotion, and kindness. He's so forgiving, understanding and unassuming.

I've been a bit sad on this birthday. It's occurred to me that I only have so many of these left before he's fully grown and able to fly away. Three more birthdays to be exact. I don't want him to grow anymore. I don't want to let him go. I'm afraid he might not come back. Yet I know the relationship I've cultivated with him over the past fifteen years is strong. It's beyond strong. And it's so precious to me. He tells me that he'll always be around...that he'll never think I'm too "uncool" to hang out with. "Mommy, you're my favorite person," he says. And I wonder for how much longer? I know he has to grow, as do his brothers and (gasp!) his sisters. I know I can't keep them little forever. And I'm trying to deal with that.

Happy Birthday Drew. We love you so much. We are so proud of you. You amaze me every single day. Have fun with Grandad, Aunt Dorothy, Jaylen and Josiah. And call your mom sometimes!


Gill said...

Oh beautifully written. Hope he hasa wonderful birthday. My oldest is 15 in October, i hate to think i only have 3 birthdays till she heads off! I hear ya!


Hi! I just STUMBLED across your blog..not sure how. But i SO enjoyed it. You are a very gifted writer.
My husband I had a super similar sitch with our first born. we were just 19 as well, and got married shortly after his birth. He is almost 13 now!
I really enjoyed reading your post!
Congrats on the new baby!!

16 blessings'mom said...

Angela, don't be so sure he will fly away as soon as he turns 18...I now have 5 "kids" over 18, and they are still around. The two who have moved out only went 5 miles down the road...I also had my first baby at 19....she was a forceps delivery, I was knocked out for the birth, but remember waking up to Paul holding her and crying...he was just so thrilled. Anyway, you should write a book, you are gifted. The way you mentioned your wedding night, oh my goodness, Albert and his kiss on the cheek...that was so funny, but sweet too. Thank you so much for sharing....

Drew said...

MOMMY!!!!!! oh i love you so much. i love the post all about me. i had a great birthday. im so glad you, dad, kambree, mia and me were able to go out to lunch. when i was in dallas i kept thinking of you and what you could have been doing. and it gave me the strenght to keep my cool and find the right plan with two younger children. i love you unbelievebly much and miss you. lov ya!!!
p.s. jaylen said nice blog lol

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