Len and I arrived at RWJ early in the morning and preparations began. We were fortunate enough to have a friend delivering our baby...Michael Burnhill felt he was too old out of delivery practice...so his friend Bill delivered our son.
As was the case with my first 3 babies...labor and delivery were quick and easy but still labor and delivery! Soon our baby was in our arms and my part of the teenage population was NOT going to risk getting pregnant anytime soon!!! My very own style of teenage birth control!!
Our oldest son, Rob, was the first to hold his newest baby brother...it was obvious love at first site. My mother, who had 3 children of her own and 8 previous grandchildren, had just witnessed her first childbirth! Joey, Deana and all their friends were all in awe....the nursing staff just thought I was crazy!!! There were many firsts that day... for the nurses, my mom, our kids. and their friends..it was a blessing! One of many in our lives before and since. One that no one was going to forget. Family and friends still talk about that day...now that those teenagers are adults! Not many babies are born with siblings 23, 19 & 17!
The day we prepared to come home it was just 3 of us and Deana...it was her bonding time with her new baby brother. She changed his diaper and dressed him for the first time...again it was love!
In the days to come, as we learned how to deal with a new baby and work...our children came together and helped. Rob came in from the city on weekends and held Christian so we could sleep...Joey and Deana would stay with Christian when Len and I ran into work to see patients. Our kids and their friends learned fast what it was like to have a baby around the house!! So did WE!! We were definitely not spring chickens!!
Life changed for all of us that day in February...and things would evolve in ways we never expected.
Len and I soon realized we needed to move our office into the house...if God wanted us to have a baby this late in life...then we needed to be there for him. We began house hunting as our home was not convenient for our now larger family!
With in just a few months of the baby's birth our second son came home and told us he had enlisted in the Marine Corp, Deana was college searching ...making trips with Len and we continued to house hunt! Changes!!
Joey delayed his enlistment until after Christian's first Christmas so we set out to have our FIRST Christmas as a larger family!
We celebrated the holiday and prepared for our second child to leave home. Joey left in January for 13 weeks in boot camp. I wrote him daily and missed my son in a way I could have never imagined! We celebrated Christian's first birthday and many other things during those long 13 weeks and I began to realize why God may have chosen for us to have another baby!
We traveled as a VERY large family (13 people in a van!) to boot camp graduation in Parris Island South Carolina and watched as our son became and amazing man!
We celebrated Easter while Joe was home on leave and baptized our now more then a year old baby!! We waited so that all his siblings could be there to be his God Parents!
Life continued to change rapidly! Joe moved on to training...North Carolina, Pensacola, Cherry Point...and we moved into our new HOME!
We were lucky to find a home with the ability to have an office. Our children were moving on and we couldn't expect them to take care of Christian. Life was CHANGING!!
We moved into our new home at the end of July. As we settled in...knowing Deana was leaving in August...we prepared to have an emptier home. Joe didn't even know where we lived!!
The same week we moved into our new home, my partner, Dr. Michael Burnhill passed away suddenly. Changes! Life was changing way too fast!!
Rob came home and told us he had a job offer in California and Joe chose to be stationed in Japan! Deana chose a college...Western New England in Mass. Everyone was leaving in the same weekend!! CHANGES!!
I realized had we not had our new baby I would soon have known what empty nest was all about! I guess God had other ideas for us!!
Life continued to change for us...business changed...it was just Len and I again...I missed Michael terribly! He was my mentor and my friend!
I missed my children but knew we raised them to be on their own and independent!
Life continues to evolve as it should...our kids have made changes...moves, marriges...babies...college graduations, career changes...Our baby is now on the verge of 14!!
Our lives have changed...we are older, new friendships, business lows and highs, family losses, new business associations...CANCER...but life continues to change. We hope to learn something from each change...never regretting anything...it helps make us who we are...changes!!
So many changes have happened... so many people have passed through our lives...so many experiences help mold us into who we are.
Tomorrow will come and at 6:15 PM we will celebrate the 14th birthday of our youngest child. I will consider myself blessed to be here to share the day with him and what ever family we can bring together...Rob will SKYPE with us from California! But while our family has had it's fair share of losses in the past 14 years....we have also had our growth...Anthony, Madelyn, Cameron, Victoria...the newest babies in our family...my parent's GREAT grandchildren...my late brother's 2 grandchildren and our 2 granddaughters!! Making Christian NO LONG the BABY of the family!! After all he is 14 tomorrow!!!
Changes...experiences...no matter how good or how bad...they help make us who we are...even cancer has to have a positive...or how could you move forward?? You always need to find something in every adversity! In the devastation of cancer and my brother's death I have tried to find gratitude...hard task sometimes for certain...but gratitude just the same...I am grateful for my sister in law and the family she and my brother brought to us as well as my sister in law's family that I feel are like my own! I am grateful for the time and the closeness my brother and I had...in part to cancer... Cancer has brought it's own gratitudes...grateful for the time I have been given with my family...for the realization of HOW quickly it can all be lost...for the closeness of family and friends...and for this foundation and the work I am now doing! With out my battle with cancer I might not have ever found this path...Grateful...hard to see it sometimes....but grateful just the same...
Sorry for the length of this blog...seemed only fitting after the amazing 14 years God has given me with this wonderful blessing we call Christian....I pray everyday to be there for all his milestones...graduations, successes, failures, weddings, babies of his own...to watch him grow into the man he is well on his way to becoming...one who sees the importance of "giving back" and "paying it forward"!
Thank you for taking the time to read this LONG and winding blog....just my way of leaving my mark for my family.
Once again...please keep this foundation in your thoughts and prayers and considering helping us to help other be able to find their "gratitude" in this horrible disease...the only way we can...day by day....!