6 years after we were done with our family, God blessed us with a beautiful daughter, Abby. God taught me lots about patience as I waited for Abby to arrive. I had to spend many weeks on bedrest, learning to let other people do all the things that were my responsibility. It was a tough blow to my pride, but I learned that allowing other people to give themselves away results in seeing them blessed. I hope to be able to pay forward many of the good deeds that I experienced during that time.
Abby arrived Mother's Day weekend four years ago. After all those months on bedrest and medication to keep my contractions stopped, I ended up having to be induced after all. The induction was no big deal, but for this birth I accepted the offer of an epidural for the first time since I was having a tubal done immediately after the birth. I have mixed feelings on the epidural. It certainly made transitional labor easier, but I would say that pushing was much more challenging without being able to feel the contractions.
Having a baby in my 30's has been a blast. I have enjoyed Abby a lot. I know to appreciate the little moments in life and to mark the milestones. Being older with more life experiences makes me less stressed about many of the little things that I fretted over with the other kids. However, working means that life is much busier now than it was with my other children, and Abby sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.
I think that the neatest thing about our family is seeing how my big kids love their baby sister. Knowing how crazy my life is as a teacher and church planter's wife, they try hard to help take care of her. I rarely do any of the daily maintenance involved like bathing or dressing her. The big sisters do most of those chores for me. I enjoy quietly listening in the hall as the big kids read her a story, sing her a song, or play games with her. One day recently I was washing dishes, and I looked out the window to see my son teaching Abby to ride her bike.
I occasionally have to intervene when the games are less than well planned. Like there was this one day that James had Abby sit on the scooter and he was shoving it downhill toward the street to see how fast she could go. Abby loved it, but I vetoed the toddler shooting off into the street.
Abby does not meet strangers. She loves people and enjoys nothing more than a large gathering. If ignored for long, she will interrupt conversations to draw the attention back to herself. Recently she came into the middle of the room to show everybody that she has long hair. Random. She now even verbalizes her imaginings of how conversations with people are going to play out. I find this very interesting, and amusing at the same time. Today she was planning out exactly what each of her friends would say about her new boots.
It is hard to describe Abby in words. She is funny, intentionally so since an infant. When she was about nine months old she made a hysterical face that we called "The old lady face." One night we were at dinner with friends. Their baby boy did "the hulk" and got more laughs. She immediately combined the two moves to try to win the moment.
Abby means "father's delight." She has certainly fulfilled that to the nth degree. Every time we find ourselves gasping for air from the gut wrenching laughter she induces, I am reminded that God has been very good to our family. We are blessed that he sent us a fourth child. A ray of sunshine for our last child.