by Julie Walker
photo by Shannon Vine Photography
I don’t know how this happened. I feel like yesterday we had small children running around this house and today we have a house full of teenagers. Every single one of our children is a TEENAGER!! What has actually happened! This cannot be God’s plan. All those runny nose, messy eating, midnight wake-ups with sick kids, all those running kids to swimming or soccer, toy-infested-house moments, which I swore I would be thrilled to part with, are now gone! In fact, I can barely remember the exhausting parts of this time in my life. I can only recall the sweetness of the snuggles and the smells of the freshly-bathed babies and the “I love you Mommy” expressions of affection. I think it’s a trick that God plays on parents so that, on some future far distant day, when my kids ask me to babysit their babies I’ll say “of course I will!”
photo by Shannon Vine Photography
The last of our babies turned thirteen last summer.
July 25, 2003 ended with a bang when our third son, brought a friend with him. They surprised us with their speedy arrival almost as much as they surprised us when we found out that there were two of them in the first place. Six months earlier, the routine ultrasound ended up being anything but routine. Let’s just say I’m glad I was lying down. It was at that moment that I realized that: A) God likes surprises, B) He had a lot of work to do on my control issues, and, C) I strongly suspect that He likes spoiling Noel more than me. Noel said when we were pregnant the first time that we should have four kids. He ominously pronounced that if I disagreed then we would just have twins during the last pregnancy. So ya, he’s spoiled.
The boys were born on a lovely summer night following a wonderful meal at the home of a terrific couple from church. I was kinda feeling some mild cramps but, being 37+ weeks pregnant with twins in the middle of the summer, I was not at all alarmed. Given that it takes me (historically) approximately 500 days to actually have my babies, I usually don’t get excited about cramps. Besides, I fully expected to be the only woman in recorded history to actually have to be induced when her twins refused to leave the womb. But God had a different plan.
God had the most perfect birth possible in mind for us. We were under doctors orders to arrive at the hospital with plenty of time to monitor the babies during labour to make sure they were both handling everything okay. I was also going to have an epidural just in case the babies weren’t happy and we had to do something quickly. This was not how I would have liked my delivery to go but, okay. So, the night of July 25th arrived with me wondering if maybe these cramps were actually something to worry about. I called our midwife and she informed us that the hospital we were going to deliver at was closed (no empty beds) and I would have to go to another area hospital. We made the decision to head to our local hospital where I worked as an obstetrical nurse to at least be assessed. I was still thinking that this whole thing was probably nothing and we would be sent home. By the time we got there I was pretty sure it was the real thing and indeed it was. Liam arrived within thirty minutes and Daniel just eight minutes after that. No hours of monitoring, no epidural and not even a lengthy labour and I ended up delivering surrounded by friends and colleagues.
photo by Shannon Vine Photography
As I think about how the boys came into the world, they demonstrated their own unique personalities right from the beginning. Liam arrived screaming and active right from the beginning. I think he was just as shocked to be born as we were to see him. He was crying so much that he flipped himself over right in front of the nurses who were trying to assess him. Daniel made his appearance in a more relaxed manner. He cried at birth but was quickly settled and didn’t seem to think this new environment required much more from him despite the fact that everyone else in the room wanted a little more of a response.
During this whole surprisingly short ordeal Noel had a look on his face that I have never seen before or since. He said he was just praying the whole time. Scared to death and also extremely excited. We were both glad when it was over. After a couple of days in the hospital being spoiled by my nurse friends, we went home to begin the adventure of Liam and Daniel.
They were loved immediately by their big brothers and were constantly being snuggled and petted. All our children have been snugly babies and Liam and Daniel just soaked it up. They loved to be together right from the beginning and spent hours and hours entertaining each other. They still are each other’s best friend. I hope they always remain this close.
I tend to always think of them together, almost as a unit which is not something I’m proud of. They are very different but they are also very similar and I have difficulty thinking of one without the other. Liam is emotional, sensitive, a deep thinker and a little bit of a worrier. Daniel is relaxed, a go-with-the-flow kinda guy, and a calmer of worries. Both boys are affectionate, kind, tenderhearted, hard-working and thoughtful. They love Jesus, their family, babies, and anything with fur. They have dealt with struggles at school with their usual good humour and have met every challenge with a good attitude.
This past year we made the decision to change schools to provide the boys with an environment which would better meet their needs. This was a huge change for kids in grade eight but they both agreed that they thought it would be good for them and they wanted to give it a shot. I was so proud of their maturity in choosing their learning over their friends. It’s been a difficult transition at times but they both agree that it was a good decision and they’ve already made up a lot of ground in their schooling. I’m so proud. We’ve always heard from their teachers that the boys work so hard and now all their effort is paying off.
Last March, the boys made a very important decision. They wanted to be baptized and make a life- long commitment to have Jesus as their saviour. Liam had been asking to be baptized for quite awhile and we weren’t sure if he really understood but every time we would discuss it he would have these very reflective, deep answers to any questions we would ask him. We finally asked ourselves why we would be holding him back and we couldn’t come up with a good answer. Often during our conversations Daniel wouldn’t say much but agree with Liam wholeheartedly. I said to him once that if he wasn’t ready than he could wait. Just because Liam wanted to be baptized didn’t mean that he had to as well. He looked at me like I had three heads and said he thought the same things Liam thinks it’s just that Liam always speaks first. Well, alright then. The two of them both could not imagine taking this step without the other. In fact they wanted to be baptized at the same time. So that’s what we did. I’m so grateful that despite our flaws and mistakes, all our boys have seen the love of Jesus and want to live a life committed to him. Sometimes I think we’re doing something right with this whole parenting thing.
These two turkeys have surprised me from the beginning. In some ways I want to keep them little and snugly and always with me but I also want to see who they become. I’m so proud of the way they meet life’s challenges, how they pray and trust God, and how they care for the less fortunate. They have been a true gift from God. What a blessing it is to be their mom. I have the same prayer for Liam and Daniel as I do for Devin and Jacob; that they will always find their worth in who they belong to and that they will become mighty men of God. Serving Him with their lives. All four make me proud, even as teenagers.