Unseasonal Gifts

aajasmineWhen I was a little girl I told stories of all the husbands I would one day have.  And how they would ‘die’ one by one because they weren’t looking after all my many, many children well enough to my liking.  I had a touch of the macabre back then…

For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a mommy.

My older sister wanted to be a career woman and nothing would stop her from reaching the absolute heights of her profession, becoming a vet was one of the many options she was looking at, at the ripe age of 10 – I wanted to be a mommy.

I had one close friend who wanted to be a pilot.  She wanted to fly all over the world, carting wealthy and important people across the globe, she was ready and waiting for her first pilot lessons, at the age of 16 – I wanted to be a mommy.

I had nothing against being a vet, a pilot, or any other profession.  I was so excited when my sister would show off her vet skills by administering ‘medicine’ to the menagerie of animals on our property.  And was truly proud of my friend when she flew her first solo flight.  But my heart was set on being a mom.

As with my youngest recollections, the thought of a dad/husband didn’t feature much outside of just being a cog in the whole ‘having babies’ mechanism.  As I got older I realized maybe the dad should be my husband first.  Maybe my desperation to have children was keeping me from being the person who a man would want to marry, because I was looking past ‘him’ and could only see his offspring.  He wasn’t important enough.

The day I let go of that overpowering desire to have children was the hardest thing I thought I would ever have to live through.  But it was the start of a journey that led me to the most infuriating, delightful, awesome man that is now my husband.  And when I looked at him in those early days, even before he noticed me, all I could think of was him.

When I was younger I thought I would be married by the age of 25, at least.  After that you were over the hill, a spinster, in my eyes.  By the time I reached 34 I had given up on the idea of marriage and poured my life into serving in a church.  Making the life of the lead elders easier by babysitting their kids.  Being a PA to the husband and having his wife as my confidant.  I was content.

When I noticed my husband he was oblivious to who I was.  If you ask him now where we met he would tell you it was way later, but when prompted he would remember “Oh she was the girl who brought us coffee.” (Not sure if that is good or bad as he is a coffee connoisseur :-))

Almost 10 months later he asked me out of the blue for a coffee.  Before our date I went for my usual long walk through our neighbourhood and came upon a jasmine bush in unexpected, magnificent bloom.  It was an unseasonal bloom and I felt God say that He was giving me an unseasonal gift.  I held that close and tried not to read into it.

On our second date my man said that he did not want to date just for the sake of dating, but that he wanted to court me with a view of marriage.  I was dumbfounded but SO excited.  Here was my unseasonal gift!  Completely beyond what I ever expected at the age of 34.

We were married six months later.

We decided to wait for a year to connect and really get to know each other as husband and wife before trying for children.  It was an amazing year, full of delightful surprises and learning more about my new husband and myself than I ever thought possible.

Our daughter was born two years later, and she was the absolute best unseasonal gift one could ask far.

Almost a year later we lost our second child to a miscarriage and my heart broke to the extent that I didn’t want to know about promises and gifts (in or out of season) anymore.  I thought our daughter would be our only child.  That my body and heart were so broken that we couldn’t have any more children.

But then our eldest son was born two years after that and I sighed a sigh of relief as I cried joyful tears all over him.

So at the age of 37 and 39 I welcomed two more unseasonal gifts into my life.   At the same time mourning that which would not be, but seeing in that time of grieving and heartbreak the unseasonal gift of compassion that I never had for moms who went through the same thing I just did.

But when all was said and done, I was  a mommy at last!!!!

And then life happened, we got too busy and tried to carve out time to connect.  The wheels fell off due to family illness, overwork and too little sleep.  But there were moments of gold in the mundane.  And my life was full of delight and joy.

When my children turned 6 and 8 my husband and I had a discussion that would usher in our next unseasonal gift.  Before we got married we spoke about the possibility of me not being able to conceive as I was already older.  And we agreed that adoption would always be an option for us.  When my youngest at the time turned 6 we sat down and had to decide whether we would put to bed the adoption option or pursue it while we were still young enough.  We decided to pursue it, and today our youngest son, at 14 months, sleeps in his cot a few feet away from our bed.  And I am awed at how much I love this little man, who wasn’t birthed from my body but child of my heart nonetheless!

My life has been filled with so many unseasonal gifts, given when I least expect it and when I think I am least prepared for it, and I am so thankful for each of them.

I couldn’t plan a better, more perfect life than what I have been given.  Filled with unseasonal gifts that have thrilled, delighted, scared and dazzled me.

And to this day Jasmine is my favorite flower!

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