My Birthday Story

 Today is my birthday. I was born in 1964.  I was the seventh child of my family.  Bud and Vandelyn.  The sixth baby they had was Betty Christine and she was born prematurely, dying after living one day at one pound.  The practice at that time was to not let the mother hold such a fragile newborn and she died and was taken back to be buried without my Mom ever getting to hold her.  That was a pain that my Mom shared with me when I was an adult.  She didn't share verbally or physically much for emotions so it's safe to say, this was a great sorrow.  She died two years ago and about 3 years ago,  I thought to ask her about when I was born.  "Were you afraid to have me after losing Betty?"  She thought for awhile, leaving our conversation for a moment to retrieve a piece of her life,  then said, "Yes, I suppose so.  We didn't go buy anything until after you were born and stopped at the store on the way home from the hospital to buy bottles and diapers."

My folks were able to come and visit Jim and I (and my brother and sister in law living in the same town) regularly at the end of my Dad's life.  From my younger years, I knew from some vague conversation that the last three of us kids weren't "planned".    On one of their visits my Dad said to me, "You may have been a mistake, but I'm sure glad we had you."  Keep in mind that my Dad was a farmer and a bus driver, not a poet.  While not articulate about feelings, in his older years, he could really show you love with his actions and face.  These words were poignant and heartfelt.

Fast forward about 8 years.  Jim is gone and life has been really really hard.  Randy comes into my life and we get married. Along comes Audrey, a "mistake" as my Dad would have not so eloquently put it. I'd prefer to say a surprise gift from God.  Then another surprise Gift and I was pregnant again.  Not yet knowing who the gift was. But God knew who He had given us. It was my birthday.  I was about 4 weeks pregnant and you could say a bit scared and worried.  42 years old with five other kids, one only 7 months old.

So. Thirteen years ago, it's my birthday.  And I'm worried and scared.  My husband greets me with a "Happy Birthday!", wraps his arms around me and says "Thank you God for the day this woman was born." with all the sincerity and love that a person can express.  Because of his words, I remembered my Dad saying, "You may have been a mistake but I'm sure glad we had you." There in that moment, I knew that my baby may have been a surprise, but I was sure glad I was having this baby.  I remember crying and telling my husband after his beautiful words that someday someone could be hugging our child in pure gratitude for the day they were born.

Of course now we know who God was knitting in my womb, our little Nora.  The youngest of six.  Just like me the youngest of my family.

Mom and Dad are both gone.  My oldest brother also deceased.  My next brother just turned 67. 

My oldest child is 29.  then 27. then 24. then 19. then 13. then 12.

My oldest granddaughter is 6. then 3. then 2.

The picture being painted is so much bigger.  So much bigger than the fear allows a person to see.

The reality is...the reality is, that the gift of life is... so stinking much bigger than the fear.

And, I thank God for the day I was born.


  1. You have no idea how I thank God you were born!!

    From Psalm 139: Your eyes saw my unformed body; all my days were written in Your book and ordained for me before one of them came to be.

    Happy, Happy Birthday!!!!!!!

  2. We call Josh our "unexpected blessing". I sure wish I could remember who told me that's what those little mistakes really are. Happy Birthday Jill!

  3. A lovely post. Life is truly a gift. Happy Birthday, Jill!

  4. Thank you for sharing a painful but beautiful story. I also have an unexpected blessing, a son, which I thank God for every day. He knows what we need. I lost my daughter three years ago to cancer and recently my husband. Without God's blessing I would be alone.
    Happy Birthday and many more.


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