My daughter is 7 1/2 years younger than my only son. When he was 2 years old, we decided we wanted another child. Many months went by with no luck, and I found myself one afternoon during his nap time, on the floor praying and crying out to God for another baby. I had always wanted two children and I felt like my life would not be complete unless I had another child. My mother had been an only child, and she recanted for me how lonely she was growing up.
While, I was praying, I distinctly remember feeling the urge to grab my bible. I felt like God was telling me to just open it where it lay and read what He was about to give me. When I did, the page fell open to I Samuel 25:1-44. This is the story of Abigail, wife to King David. In the story, it explains how she was married to another man named Nabal, who wanted to fight against King David. Abigail went out to meet King David and his men, with two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seah’s of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, so as to apease King David and his men. David’s army wanted to destroy the area where Abigail and her husband lived because they did not support him as ruler. This verse describes Abigail as an intelligent and beautiful woman. What a combination! Little did I know God indeed was going to send me a beautiful and intelligent daughter.
To make a long story short, Abigail’s husband Nabal had a heart attack and dies when he hears what she did. In the end King David is so impressed with Abigail she later becomes his wife.
I felt like, after reading this passage God was giving me a message just for me. I firmly believed from that moment on that I would have a daughter, I should name her Abigail and she would be intelligent, beautiful and above all, a peacemaker. The year this took place was 1989. My daughter was not born until April, 1994. I waited 5 longs years with that vision in my heart before my little girl came into being and 7 1/2 years total between the birth of my children.
In those 5 years, I begged, I pleaded, I reminded God over and over again about the seed he had planted in my heart. I even grew angry with God over those years when I continued to be disappointed. I pleaded my case on numerous occassions which seemingly fell on deaf ears. Little did I know God was listening. He had a plan.
When I finally did get pregnant, 5 years later, I was 38 years old. I never in a million years thought I would have been looking at having a 2 year old at the age of 40! How could God give me a baby at my age? Wasn’t I too old to have a baby?
Because I was older, my pregnancy was at high risk for multiple birth defects. One of the tests the doctor recommended I take was Amniocentisis which required inserting a very long needle through my abdomen into the placenta and withdrawing amniotic fluid. Needless to say, this seemed terrifying to me. I cancelled the appointment twice before I actually went through with it. There was also a blood test for spina bifida which I took following the amnicentisis.
I learned when I was being prepped for the amneocintisis the reason I had had such a difficult time getting pregnant was I was born with a bicornial uterus which means my uterus had two chambers and was shaped more like a heart instead of the normal teardrop shape. This made getting pregnant difficult. (On a side note, I started painting a series of abstract hearts in college that has continued to this day, but more about that later in a different blog article.). I later painted a heart with two chambers and Abee’s handprint in the middle. I hope someday this hangs in her house when I am gone and she is reminded how badly she was wanted and how long I prayed and waited for her arrival.
After the amniocentesis, which determined the child I was carrying was indeed a girl, the blood test came back for spina bifida, and it said I was at 72 times greater risk for the disease. I just naturally assumed it had to be a mistake. There was no way in the world I was going to terminate this pregnancy.
However, Abigail was born one month early and she was a healthy 5 lb baby. She was in quite a hurry to get here, but her lungs were developed and she was delivered so quickly I never had time to even call the anesthesiologist!
Abee was quite a little toot growing up. I had never seen a child who had never met a stranger. I remember when she was about 3 or 4 years old, before she started kindergarten, I would take her with me to the hairdresser and we would always tote a backpack full of small toys. She would plop herself down in the middle of the reception area and starting introducing herself to strangers, saying, “Hi, my name is Abee, do you want to play with me?”
When she was in preschool, the teachers would always tell us they loved to get Abee involved in a project at the art table. She could build a shopping mall with a roll of tape. Whenver she made something, all the other kids in the class would want to make the same thing! One year for Christmas, we filled her stocking with wrapping tape and she ran through the house yelling, “tapie, tapie, tapie!”
Abee was very adventurous growing up. She was always inventing “homework” for herself before she even started school. Her older brother always had homework, but she wasn’t in school yet. It was a breeding ground for good study habits that carried throughout her entire life. She wanted to learn, wanted to study. I never once had to remind her to do her homework. This is the child with the color-coded planner. She probably was doing footnotes in kindergarten!
Her best friend, Hannah, was taking ballet classes and of course Abee wanted to do the same. She and Hannah were cast as the baby mice and performed 10 times in the Nutcracker at Bass Hall with the Fort Worth Ballet Company. When the season was over, Abee announed she was done with ballet and was never going to wear tights again in her lifetime. She has kept that promise!
Abee was an avid reader and I remember in grade school she would read 900 page Harry Potter books in a weekend. It was astonishing and would later serve her well in her academic career.
Abee’s favorite sidekick is her dog Abu. Her brother, Dane, found Abu underneath a car in the snow his graduation weekend at Texas Tech in December 2010. He was 9 weeks old, cold, dirty, smelly and whimpering. Dane saved him, bathed him twice and within 48 hours he became Abee’s forever fur baby. We named him Abu because he looked like the monkey from Aladdin, Abee’s favorite Disney movie. In my opinion, he looks more like the alien from Men in Black. Either way, he’s ours forever and boy did he luck out!
When it came time for Abee to choose a college path, her school choices were based solely on scholarship money. She had learned that not only should she take the SAT but that the ACT was a test specifically for academic scholarhips. The first time she took the ACT she got a 29 and that was an automatic $10,000 scholarship. The scond time she took it she got a 32 and that was an $80,000 scholarship. It was a full ride for out of state tuition at the University of Mississippi!
Probably one of the reasons it took Abee so long to be born, is she was waiting for her soulmate in this lifetime. When she was in high school she started dating a boy a year older than her. He was a baseball player and an engineer. Seeing as he was a year older, he started looking at colleges before she did. He had several scholarship opportunities and he took the one that in the end didn’t work out and a year later, he was back in Fort Worth going to the local university and studying engineering. However, by that time, Abee was on her way to the University of Misissippi.
Yes, the above photo is Abee’s Halloween costume one year. She HAD to be a ketchup bottle! The cap to her ketchup bottle is a vintage antique hat we shopped for at the antique mall. I thought it was brilliant, but honestly, who want’s to be a ketchup bottle. The photo still makes me laugh!
Below are two photos taken 20 years apart. The one on the left when Abee was 4 was taken at an outdoor market when we were vacationing in Toronto. She loved cartoon characters at the time, like any 4 year old and she wanted me to buy her this Tigger cowgirl hat. It was pretty expensive, and the exchange rate between the US and Canada was high, so I told her I was not going to buy it, but I would take her picture in the hat so she could always remember it. I later learned she never forgot about that hat and how disappointed she was that I wouldn’t buy it for her.
Well……….as luck would have it, 20 years later on a trip to a resale shop in Los Angeles while we were visiting her brother, we found a Tigger hat! I told her it was a sign and I had to buy if to her. She insisted she didn’t want it, but I made her try it on so we could take a picture. Side by side, 20 years apart. This is the kind of growing up stories life is made of..so
During the summer after her sophmore year at Ole Miss, she and Jamie, who had stayed in touch began dating again. It was quickly apparent they were meant for each other and a year later they were engaged while she was still in college. They both had dreams to attend graduate school, he in engineering and she in biology, so they agreed they wouldn’t get married until both had graduated with the graduate degrees.
They moved to Denver to begin graduate school with a Uhaul full of furniture and two dogs. They found a nice one bedroom apartment and lived there until they both graduated at which time Abee started planning her wedding. When they married they had been together a total of 8 years already.