We asked Lake for a long time if he wanted a brother or sister and he would reply with "No." One time, he told us, "No, but I do want a kitten." Well cats were out of the question. Then one day, he told me he wanted a baby sister. I think this all started when his cousin, Nora Kate moved home about a year ago. He absolutely loves her. Which for some reason surprised me. I guess since it had always been "just Lake" as the center of attention, only child, only grandchild on both sides of the family, naturally I thought he would be jealous. But he wasn't at all. He wanted to help with her. He even told me one time, "Mommy, I wish I could be Nora's brother." Here is a picture of Nora Kate and Lake. So precious.
Then one fateful night, Charlie and I decided to give this pregnancy thing a try. That night I had a dream I was pregnant. I woke Charlie up to tell him about it, freaking out. He said, "See, if you are going to freak out every time we try, we are not trying again." And we did not try again, per my rules. Two weeks later I was convinced I had swine flu and would surely die. Then, on a Friday morning, my alarm clock went off, and as I reached to turn it off, I had a fleeting thought, "I am pregnant." Panic set in and set in good. I was NOT ready for this. NOT AT ALL. So, I planned to leave for work early and stop by the pharmacy to get a test. That did not happen, as it does every time I attempt to be early, I am late. On the way home from work, I did stop by and grabbed two tests. I raced home to beat Charlie, and took the test. I made sure to get the test that said "Yes / No", so that there was no confusion... "Is that a line or two lines?" ... "Is that a plus sign or minus sign?" After a few minutes, I picked up the test to read my fate.... and what did it say.... "?" It had a question mark. (Insert dirty word here) "You have got to be kidding me?!" The test came with directions. I read them thoroughly. If it showed a question mark, that mean the test errored out. What are the odds!!?? I hear the garage door open and with a quickness I grabbed every bit of evidence and threw it in a drawer. Charlie and I had dinner plans and Lake was out of town with his granny in south LA visiting Pawpaw Cooney. During dinner, it got the best of me and I told Charlie I took a test. He said with the biggest grin on his face "What did it say?!" I told him, "Don't get too excited Mr Happy... it said question mark." We laughed at the odds of that and decided I was not pregnant and couldn't be pregnant after one time of half-trying. On the way home from dinner, we decided to randomly visit friends that weekend in Baton Rouge. We had no plans with Lake being gone and thought, "why not?" So we raced home and starting packing bags. I was standing there asking Charlie, "Are we bringing church clothes for Sunday or driving back on Sunday morning?" when an overwhelming feeling of nausea hit me and I grabbed my mouth. I thought, I am going to puke. Charlie assured me I had been running around packing so fast that I had gotten too hot and my food had not settled. Right?! Then we decided, maybe I should take that other test. So I did. And the result? "Yes". I was pregnant. I was stunned. I could not believe that in 4 years, it only took one time to get pregnant. Like, I was exempt or something.
That Sunday, we came home and so did Lake. We had decided not to tell him until we went to the doctor. I was putting him in bed that night and said, "Ok, let's say your prayers..." and I started to pray, only to be interrupted. "Mommy. You forgot my prayer request." I laughed, "I sure did. What do you want mommy to pray for tonight?" Usually it is something silly about his cars driving up the wall of his room or the fan not hurting his cars. But tonight was different. He asked me, "Mommy, please pray that Jesus puts a baby in your belly and that it's a girl." I said, like any mother would, "Did Granny tell you to say that?" He looked at me and said, honestly, "No. I did." So we prayed a prayer for Jesus to put a baby girl in my belly." I am pretty sure his faith in Jesus is really strong now.
A few months later, and several conversations later, I assured him it was a possibility of a boy. I didn't want him to be upset, you know? But every time we had the conversation, he would say, "No, it's a girl." or "I would like a boy too, but it is a girl." He would not hear of it being a boy. I am not sure if he just didn't want to share his toys or if he genuinely wanted a sister. He would always talk about how he was going to protect her and teach her things. It really was the sweetest thing ever.
When the ultrasound came back and showed it to indeed be a girl, Lake was sure to tell us, "I knew it was a girl. I told you it was a girl." As if we were idiots for not believing him. He carried my ultrasound picture in his wallet, where most men carry their driver's license and was proud to show his baby sister's "picture" to anyone and everyone.
More months later, Lennon graced us with her presence. The joy on Lake's face when he saw his baby sister is priceless. He loves that little girl with all of his heart. When she was diagnosed as Down Syndrome, my immediate fear was for Lake. His sister would be "different" and he would need to protect her more than ever. That alone, brings tears to my eyes. I feared he would look at her and be ashamed. Or ask, "Why is she different?" I know these are normal fears for any mom, and it still brings tears to my eyes. It was very hard for me to talk to God and understand why He would give this girl to Lake. Everything I had pictured for his sister was slowly being wiped away and new images replaced. It hurt, I can't lie. As I am sure we all will agree, God pretty much knows what He is doing, and I am sure He knew this would be the perfect sister for such a loving boy. God is showing me more of that every day through Lake.
Yesterday, I was changing Lennon's diaper and bandages. Lake was there helping me like a big brother should. Then, he asked me, "Can I kiss Lennon's bobo where the Dr. cut her?" I said, "No baby, but only because we cannot get germs on it. Let me put the bandages on and you can kiss that." He didn't want to. I guess he was mad I wouldn't let him. That is when he said, "When I grow up, I want to be a nurse. I want to work on babies." I said, "Wouldn't you rather be the Dr. that works on them?" He politely said, "No. I don't want to cut on them. I just want to work on them." MELT MY HEART!
Almost every time I am feeding her, he wants to hold the bottle. He always points out, "See, she likes it when her big brother feeds her." If she is crying, he tells me, "Is she crying because she missed her big brother today?" I assure him that is exactly what it is. I cannot count the number of kisses he has placed on her head, her feet or her chest over her bandages. I cannot count the prayers he has prayed for her from the time she was in my belly until now. He knows she is his blessing from God, his prayer answered... and he loves this little lady with all his heart.
Through everything our family has been through in the last six weeks.... if there is one thing I know for certain, more now than ever... it is that, God is not sitting up on some big throne, casting wrongs on families. He knows exactly what we need, even when we don't. In that, we can always find hope and faith. Trust Him and allow Him to show you what you need. He might surprise you.
Last night, I was sitting in the chair feeding Lennon. Lake was sitting at the bar eating his dinner and said to me, "Mommy, you have 3 scratches on your head. How did that happen?" I thought to myself, how did that happen?! I told him, "What?! I don't remember doing anything to be scratched." I had both hands full with Lennon and bottle so I couldn't touch my head. Lake said, as he climbed down off the stool and walked toward me, "Right there... One, two, three." He rubbed three spots on my forehead. When I was finished feeding Lennon, I went to the bathroom and all I saw were three wrinkles on my forehead. Note to self: BOTOX.