Showers of blue and sprinkles of pink. Little did we know when we embarked on our parenting adventure 20 years ago that the family forecast would read like this.
Because Mr. Schrock and I are both the oldest in our respective families, we’ve had the privilege of experiencing some of the big family firsts – the first to get married, for instance, and the first to have a baby.
We may have been the first, but we certainly weren’t the last. Now, almost 23 years later, all 6 of our siblings are married, and there is a combined total of 26 grandchildren, 10 on the Yoder side and 16 for the Schrocks.
It gives me great joy to write that number, 16. That’s because only days ago, the Schrock count stood at 15.
It was on Sunday, May 2, while we were in church that we received a text from Grant’s brother, Joel, who lives in the sunny South. “9:08 a.m.,” it read. “Tessa Elizabeth. Thank you, Lord, for a safe delivery and a healthy girl!”
The news of Baby Tessa’s arrival got me to thinking about the nieces and nephews our families have been blessed with and my role as an aunt. It made me pause a bit and consider my hopes and dreams for not only our sons, but for the sons and daughters of those we love.
As I write, I see their faces. I see Judson, the oldest son of Grant’s brother, Quinn. Jud, as he is affectionately known, has been the recipient of much unsolicited advice from the family’s self-proclaimed Love Doctors, his Aunt Crysta and I. As an 18-year-old senior, he stands poised on the cusp of manhood.
His brother, Micah, is 13. This winter, he had the thrill of shooting his first deer. Much to his mother’s dismay, he and his 10-year-old brother, Tyler, have been doing some creative trampolining this spring. These are the two, by the way, who set records for the fastest showers known to mankind even as our boys were systematically emptying the hot water heater.
Their little sister, Audrey, is 7. Her goal in life is to get married and be a mama, a thought that causes her father to shake his head and turn pale.
I see Daunte, 5, and Caden, 2, who belong to Grant’s sister, Crysta, and her husband. After waiting nearly eight long years, they are delighted with their brown-eyed blessings. Daunte loves his cat, Max, and brings his mother special surprises (dead frogs) with the warmest of intentions. Caden, a ray of sunshine, is the smiliest (and biggest) toddler I’ve ever seen.
Next, I see Baby Tessa’s siblings. Kaleigh, almost nine, is a precocious, natural-born leader. Her hilarious insights are a never-ending source of entertainment. Evan, 6, is an outgoing boy who loves trains. Kyle, nearly 2, has a darling smile and a sweet disposition that has captured hearts across the South.
I see Emily and Kyrah, the daughters of Grant’s youngest sister, Larisa, and her husband. Emily, nine, is a long-legged, pigtailed third-grader. She is a voracious reader (a girl after my own heart) with a ready grin.
Kyrah, six, is a fascinating blend of pink and girly with cowgirl boots. In the snapshot on my fridge, Emily looks out with a placid gaze while Kyrah’s eyes hold a definite spark.
On my side, I see Kristyn, my sister Brenda’s daughter. She is 16 and licensed to drive. Kris (Krisko to me) is a girly girl whose lovely smile is now metal free. Her sister Brittany, 13, eschews all things pink and ruffly, preferring purple and horses instead. Britt has ornery eyes and a contagious giggle.
Their brother, Patric, 11, loves the outdoors. He especially likes riding his bike and going on campouts with Grandpa. Taylor, seven, is a first grader with great one-liners. (Yes, Taylor, I do like your “muskles.”) He enjoys playing games.
Lastly, I see the faces of Ashlyn and Brady, those gifts of grace by adoption who belong to my brother, Terry, and his wife. Ashlyn spreads sunshine by singing her favorite song, “’Winkle, ‘Winkle, Little Star.” She loves swings and Grandma’s play house. Brady, that miracle in Pampers, is growing and thriving.
I cannot think of these 26 precious ones without remembering the 4 that await us in Heaven. A niece, Kelsie, died at the age of one while waiting for a liver transplant that never came. She was joined by two siblings, one by miscarriage and one by stillbirth (a brother, Derrick). Last summer, they welcomed a tiny cousin whose face we will not kiss until eternity.
So what is my prayer for my nieces and nephews? It’s the same one that I pray for my own sons – that they would grow to be strong and healthy in every way. That they will be men and women of God, people of influence in their circles. That they will rise to lead a new generation in ways of righteousness. That the hand of God would be upon them always and forever. Amen and amen.
It is with great excitement that we await the arrival of yet another precious soul. Terry and Natalie, whose adoption journey you have read, are expecting their miracle this summer. Sometimes, God says ‘yes.’