A little over 19 years ago, I was loving being Mom to three active boys. They were my pride and joy. They were all in school at that time, and I began to think about what it might be like to have another child. I talked to Chip about it.
After Chandler was born in 1993, I had given Chip what I thought was a very reasonable choice — celibacy or vasectomy. I will give you one guess.
So his response when I asked years later if we could think about having another child was, “I’m not getting a reversal.”
Lisa: “But can we pray about adopting?”
Chip: “Sure, we can pray about it (wink, wink).”
I did pray about it. One day I wrote in my journal, “God, do you have it in your plan for us to adopt? And even if your plan was for me to be pregnant, it could happen, even though Chip had a vasectomy.” I didn’t actually think of that as a legitimate prayer request, just an acknowledgment that God can do anything.
A few months later while getting ready for a Christmas banquet at church, I couldn’t zip my pants. Any of them! I was lamenting to a friend that I had just eaten too much on our recent vacation to New York City or maybe I was in peri-menopause and was just bloated. She suggested I take a pregnancy test. “Why would I do that?” I asked.
That night, I went to the drugstore and bought a pregnancy test (to appease my friend) AND a box of Pamprin, convinced this was some weird kind of bloating. I’ve never been more shocked than when I saw the plus sign appear on the stick. Shocked and elated. But elated doesn’t really capture the explosion of joy and gratitude in my heart in that moment!
The next morning, I returned to the pharmacy with the unopened Pamprin and said to the clerk, “In a strange turn of events, I’d like to exchange this Pamprin for another pregnancy test.”
Another plus sign on the stick, despite the 99.9% effectiveness rate of vasectomy.
After Chip recovered from the news and asked me to run my prayers by him from now on, we sat the boys down and told them they were going to have a sister or brother. I will never forget the response — “But Dad had that ice pack.” We had explained to Chance and Chandler in simple terms after the birth of their baby brother that Dad had the ice pack so we wouldn’t have any more kids. This news was baffling to them.
I didn’t care if it was a boy or a girl. I was beyond grateful that God had granted us the privilege of having another child. That he had answered a prayer that didn’t even seem like a real prayer at the time.
We went for an ultrasound. They told us we were going to have a baby girl.
God spoke to my heart and said, “Every time you look at her, remember how much I love you.”
Now 18 years later, I am as much in awe of this girl as I was when I saw the plus sign on the stick. She is beyond anything I could have dreamed. She is intelligent, strong, wise beyond her years, articulate, witty, courageous, honest, ambitious, hard-working, inclusive, and compassionate. I just absolutely love hanging out with my daughter. She challenges my thinking. She makes me laugh. We can be quiet together and do our own thing. Or we can dive into one of our missions together — to try all the boba, all the pho, all the sushi….all the good stuff we can find to try. Also, we can thrift shop. We both love a good deal.
Today I took Charli to Nekter for an acai bowl because she wanted something light before tonight’s soccer practice. Chandler worked at Nekter for a while. I remembered seeing him behind the counter. I thought of how Chandler would have texted Charli today to say “Happy Birthday.” He probably would have told her he wanted to take her to lunch, maybe for Thai or Indian food.
I think Charli had a really good birthday today. I know she wishes she could have heard some form of “Happy Birthday” from Chandler. I hope she knows, deeply knows, how proud he was of her and how much he loved her.
Dear God, “thank you” doesn’t begin to express the gratitude in my heart for the privilege of being Charli’s mom. A million “thank yous” to you for placing Charli in our family — against all odds. Amen.