November 28, 1990
April 15, 1992
December 12, 1994
These dates are just a few of the days that I fell in love in my lifetime, and they are some of the most significant events I have experienced. These days happen to be some of the most sacred days of my life, as well. I remember each day clearly and the exact moment that my heart filled with love that bubbled over and the sense of “I must protect” from this day forward. Although time has passed and I am nearly 30 years older than when I first experienced this wonder, I am excited to report that these three people still make my spirit fill with joy when I am near them.
You may have guessed by now that those dates are the days that my three children—Corey, Joshua, and Lydia—were born. Each day was unique in its own way although there were some similarities such as the anxiousness of the moment and the concern for their well-being. The boys were both born in Neerpelt, Belgium (I was stationed in Belgium as my first assignment in the Air Force) in a very large labor room with just a doctor and a nurse in the room besides Lori, their mother, and me. Their births were both induced and the timing was very similar with very little additional stressors—this statement coming from the man in the room who was not experiencing labor.
Lydia’s birth was a different story. When Lydia was born, we were in a small room at a learning hospital filled with students at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. She was very ill upon entering the chaotic world of the delivery room—so ill, in fact, that the nurse looked at me and asked if I wanted to carry Lydia to the nursery. Not understanding the gravity in the moment, I muttered I don’t have to. The nurse looked at me and said, “I think you should,” and somehow I began to understand that this may be the only time I would hold my little girl. Fortunately, Lydia pulled through those first 24 hours with divine intervention.
Those three days, now decades ago, still seem fresh in my heart; but, I have had the pleasure to thrive in their love anew. Over the last several months, I have been experiencing a huge change in my life. At the onset of the change, I believed that I was somehow letting them down and that they would be disappointed in me. I had spent years trying to shelter them from any hint of discord in my personal life, so I expected them to react in disbelief. Instead, all three of these beautiful sentient beings reached out in support and love.
At a recent family gathering, I stood in the background for a moment and just watched them telling stories and laughing. I heard one son say that if he needed to go “jack someone up” for his dad he was ready to go. I heard another son say that it always bothered him the way I was “talked down to”. And I heard my daughter say that she just wanted to see her dad happy again. It was in those moments that I fell in love again with those three amazing kids!