Being the baby in the family, youngest of three, could have led to me being a little self-centered and honestly, a little lazy. I really wasn’t a great worker and not money driven like my sister, who got a job as soon as possible. I had no future plans beyond eventually marrying Jer. I told him he had to wait until I was twenty because I figured I needed to find out what I should do with my life.
It quickly became clear to me, after starting classes at the local community college, I already knew what I was supposed to do. I felt confident I should marry Jer, have children and stay home with them. It felt very much like a calling. Jer, with my help, rehearsed asking my parents for my hand in marriage. I was only seventeen. In his nervousness, he stumbled, I encouraged him to do it like we practiced and my parents laughed. We set a date for just past my eighteenth birthday. Strangely, once we were engaged, I got baby fever…really bad. What’s so funny is growing up I never like playing with dolls. I didn’t even like babysitting and definitely never dreamed about being a mother. After my mother gave me the whole ‘birds and the bees’ talk as a young girl, I decided I would never marry. Never say never. After our wedding, I persistently tried to persuade Jer to agree to having a baby. He graciously asked for one year. I felt it was a fair request. We didn’t quite make it. He changed his mind soon after that and within a very short period of time I was with child. While pregnant, I was still a poor worker and found every excuse to miss work. Being so young and pregnant, I was regularly asked by concerned adults if this was planned? Everyone assumed it was a teen pregnancy…well it was, but we were married and wanted to have a baby. I worked so hard to look pregnant and felt frustrated when a female co-worker come up to me, distress written on her face and asked if I was pregnant, when I was seven months along! I was more upset she couldn’t see how obviously pregnant I was, then with the judgement behind her question. Jer and I had our first child, Annie, eleven days before our first anniversary. That’s when I learned what it meant to work hard. Can anyone relate? Then the babies just kept coming, with or without birth control. God has a sense of humor, to give someone like me six children (my oldest was still eight when I had my sixth). I loved being a mother but begged Jer to stop telling our whole church we were done…at four…then five…please, not at again at six.