Just like clockwork, the front door to our home opened at six in the evening announcing the love of my life was home. From the moment I met Bob, when I was a mere fourteen years old, I knew he was the person I wanted to grow old with. He was, and remains to this day, the most honest, loving, loyal, decent man I have ever met. I am blessed. When I heard the front door open that night, however, the thought that I may not get the chance to grow old once he saw Ann and her son, flashed through my mind. I should have known better.
Walking into the kitchen, Bob looked from face to face, starting with Ann’s and ending with mine. He was not smiling. I quickly walked over to him and wrapped my arms around him, burying my face in his chest. I heard Ann get up from the table and walk out of the room.
“Marla, we need to talk.”
“I know, I know. Please don’t get mad. I’m sorry. I just don’t know what to do.”
We both walked silently to our bedroom and closed the door behind us.
“She needs to go. I don’t want her here. I have to protect you and the boys regardless of what anyone thinks. She has to go!”
I knew he meant what he said and that he was right about one thing. He was the best protector and provider for the boys and me. I desperately wanted to honor Bob the way he had always honored me, but I also felt helping Ann was the right thing to do. I felt like crying because I had created such a mess of things. I asked Bob if Ann and her baby could stay for dinner since it was ready and maybe we could figure out an alternative plan for them during our meal. He agreed, out of his love for me, not because he thought I was right. I am sure of this.
As we all sat at the dinner table, Bob said grace and we ate, silently at first. Eventually, Bob began to ask Ann questions about her little son’s health and her life in general. By the end of the meal, everyone at the table was laughing and talking at the same time just like our usual mealtimes. As Bob helped me clear the table, he leaned over and whispered, “You win. Where are we going to put them?”
For the next twelve months, Ann and her son lived in our home as a part of our family. Her boy gained weight, played with my boys and slept in his very own bed. Ann also did really well. There were moments she would slip up and make a bad choice but she always came back to center because she had found a safe place to fall. She had found the Lord.
When Ann’s baby was born, I had the great privilege of being her labor and delivery coach. I was the first to hold her newborn son, the first to give him a bath and feed him a bottle and the last to hold him before placing him in the arms of his adoptive parents. Ann had decided adoption was the best option for this little one she loved so much. It was one of the most bittersweet moments of my life. I could only ever imagine what it was like for Ann. I remain in awe of her for that act of love.
A few months after the birth, we found an apartment close by for Ann and her first son. My girlfriends, who had all circled the wagons around Ann during her pregnancy, once again showered her with love and kindness. The day she moved into that little apartment, it was completely furnished and had a stocked pantry not to mention broods of people stopping by with treats and well wishes.
Was this an easy journey for me or my family? Not always. Would I do it again? Today! I would do it again today.
I will be arriving back home in Oklahoma in a few short days. I have my daughter-in-law, Amy with me. You know, the one that is as crazy as her mother-in-law. We are planning to visit the local crisis pregnancy center while she is visiting to see what can be done to complete #2 on The List. Last night, I heard Amy asking her husband, my son, what he would do if she brought home a pregnant girl to live with them. I didn’t hear his response but I saw his face. It was the same face I have seen many times on the man I love, his father.
I couldn’t be prouder!