Many of you have asked me the story of Hayden and how we came to have such a close relationship with him.
Hayden is our nephew, the son of my only brother, Brandon. Brandon is 10 years younger than me, so growing up, I was basically his 2nd Mother. When Paul and I got married, he practically stayed with us every chance he had.
Brandon and Raschel, the shy, quirky girl he was dating, had an "oops" and she got pregnant. She had basically a non-relationship with her Mother at the time, so I jumped in and offered to help any way I could. I went to her Doctor's visits with her, helped her with insurance, and so forth so on. She was just 18 years old and really had no clue.
I'll never forget seeing him on the ultrasound for the first time. I loved him before I knew him.
November 20, 2005, Hayden Alexander made his grand entrance into the world. Thankfully, I was in the delivery room, at her request. She was so scared and my brother was mostly useless. It was basically 2 kids, having a baby, at least mentally anyway.
Raschel developed postpartum depression after Hayden was born. I learned about it in nursing school and had read about it and but I had never witnessed anyone experience it first hand.
It was awful to watch. She loved Hayden no doubt, she attended to his physical needs meticulously, but the emotion was lacking. Now all of you know how strongly I feel about being a Mother and how serious I take that responsibility, so this was very difficult for me.
She couldn't help it, but I didn't understand it. I saw it was real, I saw it was terrible, and I saw it had devastating effects.
She sought and got treatment, and eventually got better but for the first 4 month's of Hayden's life, he lived with us. We kept him. We bonded with him. He was ours. We became so attached to him.
We did discuss adopting him then and again recently, but that is not going to happen. Oh, how we wish it would.
Once she was better and the time came for him to go home, we had grown so attached to that sweet baby boy.
Now, we get him on Friday afternoons and I take him home on my way to work Monday mornings. So, we basically have weekend custody/visitation. =)
We've had him every Christmas morning, every Mother's Day, every Father's Day, Thanksgiving, and Easter. I'm not complaining. I love him. ALOT. I am very much a traditionalist. She is not. These holidays are very important to me. To her, they are not.
They definitely have different parenting styles than we do and by no means am I saying I am Mother of the Year, but there is NO WAY, let me repeat, NO WAY, my kids would ever go off like that.
If I'm completely honest, I don't want her to be better or different. It would take him away from us and selfishly, I don't want that.
She loves him, again, I don't doubt that. I'm not telling this story to bash my, now, Sister-in-Law's parenting skills. We are different. That is the nicest way I know how to describe it. Different.
In the last few weeks, God has really been dealing with my heart where she is concerned. Have I been praying for her like I should? I admit it, the answer is No, I haven't.
We are living the American dream with our 2.5 kids. We are thankful he is in our lives. He has brought so much joy to us and more smiles than we can count.
Did I tell you our family is in love with this boy? The one who loves playing outside, who loves firetrucks, tractors, and bulldozers? The one who loves riding his Harley? The one who wants a ladder and a garbage truck for his 4th birthday? The one who thinks he is the Incredible Hulk? The one who loves Mickey Mouse? The one that wants to eat salt straight out of the shaker? The one who has beautiful green eyes like his Mother and gorgeous blond curls like his Daddy? The one who won't dare eat the ends of a french fry? The one that says he is going to play football at Auburn? The one who, when startled, will say, "You scared me outta crap"? The one that has everyone at the table hold hands so he can say the blessing? The one who is fascinated with the name Barack Obama? The one who says he and Santa Claus went to the White House and then went to the Circus with Barack Obama? The one who, at age 3, will say, "but we didn't vote for him"? The one who can't wait to go to Sunday School? The one who thought they took Jesus off the cross and put Him in the garage? The one who loved the beach and playing in the sand? The one who is scared of bugs, yet not at all afraid of heights? The one I don't think we'll ever get potty trained? The one, who before I ever knew him, had my heart? Yep, that's him and boy oh boy, we are hopelessly in love with him.