I've known Angie for years, though I've never met her. We've talked occasionally, we've written often and we've shared secrets as women often do. It's the love of plants that brought us together; it's similar souls that keep us there.
I'm going to let Angie tell her story. It isn't so much a story of her younger years, it's her life as it is now. Above I mentioned her incredibly huge heart; after you read her story, I think you'll understand.
Shar: Here is my article, which I'm still not satisfied with, but after rewriting several times, it's the best I can do, given my lack of time right now. It doesn't begin to express the extent of my feelings about Alexis, but I'd need a whole book to do that! I feel so woefully inadequate for this responsibility but at the same time, I am blessed beyond expression! How many of us get a chance to correct the mistakes we made with our children?
Like almost everyone else who’s been profiled by Sharon, my initial reaction to her request was, “Who, me? I’m no one special.” And let me say I’m not. My life has been rather humdrum, of interest to no one else. I’ve worked all of my adult life, starting at age 15 while still in high school, held some interesting jobs, not the least of which is my current profession of court reporter in a Superior Court in North Carolina. My first husband and I were divorced and my current husband and I have been married for 33 years. Between us, we have four children, my two daughters and his son and daughter. We have a total of nine grandchildren and 4 ½ great-grandchildren. So far nothing special at all.
What is special about me is the recent change in my life’s circumstance. As of last October my husband and I became parents again of a toddler, my three-year-old great-granddaughter, who came to live with us because of unfortunate circumstances in the lives of her parents, my granddaughter and her husband. I now know how Sarah and Abraham must have felt in their old age when God blessed them with a child: first doubt, then confusion and bewilderment, and finally the acceptance and joy that followed.
We certainly had discussions about taking on such an awesome responsibility at our ages and whether we would live to raise her to adulthood or even get to see her graduate high school. Some of those discussions were quite spirited, even heated, while we contemplated the plans for our senior years and realized how they would change, some plans being put on hold indefinitely and perhaps never realized. A major hurdle we had to deal with is the fact that I am still employed full-time in a demanding profession that sometimes involves producing transcripts overnight while involved in a trial. Not something easily explained to a toddler who wants and deserves my attention once I get home from work.
But the decision was made and Alexis came into our home and our hearts. She is certainly proving to be a blessing to us, but I would not be telling the whole truth without saying that she is also a daily challenge. Forgotten were the temper tantrums and moods of my own children’s young years that now return on a frequent basis, the willfulness and determination to have her way in all matters because, after all, life revolves around Alexis now! I am now remembering with vivid clarity the lack of any time to call my own, the worry when she is sick and running a fever, the dreams and hopes for her when she is grown. Forgotten were those moments of anxiety when she is away from us and in someone else’s care. But also forgotten were the times of utter contentment and happiness when all is peaceful and quiet, she is bathed, fed and abed, sleeping contentedly, the joy of seeing her perform in a choir or day care program, or when she makes statements so profound that no adult could have phrased it better: “Chocolate makes my tummy happy!” Indeed it does, but I would never have phrased it so perfectly! Or when she tells me about school and the misdeeds of one of her friends who, she said, “made a bad choice.” And how difficult it is not to be swayed by those big tears rolling down her cheeks when she’s been reprimanded for something. Oh, how they break my heart!
Not many of us get a second chance to correct the mistakes we made as parents of our children, and I feel as if I have been granted a special favor with Alexis.
Sharon asked me, when writing this article, to think about the person who has had the most influence on my life. That credit would have to be given to a beloved aunt who passed away ten years ago from stomach cancer. She and I were more like sisters than aunt/niece, but her focus was her children and when divorce from a husband she loved dearly was thrust upon her unexpectedly, she made a decision to fill each day with laughter instead of anger, sorrow and resentment. She brought laughter to everyone who knew her and I think of her often and ask myself how she would have handled this situation with Alexis. She celebrated each day of life and that is what I want to do for Alexis: celebrate each day of life with her and for her. There are too many children who are known and loved apparently only by God himself. I intend, with His help, that Alexis grow to be a confident and competent woman of faith, humor and love, a contributing member of society and fulfilling God’s role for her life. She has reopened my eyes to the beauty and simplicity of life, reopened my heart to the possibility of heartbreak beyond utterance, but she has also given me, at age 68, a glimpse into a future for her that holds more possibilities than I could ever have imagined for myself.
Well, of course, I could fill pages relating details of life with Alexis, but while there may have been a time when I viewed this arrangement as being for the benefit of Alexis, I now realize that God, in His infinite wisdom, has brought her to me as much for my benefit as for hers. We now have permanent custody of her and all I can say is life is good!
Your story makes my heart laugh and cry at the same time, Angie. What a beautiful choice you have made for your life and what a wonderful choice you have made for Alexis. Our love and our prayers will be with you and that beautiful little girl.
Tell you what, my friends, when I get tired and upset and ready to give up, I'm coming right back here to read the story of Angie and Alexis again. Thank you, Angie, for sharing sweet Alexis with us.
Don't forget to click on the pictures to enlarge them and if you scroll over them, you'll see their description. This is our 67th Spotlight article, if you think you might have missed one of them, then click on our Pages in the Spotlight Cubit. They're all listed right there.
Thank you for joining us for this week's Spotlight visit with Angie and Alexis. Be sure to check in again next week to see what Nancy brings us.