raising a Big Boy
Valor saw me wearing a Planet Fitness tee shirt some time ago, which features a big yellow “thumbs up” sign. He was eager to show us that he, too, could make the thumbs up sign, although his version includes the outstretched forefinger pointed diagonally down which conspicuously resembles some kind of hip-hop (gang?) gesture which might mean something about busting a cap (?) or something. Obviously I know very little about this hand gesture except that it probably won’t be as adorable in fifteen years as it is right now. Especially when he does it with both hands while he’s wearing a hoodie.
Ye-ah, our little guy is growing up. A week before he turned two, we bought him a twin mattress set, which we call his “big boy bed.” As soon as we set it down on the floor, he was eager to stretch out on it and make imitation snoring sounds, expressing lucidly that it was “a place to lie down.” We’ve just started giving him the choice of the bed or the crib and he’s loving the new bed (so far he’s fallen out only once).
Valor read a story about making banana bread in his Highlights magazine, and suddenly the time was right for his first “real” cooking lesson on Mommy’s Blueberry Banana Bread. It was a challenge to keep him from dropping his plastic eggs in the batter, but he did a good job stirring. And licking the leftovers!
In adult news, rewinding back to the beginning of September, we were very privileged to host at the House of Gjertsen our friends Matt & Breanna, and their little daughter Elinor. They are presently waiting on visas to move to one of the places on earth where the people do not have the Bible in their language, and they have the courage, linguistic aptitude, and big God to do something about it. It’s great to have friends like these, to get an front-line of what the mission of the church is. Especially after we’ve moved away from Orlando Grace Church to a place that isn’t quite as global missions-aware.
Anyhow, Matt and Breanna were raising financial support to go on mission, and Abby organized a couple of social opportunities to introduce them to friends in New Bern and Morehead City. In New Bern, we hosted a “Sweeter-than-Honey Dessert Night” based on Psalm 119:103: “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” The spread included little white chocolate bees and sopapilla cheesecake bars that Breanna painstakingly cut into honeycomb hexagons.
Crafty, isn’t she?
Just before they left, Matt & Breanna got word that their monthly support had reached 100%! They’re now waiting on visas and preparing for their new adventure. We look forward to reuniting with them on a furlough in the future.
Valor tears off in second gear (4.6 mph) on “Johnny Tractor” aka “Johnanah” most every day. The weather is excellent; we just need bug spray for the mosquitos.
A week or two ago, Abby’s friend Angie visited from Florida for a few days with her two boys, Arrow (5) and Stone (3). Valor did a terrific job sharing Johnny and the iPad with them. Although they liked to call him “Baby Valor,” her boys gave him a good education on being a Big Boy. I got to cart all three around in the back seat of my car, while Abby got some great quality time with Angie in the other car. She said they had some really great talks. In my car it was mostly Arrow counting to really large numbers. Morehead City has never seemed so long a drive. 🙂 She taught us some new worship songs, and we were able to take the kids off her hands for her to have some “surf therapy,” thanks to some generous church peeps.
On September 28, we had our appointment with a geneticist, who was possibly going to tell us that there was some kind of data on one or both of our genomes that could be linked to two lost pregnancies and possibly even the conditions that James was born with. And maybe it would have seemed like bad news if they did have some results that would discourage us from trying for more biological children. But that’s what we were prepared to hear.
However, like this overdue blog post, the appointment was anticlimactic.
After several months of waiting for the next available appointment, I took a half-day off of work so that we could both drive to Greenville (50 miles), wait for over an hour in a waiting room, and finally hear the geneticist and her assistant tell us that:
- Our own homozygosity was 3% (John) and 3.4% (Abby), but there was no correlation between any of them and the homozygosity observed in Carolina’s genome (also 3%).
- None of our affected areas suggested anything related to James’s diagnoses.
- They were not able to run the test of James’s banked blood sample, but a second attempt was still in process at the NIH.
- They don’t even believe that 3% homozygosity is all that unusual since they started running this test more frequently and see perfectly normal people with up to 11% homozygosity.
So basically, the needle in the haystack was not found. As cool as genetics is, it is not yet mature enough a field of study to provide much useful information. The good part is that it’s not a really terrible diagnosis that will hang over our heads. The bad part is, we’ve been waiting for months for this information and we don’t know anything more than we did the day we lost Carolina.
At that point we just tried to open our hearts to accept whatever God has in mind to grow the House of Gjertsen. Healthy babies, unhealthy babies, babies in heaven, adopted children? We are in His hands, and He knows what is best.