After a long time struggling with fertility issues, we were finally blessed beyond my wildest dreams when Matthew Benjamin Branson was born on March 04, 2004. It was, hands down, one of the best days of my life and I can honestly say that not a day goes by that I don't consciously recognize the gift he was/is in our lives.
Fifteen months after Matthew was born, Geoff and I (with Matthew!) moved here. We did this in large part because we wanted Matthew to be closer to his maternal side of the family (including my sister's daughter, who is just six weeks older than Matthew) and because housing costs were sufficiently less here to enable me to work outside the home only a very little.
I think that when one goes through the struggle and grief process involved with infertility, something happens in your heart when you're finally able to bring a child into your life. I've observed this in many other people - it's an ongoing and deep sense of not taking for granted the gift of a child. I live that every day. As a result of it, I'm not one (I hope) that you'll find complaining a lot about my child - he's the miracle I prayed for, the one I dreamt of for so long. I still can't write that without my emotions coming to the surface.
I believe I'll feel this way about our children yet to come. After almost eight years of struggling to adopt, and encountering (and surmounting) issue after issue after issue, those children are going to be so loved and treasured when they finally come home. Geoff and I can hardly wait...it's time to bring those kids home!!
Geoff and I have experienced many struggles in our relationship over the years and some have been hard to deal with and move on from. But we have - by God's grace I think, as well as with the assistance of timely marriage counselling, and persistent and determined effort on our part. Life can be hard at times. But I'm grateful to have a partner to travel those times with and to share the great moments with as well. I am thankful to be married to someone who loves me, knows me well, forgives me when I hurt him, is kind and generous, is willing to work on our relationship and on himself when circumstances demand it, works hard so that I can mostly be home with Matthew, is glad to see me at the end of the day and, most importantly, wants to be the man that God created him to be. We've come a long way over the years and I love him more (and more knowledgeably) than I did when I committed to him under those twinkling little white lights fifteen years ago.