Keeping it real and Keeping it positive.

A son is BORN!!! 35 and counting!

When our daughter, and first born, was 10 months old we decided she should have a sibling. I had had a ‘text book’ pregnancy and delivery with Rachael and she was a very easy baby. She slept for long periods during her early months and she was happy and content. I wondered why my peers with babies seemed so tired and stressed. This was EASY. Let’s DO IT AGAIN!

The ‘magic’ worked and I was pregnant again for #2! Even in my early months of pregnancy I was being ‘humbled’. This baby was NOT like the first. I didn’t feel fabulous every day, and I was getting ENORMOUS!! We moved during my first trimester with Rachael from NC to NY….no bid deal! Now I’m 6 months pregnant with #2…looking like I can deliver any day now..and we move to GA..this time in a small station wagon with a 18 month old, two cats, my teenage brother and a very GRUMPY ME!

Baby #2 was due around the 6th of July, but by late June I was ready to deliver this baby myself. The doctor said the inside of my ribcage was no doubt bruised from the kicking and moving about. We didn’t know the gender of the baby, even with an ultrasound, but given the difference in pregnancies I was sure this was a BOY!! We knew I wasn’t having twins, but we also knew this was going to be a BIG baby! Rachael was born on Veteran’s Day, so on July 4th I decided we were going to HAVE THIS BABY. The fact I wasn’t in labor was not relevant! I made Barry take me to the hospital at Fort Benning and I told them that I wanted a 4th of July baby!!! ( yes, pregnancy CAN impact your sound mind!) After convincing me I was NOT in labor and that I really should go home….I did.

July 8th became the BIG DAY! Our doctor was a personal friend, a bachelor, in our home Bible Study group and his name was BUTCH!!! That alone should have made me nervous! I won’t dwell on the details of my labor and delivery, but just let’s say I didn’t win ‘ Most Congeniality’ that day. Butch and Barry tolerated me and after what seemed like YEARS..out HE came. My bouncing baby boy! All 9pounds 15.5 ounces…so with a margin of error we just say 10 pounds! Up to that moment,I can honestly tell you, given my pregnancy, I wasn’t sure we would be friends…that baby and I..but the minute I laid eyes on him I was a smitten for life!

Jonathan David Willey won our hearts immediately. We could tell early on that he was going to be more challenging to raise than his sister, but we also knew that no two kids are alike and for that we have always been grateful. They BOTH are pure joy in our lives.

Rachael couldn’t say his name at her young age, so she had heard ‘brother’ so much ¬†she began to call him BOBO…a 2 year old version of brother. It stuck…and BOBO he was! It suited him fine as he was our family clown. A blog post doesn’t allow for enough space to tell all of the stories, and many of you reading this have heard them WAY TOO MANY times, but just know he made us laugh out loud with his sharp wit and sense of humor. That is a gift for sure!

We moved when he was just turning five months old. We were in transition ( Army speak for Barry was in a school and we were not with him) for a few more months and then in March of 1978 we moved our little family to Panama. For Jonathan’s first three years he never wore a coat, knew what a mango and a iguana were, but had no idea about North American animals. He understood both English and Spanish and he and his sister, both blue eyes blondes were always being touched and stared at in a culture where this was not often seen. To say he wasn’t a ‘challenging’ toddler would just be a LIE. We had a family expression that say…If he sees his third birthday he’ll grow up to be a FINE adult…and that is exactly what happened!

We noticed very early in Jonathan’s life that we would have to keep him challenged and offer lots of opportunities for him to ‘create’. As he grew into elementary school age he started, what we call, his PHASES. He had his baseball phase, his bowling phase, his tennis phase and on and on. With each phase he had to have ALL the STUFF that went along with it…the right equipment, the right clothes, the right lessons….he knew what he wanted and yes, he usually got it!

I don’t exactly remember the age when we started to see his artistic giftedness, but it was obvious to all. He could put pen to paper and draw anything he saw. I know he was VERY good at this by the time he was ten years old. During Desert Storm we were linked with a photojournalist who was covering our family at Fort Stewart during the deployment. Jonathan was in 8th grade and he talked her into teaching him how to use her camera and he actually shot some of the pictures that were published in Newsweek.

Like his sister he was in ten different schools before graduating High School and off he went to college. During his college years he met the love of his life and we could not have been happier with is choice for a life partner. We dearly love our Jamie!

Jumping to the present, today he turns 35..as his wife put on her Facebook..he’s half way to 70! Good point! I want to share some thing that I have learned from my son. Yes, parents teach their children, for sure, but we also learn so much FROM them and this is true with both of our kids, but today we focus on the Birthday Boy!

1. I’ve learned to grab all that life has to offer and do it with passion and excitement.

2. I’ve learned to keep learning new things.

3. I’ve learned to see the humor in life’s situations.

4. I’ve learned to teach yourself if no one else wants to.

5. I’ve learned to always look for Plan B…there may very well be a better way to do something!

6. I’ve learned to go after your dreams, even if you have setbacks, don’t give up.

Jonathan is now a husband and father. He loves the Lord and his family with the same kind of passion that he has always done life. Through the magic of technology I get to watch him ‘do life’. I get to see him interact with his family and that brings me a special kind of JOY and PRIDE. I love that he’s a pretty balanced version of each of his parents,and at the same time his own person. He has my energy level and extroverted side. He has his father’s patience and fathering skills. It’s so fun to watch all of that come together to create this wonderful man that is my son!

So today, Son, as you turn 35, remember that you are loved JUST AS MUCH as you were when you came bouncing in to this world, and I am so very, very proud to be your mom! May God grant us ALL many, many more years of JONATHAN!!!!


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