"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning."
Sally turns seven today.
I was looking through some books from my closet the other day, and I came across the baby name book we used while I was pregnant with Sally. I found our short list of girls' names written on the fly leaf and I was amused to see that her younger sisters' names were there, although in different combinations. Sally's name, however, was the last one written and with no previous permutation above it.
Her name, her real name, means "filled with God's grace." Rob and I like to joke that, if we had known the kind of child she would be, we would have named her "Sunny" or "Joy." But even those wouldn't have been really right.
Because while we think of all of our children as gifts, it's not untrue that, in my own human selfishness, I've occasionally had to vigorously remind myself of that gift during some unexpected and long pregnancies. Of course, that mindset brings its own kind of blessing when you realize that the child you weren't expecting to have is a delightful and beloved child. One that you never knew you desperately needed until they were, literally, dropped into your lap and your selfishness melts away.
But this is Sally's story and Sally's story is that we were given the grace to recognize her immediately as a gift of nothing but Grace.
The year before Sally was born was a long and hard one. Rob was in the Navy reserves and was unexpectedly called up to support Operation Enduring Freedom. The base informed him of his orders on the day before Thanksgiving 2004 and he was gone by December 15th.
We were blessed that he didn't go overseas, but we did end up spending almost a year apart. I stayed at home in Pennsylvania with a small Francie and Fiver, doing the daily grind and keeping the home fires burning. He lived in Florida, filling in for deployed active duty physicians and working long, lonely hours.
Rob's employer held his job but cut off his paycheck, so we lost between 1/3 and 1/2 of our monthly income. And there were a few hairy weeks where we got nothing, thanks to miles of governmental red tape in payroll. We had no money for plane tickets for regular visits. Any plans we had were put on hold indefinitely.
It was a trying time.
Rob came home for good in mid-September, and by late September I was pregnant. In fact, Sally was born nine months and one week after Rob came home from deployment.
Everyone joked and snickered about our "reunion baby," but what they didn't know was that we had wanted another baby long before then. We had been trying to have a baby before Rob left, but it didn't happen.
I know God had a better plan for us, because we got Sally just when we needed her. Rob and I say that she has happiness encoded in her DNA because our family was so happy to be whole again.
When I think about Sally's birth, I think of Psalm 30. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. That deployment was a long night in our family, and there was a lot of weeping. But God gave us joy with the morning.
She was born after 3 pushes at 7:07 in the evening, and joy came rushing back in while Sally was rushing out. It was morning for all of us, and it was a gift.
Happy birthday, Sally-full-of-grace. God keep you always.