My Generation

Thanks and Giving: New Babies

Day 15 of giving thanks…for a life that's changed by a child.

Eight years ago, this child came into our lives. We named her Jenna Louise Spangler, and she was our perfect little peanut. She's the only of my three children who, when the doctor handed her to me, looked wide eyed at me and directly into my eyes. It's the way she tackles life; full-bore, head on, eyes wide open, ready to go. Let's get this party started. She's intense, but I love that about her.

It's difficult to understand how profoundly your first child changes your life, until, of course, you have your first child. We were Clueless with a Capital C when she was born. I'd never even changed a diaper, for heaven's sake. We learned a whole lot in those first few weeks, with great thanks to my two sisters-in-law. Talk about heaven sent.

On November 14, 2002, John was putting on anhydrous, in the field directly east of our house. My doctor had told me the day before that, really, it was time to stop working, and in fact, time for bed rest to make my blood pressure cooperate. So by noon the 14th, I'd wrapped up my work and went on official maternity leave – and bed rest. By 3 p.m., I was bored silly. At 3:30, my water broke. Hallelujah!

I actually leaned out the back door and waved John down. And John, in his rush to get equipment put away and hit the road for the hospital, stepped in a hole in the ditch and twisted his ankle. He laced up his boots a little tighter and went on, but I think there's a fair chance he had a minor sprain. He's not a complainer, but during labor he actually told me, "I know this is nothing compared to what you're going through, but my ankle really hurts." Mmmmhhmm. Right. Whatever.

Anyway, by 4:15 a.m., on November 15, our baby girl joined the world. She was beautiful. All the nurses said so. We asked each other if they probably said that to everyone or if she really was extra beautiful. We decided to go with the extra-beautiful theory. Clearly.

Always full of energy, our baby has turned into a funny, intelligent, empathetic 8-year-old. I don't even know how it happened so fast. She works so hard, and she tries so hard. And every day for the past eight years, we've been grateful for the love, life and energy she's brought into our world.

 Thanks & Giving Day 16: Promise

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