In the summer of 2015, Taylor and I were halfway through our second year of marriage and I had just finished my first year teaching art in Roswell. We were planning to use part of my summer vacation to take a trip to Europe while we were still child free and able to get away. My mom is a Spanish professor and goes over to Spain every summer with her university’s study abroad program. My sister, Harriet, was also already over in Spain to begin a new job teaching English. Taylor and I joined them in Salamanca, Spain for a week and then went on to Germany by ourselves. Taylor was the biggest history buff I think anyone has ever known, especially when it came to World War II history, and he was excited to explore Europe for the first time.
While Taylor was definitely your all-American, Teddy Roosevelt-esque alpha male, he fully embraced the culture of everywhere we traveled while remaining true to who he was, never apologizing for his over projected voice or muddy cowboy boots. In Spain, he spoke with all the locals in his “New Mexico ranch Spanish”, mixing tenses and making up words, with full confidence. In Munich, he was invited to join a group of guys he met at the bar below our hotel on a stag night. Whatever Taylor was doing or wherever he was, he always soaked up all of the experience that he could and always charmed everyone with laughter.
Little did we know upon arriving at the Madrid airport that we were not as carefree as we thought we were and would be returning home with an extra passenger. The first morning of our trip, the smell of coffee and jamon made me sick to my stomach. My sister joked I might be pregnant and I told her I definitely wasn’t. The following day we traveled outside the city of Salamanca with our friend, Ramon, to tour his sister’s bull fighting ranch. Feeling nauseated sitting in the middle seat as we drove through the old winding roads, I started to wonder if my sister was right. By the third day of our trip I knew that something was definitely different with me. After multiple, awkward trips to the drugstore, my 5th (or 6th or 7th) test confirmed that I was in fact, “embarazada.”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”Jeremiah 29:11
Nine months after our European adventure we welcomed our firstborn, Margaret (Margot) Virginia. Our little GoGo has been such an incredible blessing and I still can’t believe that God entrusted me to be her mother. I always looked forward to becoming a mom, but I didn’t think Taylor and I were ready to take on parenthood before we first found out about her. Still, I knew then that God had planned for us to have our first child on His schedule, not ours, and I quickly began to see the perfection of His timing unfold. Because of Margot coming into our lives when she did, I met my dearest friends in Roswell who had firstborns around the same age. Our moms group all welcomed our second babies within the next couple of years and some of our friends have even added a third to their family. Taylor and I always planned on a third child of our own. In fact, our plan was to be embarazada with number three right now, but our plan is not always God’s plan. I’ve come to terms with the fact that we won’t have a third baby and that the Lord has entrusted me with something else to nurture and carry which is the sharing of His word.
Now, as the memories of our greatest surprise from five years ago pop up in my pictures, I smile. However, if I am being completely honest, at the time I couldn’t stop crying. I am a meticulous planner and DO NOT handle surprises of any kind well. Taylor, though just as shocked, handled the news great! He used to say that having kids is the easiest thing in the world…because you don’t have a choice. I am learning that life is full of surprises and that I often don’t have a choice. Taylor also used to say that “sometimes the only thing you can control is your attitude, so make it a good one.” These are all important lessons I’m holding onto as I face a life I can’t control and a life without Taylor. It’s easy to take on widowhood and life as a single mom because I simply don’t have a choice, but I have seen how God reveals himself in the most incredible ways. I hope you will approach this week with a positive attitude and trust that the purpose of any challenges you may face or unexpected surprises will be revealed to you in God’s perfect timing.
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