July 24, 2000. Would it be a girl or a boy? Thomas wanted a new baby brother. Patrick and Maggie were still too little to care. Philip and I had no idea. One of my friends said for sure it must be a boy, because of the way I was carrying. Another one predicted that my early morning sickness was a certain indicator that we would have a girl. An acquaintance at church thought that my cravings for spicy foods pointed to boy. On a hot Sunday night, July 23rd, Philip and the kids headed to church activities. I decided to stay home. I was tired and felt like I was coming down with something. Braxton-Hicks were really picking up. I called my mom and wondered if maybe THIS was the night.
Philip and were pretty excited about the delivery of the baby because we were hoping for a homebirth. So instead of getting worried about when to head to the hospital, I found a book. Everyone went to bed. I felt pangs, but no real pain. After calling the midwife, I brewed a cup of chamomile tea and cuddled up with the book UNDERSTOOD BETSY. It was one of the books in our homeschool literature program that year. Around 2 in the morning real labor commenced. But it was so relaxed, it was hard to believe it was real labor. I would get off the bed, kneel down, breathe slowly, count, then hop back in bed to read another chapter. About the time I finished the book, 6 in the morning, I called the midwife to come over, and also Elizabeth, one of my closest friends. I started to get things done, like change the sheets, take a shower. By that time, we were in full on labor. I would kneel and breathe and count and Maggie and Patrick would pat me on the head to try to make me feel better. Before too long, it became very intense work and the kids went to eat breakfast with Elizabeth while I labored.
All of a sudden I felt a great deal of panic. When such horrible pain came about with the hospital births, I had hours to go before delivery. Well, this time I was not strapped in a bed. As I shared with the midwife my fears she assured me that there was a baby coming and coming soon! Sure enough, in less than 10 minutes, by the side of our bed, a baby was born into the world of Philip and Ginger and Thomas and Patrick and Maggie Hillery. A teeny precious little girl. With the most beautiful lips we had ever seen. And the teeniest little fingers and toes. Tears were shed. Baby was cuddled. Midwife made a big herbal bath for mommy and child then all the family and grandma and grandpa and anyone else who wanted to be involved crowded into our bedroom for a celebration breakfast. Scrambled eggs and bacon and coffee and fruit and champagne. What a party! And what a contrast to hospital births!
Rose looked like a little rosebud. We were so thrilled with a little girl. Zaccheus, our kitty, was so thrilled with the idea of homebirth that the very next day she kept jumping in bed with Rose and me trying to have her kittens. We finally got her to stay in a box next to the bed to have her babies. It was the maternity ward.
Teeny little Rose grew into toddler little Rose. Was she a girl or a fairy? Wispy downy hair and big eyes, she seemed to be a wise old woman captive in a little body. She didn't really start talking in baby talk. It was straight to full paragraphs. We moved from Ft Worth, Texas to Madison, NJ when she was around 2. Her Jersey Poppa would hold her on his lap and peer into her face with tears in his eyes and say"She is such a beautiful girl." We would laugh and laugh and say "You must think so because she looks just like you when you were that age!" And she did- we have the baby pictures to prove it!
When Philip's dad grew very ill he had to go into a nursing home. We would go and visit him every couple of days or so. Rose, the 2 1/2 year old, became the "childrens minister" at the center. We would sit and visit with Poppa and she would make the rounds, hugging and loving on the other patients. I will never forget how she blessed those many people. It was a great lesson for me. God can use us, no matter how small we might be.
Rose has always loved to cook with me. Even when she had to sit on the counter to stir the pancakes, she would be involved. I remember how upset she was when Holly started coming over to take cooking lessons with me. She would push Holly out of the way so noone would take her place. It took a little effort, but we finally figured out how to compromise! Now she and Holly are fast friends.
Rose has a very intelligent sense of humor. She also has a great capacity for fighting. Once, after a very frustrating day(or month, or year) of fighting with her siblings and me, a took her up to bed and we kneeled down to say our prayers. In my desperation, I cried out to God, asking for help and understanding. Why does Rose have such a need to fight? After a moment of silence, I asked Rose what she thought about that. She said that Jesus told her that He made her to want to fight because there were many important things she would have to fight about someday, and this was just practice. Well, what do you say to that? I then thanked God for making Rose to be a fighting warrior princess and asked him to please help her not to practice quite so much with her siblings.
Rose has a wonderful sweet voice. She loves to sing. She even used to sing in her crib. She now sings with the kids at church and has sung in our church service on several occasions over the past year. She exhibits poise and confidence. Sings with meaning. It blesses me. Makes me cry. I love to see my children do what they were created to do. She also plays the piano.
I think Rose may be a writer someday. We went on a birthday date to IHOP this morning. I told her I thought she was a terrific writer and would she like to do that as an adult. She said she didn't think so. She would rather be a dancer, or singer. We talked about her 7th year, and all the things she learned to do over the past 12 months. She began to read big books and her favorites were the LITTLE HOUSE books. She learned beginning multiplication. She learned to write real letters. She learned to milk a cow. She lost front teeth. She sang in front of people in church. Lots of other stuff, too. I asked her what her favorite book was that we read aloud together for school this year. I wonder if it is any surprise that UNDERSTOOD BETSY was her all-time favorite book??? Hmmmm.
I am so very glad that Rose Aileen Hillery was born. Named for Philip's grandmother. Rose Petal, our very own Wild Irish Rose, the song that my dad sings to her everytime he sees her or speaks to her on the phone. Rose, the green bean queen, the younger sister to some, big sister to one, clever, prickly, tender hearted sweet one. I love her. I like her her company. She makes me laugh. Straightforward, honest, even when it hurts. Brave, gentle. Noble of heart. Happy 8th birthday, Rosie. What a happy day for our family when you were born, Monday, July 24th, 2000. May this year, 2008, be a good one for you. Love you so much.