Once upon a time...
There was a high school boy, named Matt, who often goofed off in class, didn't do his homework, and loved sports. He knew lots of trivia.
There was a high school girl, named Patrice, who focused entirely too much time and energy on getting a scholarship, had to make straight A's, was a definite nerd, and had no use for boys who goofed off in class and didn't do their homework. She knew lots of Spanish.
The boy ignored the girl. The girl thought the boy was a goof.
But in Spanish class, their teacher let them play Trivial Pursuit on Fridays. The boy and girl were a perfect pair. He knew the trivia. She knew how to translate the questions and answers. They kicked butt and took names.
After graduation, the girl went with some friends up to the mountains for their Senior Trip. The boy came too, because the two of them shared a mutual friend. When the girl heard that the boy was coming, her heart fluttered. She had no idea why, seeing as how she still thought she had no use for him. He arrived. She came down the stairs with no make-up and a towel on her head. He said, “Erykah Badu.” (The girl doesn’t know how or why she remembers that, seeing as how she never remembers anything.)
Every night, the whole group cooked dinner and ate together and played board games long into the night. As tradition required, the girl and boy had to be on the same team. It was their destiny. One night, the boy touched the girl’s knee under the table. Instantly, her heart fluttered again and this time, she knew why. He was the one for her.
The two kids - yes, they were definitely kids - dated all four years of college and were married in May of 2004.
In April of 2006, they decided they would like to soon have a baby. They tried for a year and a half to get pregnant. They didn’t really stress that it took so long and never even considered the possibility of infertility. They just put it in God’s hands and knew it would happen when it was supposed to.
In August of 2007, they finally became pregnant with their first child. They were elated and felt the timing was just right.
But their world came crashing down in April of 2008 when their first son, Gabriel, stopped moving at 37 weeks (full-term). He was born sleeping on April 22, 2008. His skin was sloughed back on his hands and feet, but the doctors and nurses said that sometimes happened when babies died in utero. After an autopsy and very general genetic testing, the pair was told that “it was just one of those things” and that there was no apparent reason their child had died. The boy and girl cried for their son and felt the deepest, most horrible pain they had ever experienced in their young lives.
The kids became adults. They learned what was really important in life. They aged, what felt like, fifty years. Their world would never be the same. They pushed on, kept their faith that God would see them through, and knew that they would see their Sweet Gabe again.
Just ten weeks later, shock of all shocks, the girl went in for a check-up and found out she was pregnant again. She didn’t know what to feel. She felt sad, scared, happy, excited, terrified, guilty, angry, elated… pretty much any emotion you could feel, she felt it. She told the boy. And every night, before bed, they both got down on their knees – from the day they found out till the day he was born – and prayed for this new life - that he would live.
On February 27th of 2009, the boy and the girl welcomed their second son, Jonah. The pregnancy had gone well, his heartbeat had remained strong. All seemed fine. But it wasn’t. Jonah was born missing most of his skin from his elbows down and his knees down. His hands, feet, knees, and elbows were completely raw and bloody. His head had purple lesions across it. He was in severe pain. He was transported to Brenner Children’s Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a very rare genetic skin disorder called Junctional Epidermolysis Bullosa. He was not expected to survive to his first birthday. Truth be told, many thought he would never make it out of the hospital. He was in horrible shape.
The boy and the girl, once again, came home from the hospital to an empty house and no baby in the bassinet. Their hearts broke all over again. And they felt the second worst pain they had ever felt in their young lives. The girl wondered if she would ever be able to breathe without it hurting. The boy was her rock and held them all together.
But GOD was at work. A huge prayer movement began for Jonah. By word of mouth, church prayer lists, a little old blog that, literally overnight, was getting 10,000 hits a day, and a MIRACLE, Jonah was being prayed for in pretty much every time zone in the world. His parents got messages of hope and encouragement, verses, and prayers from all over the country and places like Canada, China, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Afghanistan, even the United Arab Emirates (capital: Abu Dhabi… the girl remembers that from a project she did in the sixth grade… don’t ask her why.)
After 32 days, Jonah came home from the hospital. And despite all the odds, he resisted infection, malnutrition, and respiratory issues. Despite feeding issues and ultimately having to get a g-tube, he thrived at home and amazed everyone who knew him (and many, many, many people who didn’t). The boy and the girl knew how incredibly awesome their Jonah was and were so thankful to God that he had chosen them to be his parents. They thanked God for their miracle child and didn’t take one solitary moment of their time with him for granted. They knew God would use him and his story to change people’s lives. They knew that Jonah’s life was glorifying the Father and making Big Brother Gabe so very proud. They were speechless and in awe of their amazing baby boy and at all the love and support they got from all around the world.
And even though some people might not understand it, the boy and the girl knew that THEY were the BLESSED ones. And they carried on, with hope, and lived…
… happily ever after.