I know all of you have been waiting with bated breath for the final four events on my top 10 list. Well, feel free to exhale, because here it is.
4. Welcome to English 9 (& 10 & 11 & 12...oh and Psychology): my first teaching job. I was fortunate enough to land a teaching job right out of my schooling (well, the 2nd time around). I will never forget the phone call I received from the principal. My heart fell to my stomach, did some splashing around, and stayed there until I almost threw it up. I was beyond thrilled. With my heart full of pride, I giddily drove to the school the following day only to discover that I was the only English teacher. It was a small charter school of about 60 high school students...when soaking wet. I would be teaching all four years of English as well as developing a Psychology curriculum for an elective class. This time my heart went straight to my bum, whereafter I almost pooped it out. I honestly did not think I would be able to do it. I remember sitting on our living room floor trying to get ready for the year with binders and papers and books all around me breathing into a paper bag whilst crying. But, the Lord is my shepherd...and I made it through...and I only came home crying for two weeks. Even though the job was challenging, and my worst fear of having students who were smarter than me became a reality, I loved it. It reaffirmed my decision to become a teacher. The relationships I made with my students, my co-workers and parents will forever be blessings to me. The hardest decision I've ever had to make was the decision to leave that job to stay home with Eli.
3. A baby makes 3: finding out I was pregnant. Ben and I decided before we were married that we wanted to wait at least 5 years after tying the knot to expand our family tree. Two months before our 5 year anniversary we discovered we had a little miracle on the way. It was really hard for me to fully accept that we were actually having a baby. We had tried for nearly a year, and I had convinced myself that it wasn't going to happen. And I really regret not enjoying my first few months of pregnancy. I was so consumed with anxiety and fear because I was afraid it was too good to be true, that I missed out on a special time with Ben. During my first trimester, only our immediate families knew (and a lady at the church garage sale who made a dangerous inquiry about my burgeoning belly). I wish I would have reveled in the moment with Ben during this time where only a few people knew. All that aside, though, it was a great pregnancy (apart from a nasty minestrone soup episode and an overwhelming aversion to poultry). The end result was pretty spectacular, as well.
Now, the next two are tied. I couldn't decide which one to place first, because they both pretty much rock my socks off. That is why I don't have a number two (teehee...number two)
1. BENJAMIN BRUCE PARKER: I know he is not an event, but Ben and I started dating when I was almost 21. A staple of my 20s, there really is not a specific event I could choose that would express how much he means to me. So he is the event. Funny story about how Ben and I met. We had a mutual friend who was a senior at SAU when I was a freshman and Ben was a sophomore. I remember she came up to me and said, "I have the perfect guy for you...I know you two will get married. You have to date him immediately." When she told me it was Ben Parker, I was less than convinced. I had met him earlier in the year and thought he was kind of conceited. He, too, was not about it. He thought that my Melissa Etheridge haircut automatically eliminated me as a viable choice. The next year, though, we were both in our school's praise and worship team, we had a few psychology classes together and we started to become good friends. The next year, his friend asked me out for him, we watched an Earnest movie and the rest is history. I cannot imagine life without my perfect partner in crime. He keeps me levelheaded when I am about to have a Meryl Steep moment. He is the world's best father. He makes me laugh like nobody else. And I still get weak in the knees when he kisses me. He is my favorite.
1. ELIJAH STEVEN PARKER: I mean, have you met this kid? I.n.c.r.e.d.i.b.l.e. There are nights when I go into his room after he's fallen asleep and just marvel at his wonderfulness. Also, its easier to do when he's not pulling a Rosemary's Baby. Is being a parent challenging? The most challenging thing I've ever done. Do I envision his future therapy sessions wherein he discovers I am the root of all his problems? You betcha. But I have never known a love like this. I can only imagine that the love a parent has for a child is a small, small glimpse into the love the Father has for us. Elijah is amazing, and I love every second that I have had the privilege of being his mother.