As you might imagine, there have been many surprises that have come along with life since receiving the big surprise last August when we found out that the Quint Invasion was headed our way. Not all of the surprises have been good, not all have been bad, and certainly some that seemed one way or the other at first, turned out to be quite the opposite after the dust had settled. The fact that I am still enrolled in Baylor's EMBA program is a huge surprise that would not have been possible without the unbelievable support we received from the Baylor community. The excitement we felt when we heard we were the topic of conversation on 590 KLBJ's morning show a few days before the babies' birth will not be forgotten. Nor will the punch in the gut feeling that quickly followed when we heard all of the awful things that were being said about us by both the callers and the show's DJ's...not a good surprise to say the least! With the diaper drive held on our behalf along with their sizable gift card donation, HEB's incredible generosity clearly stands out as one of the highlights in the long list of godsends that have helped to turn our response to this adventure from overwhelmed to overjoyed...the list could go on...
But clearly the most gratifying and rewarding "surprises" that have come our way have been the individual acts of love, support, and selflessness that we have experienced from the big hearts of our volunteers and other helpers. I put the word "surprises" in quotes above because there was a certain level of expectation of this sort of attention when we decided to go public with our story. We knew that people would rally around us and around these babies in some form or fashion. We believe in the goodness of people, in the strength of God's love in the hearts of the faithful, and we knew that our journey would inspire some to get involved. But the thought, the extent, and the care to which people have gone to ensure that our babies are taken care of, to help us involve our older daughter in the amazing transition for a family of three to a family of eight, and even to give Casey and I some time to each other has been a source of constant amazement, humility, and yes, surprise. We can never thank these folks enough for the indelible mark they have left on our family's hearts!
My primary reason for writing this blog is to recognize two of these folks, two of these surprises, two very special ladies who have not only left their mark on our family, they have become family in every sense of the word (we've managed to get past the fact that both of them are red-heads...somehow). The two women pictured below, Tricia Harrison and Jennifer Ericson, are as much a part of this story as anything else.
Jennifer, wow, what a cool story! She saw us on the news, found us on the web, signed up through the care calendar, and has been here at least five days of every week for the past three or four months...and we have no intention of letting her go anytime soon! I'm not sure what compelled her to jump into the lives of complete strangers - she's a little on the shy side, though I'm certain there is a dark side lurking underneath that red hair of hers! But now she is our total, on-call girl...Miss Go-With-The-Flow! Casey emails her every day to let her know what time we'll need her help, depending on how much help has signed up on the care calendar, and that is when she arrives ready to love on babies! She has even recruited her mom and one of her high school friends for the cause! Her calm, happy, loving spirit is the perfect antidote for crazy babies and knows a thing or two about quieting an inconsolable infant...which is usually Britton :-). She loves the Fab Five like nobody else and the Fab Five loves her back!! Thank you, Jennifer, you are AWESOME!!
We knew Tricia and her husband, Dusten, sort of, through our church group at Riverbend. And because of her, we are alive today...I'm only barely kidding! Tricia jumped in red-head first from the beginning, organizing the care calendar, running background checks, cooking meals, and just generally being AWESOME!! Then, she took it about 1000 steps forward...she started picking up shifts - day shifts, night shifts, weekend shifts, vacation day shifts, back-to-back shifts - you name it, she did it and did it with a smile (a slightly mischievous smile, but a smile nonetheless)! During the toughest time of this experience, the time when the babies gave Casey and I less than three hours of sleep each night, Tricia was there, every other night, four nights a week, for three months straight to allow Casey and I to sleep, uninterrupted for at least six hours. Now do you think I'm kidding when I say that we are alive today because of her??! She even dragged her husband and two high schoolers into the fun, bringing them along to help with all of the above. They are an amazing family! Now that calmer nights have arrived and the focus has shifted more to the days, Tricia is still with us, arriving every day before 7:00 so that Casey and I can get ready for our day ahead, walk Eliot to school, and allow us to get other stuff done around the house. Spirited, fun, giving, selfless, loving...thank you, Tricia, you are all of these and more!!
So we're getting used to surprises these days in whichever form they choose to present themselves. They've come fast and furious and in the most interesting ways. And, God willing, they'll keep coming...red-headed or not!
Posted by joneslifeaustin at 12:21 PM