We had some friends over Monday night. They weren’t some new Portland friends, but long time friends who happen to be in Portland. The Leach’s are amazing people. Michelle and I go back 10+ years. I had the privilege of mentoring Michelle when she was fresh out of high school and learning what it meant to be an adult. I look back and I know that our relationship was God ordained, but I also look back and think, 10 years ago I was still just a kid, what did I have to teach anyone about being an adult. But apparently I did, Michelle and I spent many wonderful hours sitting coffee side talking.
However, it really wasn’t just seeing Michelle that was the most special about Monday night for me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to down play how great it was see and hug and friend, pray together and just catch up in general. I was blessed beyond words to see Michelle, Kevin and their 3 month old little boy Adam. But what was more special for me than all of that was to meet Magnolia Love (Maggie for short). A little girl whom I dubbed “the happiest little girl to ever live”.
So why you ask was it so special for me to meet Maggie? Well I’m glad you asked.
Maggie was born 6 months before Imogen, so while I was finishing up my 1st trimester of pregnancy with Imogen, Maggie was entering this world. But what was so special about Maggie’s birth is that there was complications through pregnancy. I spent that last month of Michelle pregnancy keeping watch for the latest update on what was happening with Maggie in utero. I was three states away, I couldn’t support Michelle in person but I could pray for her, Kevin and Maggie. They didn’t really know what was wrong with Maggie, there were a lot of guesses. I watched Facebook and the Leach family blog as the day came where Maggie had stopped growing altogether and it was time for Doctors to take her. Maggie was born and her first few days were filled with tests. And I, growing a little person of my own, sat at home and prayed. Blood tests, brain scans, ultrasounds; they were unable to definitively give Maggie a diagnosis. The one thing they knew for sure was that she had 3 large holes in her heart that sooner rather than later would require open heart surgery.
I continued to get more and more pregnant, and updates on Maggie’s health continued to be posted. Like any new parent Michelle posted more than a few pictures of Maggie for all of us to see and I kid you not there was not a single one where she did not have the biggest smile you have ever seen on and infant.
As my pregnancy with Imogen went into its third trimester, my pregnancy took a turn and I became high risk, with a real possibility of still birth for Imogen. Prayer for Maggie and Imogen began to go hand and hand. As Michelle was in and out of a cardiologists office with Maggie, every visit being the one they may tell her they have to operate on her infant daughter, I was in and out of a high risk OB’s office with every visit being the one that they may tell me they have to take Imogen early.
Praying for both Imogen and Maggie together I did what any mom would do. I began daydreaming about the girls playing together, laughing together, being friends. Knowing that we lived in different states (us in California at the time and the Leach’s in Oklahoma) and there was little possibility that the girls would ever actually meet. I would ask God to keep my little Imogen safe and that he would close those holes in Maggie’s heart. Just weeks before Imogen was due, the day came that Doctors couldn’t wait any longer, Maggie at 5 months old had to have open heart surgery.
I continued to pray for Imogen’s safety in utero and prayed deeply for Magnolia Love and her parents as I watched via social media as they went through open heart surgery with their infant daughter. The strength that they showed, helped me trust that my little girl was in God’s hands and he was caring for Imogen as much as he was caring for Maggie.
Maggie came though surgery and recovery with flying colors, Imogen was born a few weeks later so healthy that it baffled my OB. We continued getting updates on Maggie and as Imogen grew, it was evident that God answered my prayer, she was just as smiley and happy as Maggie. Weeks turned into months, and my love of Maggie and the connection I felt her through prayer never changed. We moved to Portland and the chance of getting to meet her lessened, but it didn’t stop us from making comments on Facebook about Maggie and Imogen being friends.
Since this post is getting quite long I’ll save you the details of why the Leach’s ended up in Portland for a visit, but you already know they did. And the two happiest babies in the world got to meet. When they walked into our house, it took just a few seconds for the girls begin playing together (kids are great about that, we adults could learn a thing or two). I can’t express the joy I had watching the girls play and giggle together. They sat at Imogen’s table and ate dinner together, they fought over toys, they poked at Maggie’s baby brother, they played peek-a-boo with each other, they danced, they spun, and giggled some more. Monday night my prayers of nearly 2 years were answered; a healthy Magnolia Love and a healthy Imogen Aurora were friends.
As the evening came to a close, 4 adults and three kids gathered together to pray for one another. As we prayed, Maggie crawled out of her daddy’s arms and crawled up into my lap. And there I was praying for Maggie and her parents (and her baby brother) once again, but this time I had my arms around Maggie and she held my hands. I was overcome by the magnitude of answered prayers, the reality of a dream come true.
I don’t know when the next reunion will happen, but I do know this. God has bound the Leach’s and Somboonsiri’s together through prayer and no distance tear that apart.
Sorry the picture quality sucks, but well, you try chasing 2 toddlers around at night trying to snap photos.