My name is Michelle, and I am the new blogger for And You Will Have Kids. I want to introduce myself to everyone out there reading this blog.
I really believe there is truth in that old African saying: It takes a village to raise a child. Because of that belief, I am hoping to create a virtual parenting village where parents can come to share, learn, and support each other as we raise our children.
My first child was born 15 years ago this September. I never, ever guessed when I held her for the first time how drastically my life would change in the coming years. I remember peering into her big blue eyes and wondering who ever decided that I was capable of taking responsibility for another human being. I remember wondering if there was a manual perhaps on how to parent? The thought of it all was terrifying to me.
The hospital staff assured me that there really was no manual and I really was capable. Parenting was an experiential sort of journey: you learned by doing.
Since my mother had passed on several years before I birthed my first child, and my grandmother lived thousands of miles away and was a “little rusty” in the memory department, I felt very alone. I began to read, and ask the advice of other parents with older children. I learned a lot and I made many mistakes along the way, but my children and I have survived. I hope to humbly share what I have learned with you on this blog and to have you share what you have learned in your own journey.
When my oldest child was two years old, we discovered that she had a rare degenerative eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa and further tests revealed that she had other issues as well. I struggled to come to terms with the fact that my child was handicapped and that she would go blind. Shortly thereafter, my second daughter was born and she spent the first month of her life in and out of several hospitals. Testing revealed that she also had the same degenerative eye disease, and other issues as well.
The next year, I miscarried a child. In the following years, I gave birth to two more children, both girls.
Two years after my youngest daughter was born, I left my abusive ex husband and the strict religious community we had joined and began another phase in my parenting journey. I parented my 4 children alone for many years while going through the awful divorce and child custody battles that followed.
Four years ago, I met my current husband in a small coffee shop in rural Pennsylvania. He was travelling with the military, and just happened to stop in to get a cup of coffee before traveling back to his home in Virginia. We were married a year later, and my parenting journey took a new twist as I relocated with my children to Virginia.
Our first born son was stillborn and we buried him during our first year of marriage. A year to the day after we buried our first son, our second son was born. Several months later, my husband’s military unit was deployed to Kuwait.
My husband returned from his deployment last year and retired from the military after 22 years of service. We are now a civilian family of 7. Along with our 5 children, we have 4 cats, a chocolate Labrador puppy, a parakeet, a turtle, and a chicken.
Thanks for taking the time to read my introduction post! I look forward to creating an online parenting village where we can all grow and learn as we strive to be the best parents we can be.