Warning: This is a rambling post where I'm sorting out my feelings about some things.
I'm grateful for Kelsie. Kelsie came into our lives in an interesting way.
During the second semester of his freshman year in college my middle son, Dylan, had messed up and lost his college football scholarship. I never learned all the details, but it somehow involved marijuana. Dylan had apparently been so ashamed that he never even directly talked to me about the whole thing; he just called his biological father. I will say for his dad, this time he acted wisely. His dad did not bring him back to me because he knew all the struggles I'd had with Dylan over these very kinds of issues during his senior year of high school; plus, his friends in our area were the very people with whom he enjoyed partying. So his dad took Dylan to Phoenix Arizona, a city where several members of his dad's family live. His dad's youngest brother JJ let Dylan live with him for a few weeks and even let him work some for him to earn money. Dylan went job hunting every day and eventually ended up with a part time minimum wage job in a food joint that, combined with the money he earned from JJ, allowed him to move into a room he would rent from someone. Dylan's dad helped out with the initial deposit to rent the room.
Dylan wasn't too happy in his living situation. He's a people person and he was lonely. He was renting a room in a small 3-bedroom condo, where a man and his 20-something son lived; he didn't know these people and felt awkward. But he also knew that he'd gotten himself into the situation. So Dylan started looking in the classifieds for a different room to rent.
Kelsie had ended up in a 2-bedroom apartment but now her roommate was gone so she was advertising in the classifieds. Dylan responded to Kelsie's ad. Kelsie did not rent to Dylan and, in fact, Dylan helped Kelsie move her furniture into a 1-bedroom apartment that she decided to rent. They had fun together when Dylan helped her move. So they started spending time together and fell in love.
Then Dylan decided to move in with Kelsie.
I've got to tell you that I struggled with this one. I believe in marriage - not living together. I believe in taking the time to get to know one another, to develop a friendship, to let love grow, to then get engaged and afterward get married. I believe that sex was designed by God to be within the context of marriage. But the bottom line here is that we're not talking about my life here - we're talking about the life of my son who was 19 years old at this time.
On the good side, Dylan stopped smoking dope, he got a full time job that paid close to 23% above minimum wage, and he started back to college at the local community college. I believe that it was Dylan who made these healthy choices, but I also believe that Kelsie was a major source of encouragement. It's obvious that Dylan is crazy in love with Kelsie; and he's the kind of person that he'll do anything for the one he loves. Kelsie is practical and grounded; she's also a bit older than Dylan and, in some ways, is more mature. I remember her visiting us with Dylan around this time and sharing with me that she knew about some of the bad stuff Dylan had been into. Kelsie's attitude toward marijuana can be summed up in these words of her's: "dope makes you lazy".
Then one day I get a call from Dylan telling me that I'm going to be a grandmother. I was stunned; too stunned to be able to process. I don't really even know what I said to Dylan. I remember talking with Kelsie soon after this and her telling me that this wasn't how she'd planned it, but that sometimes life just happens and you've got to go with it. Dylan talked to me about the fact that they are very young, he does not have a good job or career, neither of them has health insurance. He said they talked about the fact that many people would just end the pregnancy, but that they couldn't do this - this was their child, a real human being.
So I helped them pay for self insurance for the prenatal care and delivery. They found out that this baby is a girl and they named her Lillian Eden White. Since they needed all the money he earned, Dylan started selling his plasma and saved that money and bought a ring for Kelsie. They drove to the Grand Canyon on their off days because she's never been there. They camped out for a night and then, on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, Dylan asked Kelsie to marry him and she said yes.
But they didn't set a date for the wedding. They've just changed their life status to engaged. They're going to give birth to Lilly while they remain engaged but not married. I struggle with this. But again, this is their lives - not mine.
They've spent their time off at garage sells and looking in the classifieds. They were blessed to be able to find a house to rent that only costs a bit more than they were paying to rent their 1-bedroom apartment so they moved. They've gotten the nursery in order and I was delighted to find that Kelsie liked the things I sent them for Lilly's room; that we share some of the same decorating tastes.
Dylan told me about a speech he had to give for his speech class. The assignment was to give a speech about someone who was a source of inspiration for him. He said that other students spoke about professional athletes or musicians, but that he talked about Lilly. He talked about how he used to just live for himself and fun, but that he's fallen in love with his baby to be born - Lilly. That, because he wants good for Lilly, he's changed his priorities and the way he lives. He said he got an A on that speech. I cried when he told me about it; I asked if anyone else teared up and he said that a few of the girls in his class did.
Dylan has taken on working on his off days to earn extra money. He just
finished his first semester there and got good grades while working
full time. He calls me once a week and shares with me what's going in their lives. I can tell that he feels good about himself and all that he's accomplishing and that he's still crazy in love with Kelsie and excited about the birth of Lilly.
If I let myself I could worry about them. He's only 20 and she's 25. Their history together is brief to be living together and having a child together. I know what a blessing and what a stress a newborn baby can be. They don't have much money. So instead of worrying, I pray for them a lot. I pray that God would bring people into their lives that they like and can relate to who love Him. I pray that He would bring them to Himself and that He would teach them how to love each other. That God would strengthen them and keep them together. I try to be a source of encouragement.
During one of his weekly phone calls recently Dylan announced to me that he's decided that, after Lilly is born, he needs to get back into church. That children need church, that this is where they get their moral grounding and are around others of like values. He said that he's talked with Kelsie about it and they're going to do this. What I wish I'd heard is that he's fallen in love with Jesus and wants to be in community. However, I'll take what I can get. At least this is a step in the right direction.