Driving down the highway, foot pressed a little too firmly against the gas pedal, hands gripping the steering wheel, and heart beating to it’s own quick drum. I could not seem to slow down my thoughts or my desire to arrive at my destination as quickly as possible. My thoughts jumped to a memory from 12 years ago when I was on the first date with my husband. I remember being nervous, anxious, excited, and trying to keep my expectations realistic to what the next few hours would hold for us. This date started us on a streamline for where we are today. EVERY drive I made up the interstate 2 months ago felt the same. Nervous, anxious, excited, and trying my very hardest to keep my expectations realistic…It felt like a first date. I had two little girls whom I had given birth to 11 weeks ago today, and I have seen them every day since they were born. I gave birth to them. I sat in a hospital bed for a week and a half trying to keep them safe and in utero, and experienced some of the most pain in my life, for them. But still, I worried if they would know me. It felt like a first date each time I scrubbed in to the NICU and turned the corner to see their tiny little bodies laying safely in beds with their “caretakers” looking after them (and they have some pretty fine Nurses keeping them healthy).
I whispered to myself, “you are their mommy…they will remember you”, but honestly, it was a fear in me everyday that they would not know me. I walked sheepishly over to their beds and it never failed; the nurse would walk over and say “your mommy’s here!”. Those three words were everything. The acknowledgment that I still held the “mommy” spot in their world puts my “first date” nerves at ease.
Easter and the East Entrance
7 weeks ago was a big week for us. For starters, mine and my husband’s 10 year anniversary occurred and it was Easter. Before Jesus was persecuted, “He went to the Olive grove called Gethsemane” to pray (NIV). A few years ago, during Holy week, I read the story of Jesus in the garden and fell in love with the name Olive. There was something serene and comforting picturing Jesus at a time in such turmoil, finding peace under the Olive tree and wanted so badly for a daughter of mine to experience these qualities in her life. Shortly after deciding this name to be a “future daughter’s name”, my sister, without knowing this revelation, sent me a text about how she had read the same scripture and felt that I would have a daughter named Olive one day.
About a year ago, I was reading a great book about being a woman and how to cherish and respect the uniqueness of said womanhood. The author had written a chapter about names and how God is sovereign, so essentially he gave us the name we have (this is a very shortly paraphrased version of the chapter). She encouraged her readers to research the meaning of their names and find how it correlates with who we are in Christ. Now, one of my areas of gifted-ness is finding connections to things, so of course, I was intrigued by this theory and I began to research my name and all of my friends who would care to listen 😉 (Sorry friends!). My name is Holley, which is….dun dun ta dunnnnn…a bush! Sure, it was anticlimactic, but I decided to dig a little deeper and found the holly bush is an evergreen shrub. Evergreens never die and can provide cover for the ground underneath them. Evergreen’s are eternal! They never die… God had reminded me through my name He loved me forever, no matter what…thorns and all!
Learning the meaning of my name was a special moment for me. It showed me, on a grander scale than my menial brain can understand, how much God loves me and how worthy I am in His eyes. Struggling my whole life with worthlessness, I decided evergreen to be my mantra. If the day was hard and I could not get off the downward spin cycle, I would whisper Evergreen and it would remind me that I was loved, cherished and worthy.
When we found out we were having twin girls, naming them was easy. One would be Olive for the reasons given above and the other Piper because it was my husband’s pick. We also knew the middle name of one of the girls would be Katherine after my husband’s mother. If you know her, I’m sure you are already thinking about how big she loves. She has accepted me and loved me as her own since the day I met her. Another quality I would love for either of my daughters to possess. Olive Katherine and Piper Evergreen…our girls were named and my husband and I loved how deeply rooted each of their names were in us.
Throughout the duration of my pregnancy, God would reveal these little nuggets of awesomeness about the girls and their names. One day, I researched the Olive tree and found out it is an evergreen tree. We had already designated names to each girl before we knew this and were in awe that our identical twins names were intricately woven together. Another day, I was on the drive to their anatomy scan ultrasound and I was a nervous wreck because of the risks that accompany mono/di twins. Driving down the road beside me (on the same highway I took to the hospital everyday) was a big semi truck and all it had on it in huge letters was “EVERGREEN”. I smiled and knew everything was going to be fine.
BACK TO EASTER…
We brought our girls home from the NICU on the Wednesday and Thursday before Easter. Friday was our first full day as a family which happened to be Good Friday. Thursday night, as I snuggled my girls in our home for the very first time, I thought of Jesus and how this would’ve been the day he was sitting and praying under the evergreen trees in the Olive grove. The picture God had painted with these two babes could not have been clearer. God began the journey of Olive and Piper in me long before we knew about them. They are truly an extension of his eternal love for me.
My husband and I walked out of the East entrance of the hospital with our girls in tow for the last time on March 23rd and 24th. The place I dreaded and felt resentment toward became a thing of our past. The nurses, doctors and staff had given my evergreen’s a garden of solace. A place to rest and be nourished. God reminded me once again that I am worthy of His love through an unlikely place.
It was a Good Friday indeed!Ridge meeting Olive for the very first time. 3 out of the 4 kiddos!Driving to pick up Olive!!First time together at home. Big brother is a little in love…Co-sleeping!Our little Easter bunnies.Wrist band is OFF!