So, in suit for my purpose this year in highlighting each child on his/her birthday, here's my "ode to Jessica' for her birthday, quite belated - her birthday was on May 8.
Jessica was our first girl baby. She arrived just 19 months after Jason had joined our family. Back then, ultrasounds were rare, so we had no idea if we were having a girl or a boy. I had suspicions that I was carrying a girl, but really didn't dare to hope. Once we went past the due date, I began to be more and more convinced that this was a girl, as both boys had been close to their due dates (Jeremy was 2 days late, and Jason was born on his due date).
Since I was officially 2 weeks past my due date, I was scheduled for an induction. Once again I experienced a pitocin labor. Not fun. But after just 6 hours of labor, Jessica was born, weighing exactly the same as Jeremy - 7 pounds 10 ounces. She was pink and so cute! She had the tiniest head, so tiny that when she was all bundled up she looked like a preemie!
Jessica was a very good baby. I needed her to be. I had to return to work when she was just a couple of weeks old. I took her to work with me, everyday, until she was mobile. She played contentedly at work, and I even brought her to clients homes (we owned a custom drapery store). I loved dressing her up in the lacy, fluffy dresses that a friend passed on to us. It was so fun to have a little girl after the two boys.
She was slow to grow hair, so I glued bows on her head until she had enough hair to put in clips...but that wasn't until she was nearly 2 years old! Finally, when she was just over 2 years old, I was finally a stay at home mom. Jessica was so happy to have me all the time - she was a serious momma's girl.
She loved it every time we added a new baby to our family. She was such a little momma! She was thrilled when we had Rebekah, as that meant that she wasn't the only girl anymore! She doted on Rebekah so much, even though she was only 5 years old, she was a pro at caring for babies by then!
As Jessica grew up she developed a love for kittens, horses and dogs. When she was about 9 years old we started a 4 H group and she thrived. She raised sheep, rabbits, and puppies. She showed chickens, rabbits, sheet and goats at the fair through 4H. She developed a talent for baking as she grew up as well.
She also has a talent for music. She learned to play the piano and violin when she was young, and she also loves to sing. She still does all of them and does them exceptionally well! She also love to play games and has since she was little.
When my business started, she also learned to sew for me. She had already done sewing, especially through 4H. She continued to raise puppies as a side business. She loved puppies!
She showed her determined spirit when she saved up enough money to go visit her cousins in Chicago for spring break when she was 13 years old! Reminded me of myself - I saved up the money to visit my brother in Germany when I was 13 years old too!
Jessica has always been very close to her older brothers, and when Jeremy went off to join the Marines, it was really hard on her. She continued to invest in her relationships with her other siblings through the years, and she is a favorite for many of our younger children.
When Esther was born, Jessica ended up taking over running the house. This was a giant leap for her. While she had learned to do just about everything there is to do in our home and in my business, but now she was nearly completely responsible to do it all, with little or no help from me as I was in the hospital for weeks on end with Esther. I think this time in her life may have been both the most difficult and the most defining time in her life. She was challenged deeply and many times felt that she just couldn't do it, but she was able to manage. This gave her a great sense of accomplishment that has helped her to tackle great projects with confidence.
Since that time she has saved and taken a trip to Germany for a short term missions trip, and she also built a horse shelter and had a horse for a few months. She has pushed our family back into having chickens and has been working for a couple of years to get our family ready to have milk goats.
Today Jessica still loves to spend time with her brothers, often spending days on end at Jeremy's house or taking trips with them. She is so good with the babies, and is great at getting things going in the morning when I'm busy with business or taking care of the little girls. She is still a momma's girl and loves to go with me to run errands or to take Esther to Children's for checkups and appointments. But she's very independent too. She has started taking violin lessons again and has taken classes to be a care provider for children with special needs. She loves to play games, and her latest addiction is the board game "Ticket To Ride" (OK, so our whole family is addicted to this!).
Jessica is continuing to learn how to care for a home and how to run a home business. She continues to take on more responsibilities both at home and away from home. She does quite a few voluntary things at church as well.
She loves the Lord and spends time in His word. She also takes time almost every morning to read to the children after breakfast, both from scripture and from books. She has completed more books reading aloud to the children that we can count. I'm so thankful for this as this is such an important piece in the development of children's learning, but as a busy mom of many, I find it so hard to find the time to read to the children. When our children were young (and there were far fewer of them), I used to read to them at bedtime and we read through so many good books. But life had sped up and it just doesn't work right now, so this is really a great ministry that Jessica does for our family everyday!
Jessica is a blessing to our family and to those who know her. She is a loyal friend and has a very generous nature. She loves to have fun, and is willing to take risks (like white water rafting last year!). She is a valuable part of our family. We are so pound of the young woman she has become.
We are also excited to see what her future holds. God bless you, Jessica, in all you do and in all you become.