When I was 32 years old I had a nice little family. My kids were 6, 4 and 2 years old. The only issue? I had eggs that wanted to be hatched.
I was NOT done having kids.
The problem? My.husband.was.done.
He was extremely serious when he told me that he didn’t want any more kids. He was stretched to his absolute limit, spiritually, physically and financially.
So, what’s a woman with energetic eggs to do?
I briefly considered using deceit. Since I did my natural family planning charting, I knew exactly when I could conceive. He did not.
I was young but I was not stupid. I knew that if I walked that road then I’d live the rest of my days with my baby and my husband’s resentment.
I talked it over with my tribe of mommy friends and they told me the same thing: Russ was the head of the household. They agreed I couldn’t seduce the man for my own motives.
What did I do?
I was honest and spoke my heart, “Russ, I want more children. I know you do not. So I just wanted to let you know that I am praying to God for this situation. I am asking Him to open your heart for another child.”
I was at a place of peace. I truly trusted my husband to lead our little family of five.
Within a week my husband said the sexiest words to me, “Will you bear another one of my children?”
Oh my stars.
It’s hard to put into words what that meant for me. I was so grateful to God. I was grateful to Russ.
And. Lori’s eggs were happy.
Matthew Edward Doerneman was conceived that very night.
Here’s the interesting part of this story: when I gave birth, on March 6, 2000, I gave birth to my husband’s clone.
Matthew had reddish blonde hair. He had blue eyes. And white, white skin.
Fast forward 17 years. We now have a total of eight children. They are a unique mix of their mother/father genes but most tend towards my side of the genetic tree. Malaysia, whom we adopted at age four, is her own special mix of her birth parents. We found a picture of her birth mom. There are similarities.
Matthew Edward Doerneman is completely his dad. There is no Lori in that boy.
Matthew is precise. He is logical. When he sets out to do something he actually finishes it. Get this, he LIKES finishing projects. He loves math and wants to be a mechanical engineer.
Just like his dad, he needs the quiet every so often. He likes our zesty family but needs to be alone to recharge. Many times when we’d be at a fast food restaurant (usually on a family trip) Matt would find his own table…far away from everyone else. Russ would look at him with longing.
When Russ and Matthew are talking to each other, I just grin like a banshee. They are usually standing in the exact same position, talking in the exact same manner about something
totally boring, like structural load or the inner workings of something.
Matthew is also slightly passive aggressive. When he was younger I bought him some church shoes. He didn’t TELL me that he didn’t like them. He simply threw them away. And urinated in them for good measure.
So, stuff like that worried me a tad. Plus I had read enough books that told me that The Middle Child Syndrome is real. How would that play out in this home? Well, how it has played out: the kid is resourceful. If he wants something, he works for it. He will find a way.
One of his goals has been to go to college for free. So he has worked his butt off, getting straight A’s in high school. He has received a lot of scholarships. Scholarships where he competed against other soon-to-be engineering students. Enough to pay for his tuition for all four years.
He decided to live at home his freshman year, saving more money. All was well. My mommy heart was full.
Then this child of mine started talking about joining the Navy Reserves.
At first I thought it was just the work of an excited kid that had heard a recruiter. But he didn’t STOP talking about it.
My father and brother were in the Navy, so this is not totally foreign territory. But. Why? Why go there when scholarships would cover tuition? Why?
Then my father-in-law, Reuben Doerneman, passed away. He had served in the Korean War and he received a funeral with military honor. At the burial site the two honor guards removed The United States flag from Reuben’s casket and took care in the folding of it.
They presented it to my mother-in-law with these words, “On behalf of the President of the United States, the United States Air Force and a grateful Nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful service.”
After that INCREDIBLY moving tribute, our family received the military gun salute in Grandpa’s honor. Finally, taps were played.
I knew what that meant. My kid was going into the military. I saw it on his face.
After that weekend, I began to listen, I mean REALLY listen to Matthew’s heart. He said he’s been given so many opportunities in his life. He has a two-parent family. He has strong siblings that are making an impact in the world.
“I have seen what they are doing. I have all of this drive and all of this energy. I want to use it for a cause bigger than myself. Just going to college isn’t enough. I want to grow and learn more than that.”
That was my taps moment.
Matthew is scheduling his ASVAB test which means we will sign papers and give our kid over to the Navy Reserves for six years. WSU works well with the military and all of Matt’s scholarships would be applied when he enters after his initial stint (lasting 3-10 months, depending on his ASVAB score) with the Reserves.
If you have a story about the military, particularly the Navy Reserves, please tell it.
Matthew Edward Doerneman, you are loved. I tell your conception story for your sake. It was difficult to look beyond our current circumstance of three kids in three years. But I felt you. And after some time in prayer, so did your daddy. You have so many gifts and you are using them well. Incredibly well. You are not perfect, but as you well know, that is not what we ask or expect. We ask you to just keep stepping, one foot in the front of the other, asking God to guide your way. We will be here, supporting you to the best of our ability on YOUR journey.
Love, Your Sanguine Mother
P.S. to my friends, you may need to take me out for a drink. Soon.