Life Lesson From Leslie, My Beautiful & Amazing sister part 1
Ten years ago we lived in American Fork, Utah. Tyler and my sister Leslie worked at the same place, Nature's Sunshine, in Provo. Leslie was dating a guy named Mike that she had met in her single adult ward. He seemed like a nice enough guy and he seemed to really like Leslie. I was quite anxious for her to get married. She is the sister that is just younger than me and such a kind and fun aunt to my children, I could hardly wait for the day that she gets married and has children of her own. Each day she would come to our house and carpool with Tyler to work. Several days a week she would stay and eat dinner with us and play with the kids. Spencer was 5, Austin was 3, and Hailey was 1. She was always such a kind and loving aunt. Here is a picture of her on Spencer's John Deere tricycle with the three kids. Besides my sister she is one of my best friends. I loved when she would visit us, and the kids did too. One day in May she said that she needed to talk to me. She seemed really stressed out and I felt quite a bit of concern for her. I know that she wanted to talk to me in person, but she ended up telling me over the phone one day. "Jen, I'm pregnant." I remember feeling shocked and in complete disbelief. I cried and It sounded like she was crying on the other end of the phone. The very first thing I thought was, you can keep it. From that point on I felt an un-imaginable amount of grief for her. I felt sad because all of the times that I have been pregnant, although they haven't always been planned, I was happy and excited. I greived in so many ways for her and how I thought she must be feeling. I told her if she kept the baby I would watch it while she worked. She said that she would probably put it up for adoption and that Mike, the father, didn't want to have anything to do with the baby. As a family we all decided to fast for her. I remember genuinely fasting for her and it was so hard......I felt so hungry. I remember putting a roast in the crock pot and all day long I could smell it cooking. I wanted to eat so badly but then I would focus on my sweet sister and keep going. I remember feeling peace, that everything would be okay. As time went on Leslie and Mike met with LDS social services. Leslie started looking at family profiles to find a family for her baby. At one point she mentioned that I could adopt her baby, and as much as I wanted to, it just didn't seem like the right decision. I remembered how I struggled to have my first baby and how much I wanted him. Leslie looked at family profiles to find the right one. Her counselor tried to persuade her for one family, but she only found one family that she liked, Ryan and Sherry. None of us really wanted her to give her baby up. We all knew that she had the financial means and ability to take care of her baby. However, she knew that he would need something that she couldn't provide that sweet boy, a home with a mom and dad. Around this time Tyler and I had decided that we wanted to move to Idaho and raise our children on the farm. It was hard for me to think of moving away from the city, but I really wanted to do what was best for our kids. I also ordered a lot more online by that point in our lives so I knew that if there was something I really needed I could get it on the internet. When we listed our house for Sale, the first people that came through and looked at it bought it. It really was a beautiful home, and I home that I put everything I had into making it mine! We only had about a month to move and Tyler had planned to work for Natures Sunshine for another 4 months. At first I thought we could just rent another home in our area, but the more that I thought and prayed about things, I felt like we needed to move in with Leslie. We packed up our home and put the majority of it in storage and in her garage, since the storage unit I rented was too small. It wasn't easy living with Leslie, I was constantly worried that my kids were going to mess her house up in some way and I know that she likes everything super clean and I worried that I wouldn't be able to keep it to her standard. I tried to plan some kind of activity on the weekends so that we weren't constantly under her feet and in her way. I really knew that moving in with Leslie was the right thing to do and several years later she confirmed as I read what she had written in her blog. LESLIE: " About the time I felt so utterly hopeless, my sister and her husband sold their house. They needed somewhere to live, so they moved in with me. Jenny, Tyler, and their three kids were my light in the dark world. If she hadn’t moved in with me, I am not sure I would’ve gotten through it. I still cried myself to sleep many nights, but at least I had someone who loved me and went to church with me. She even made me lunches. Jenny and her family were so great to have around. Her kids may have been loud, but they were so happy that they brought me joy. Hailey a tiny little girl and wasn’t even two yet. I turned into her favorite person. When she was sad or in trouble, it didn’t matter where I was, she’d come looking for me because she knew I would pick her up and love her. When my sister and her husband got their family picture taken, Spencer was upset because I wasn’t in in and I was "part of their family too". Little kids are wonderful in that they don’t judge. I think that is part of the reason we are supposed to be like a little child. They love unconditionaly and they forgive so quickly." Leslie was due at the beginning of February with Jared. We ended up moving about a week before Jared was born. However I told Leslie that I would come down when she was in Labor. I wanted to meet the nefew that I feard I would never see again. Leslie went about a week overdue and then she was induced. Once the induction began I headed to Utah with my three little ones. I know one of my sister Bridget (thanks Bridget) watched my kids so that I could go to the hospital to be with Leslie. It seemed to be taking forever for her to push the baby out. I remember trying to give her advice on how to push better (now in hindsight I think how annoying this must have been....sorry Les). Eventually the doctor was able to pull the baby out with a lot of cutting and forceps. He was the biggest new born I had ever seen, Jared weighed 11 pounds 2 ounces! Before Leslie had him I had considered myself kind of a martyr for having a nine pound baby. I told her she could keep the biggest baby award for herself though. After Leslie went through all of this I worried that she might be so broken that she would never want to have another relationship. Many nights I prayed for her to find someone. I might have even looked on some online websites to help her find someone. She refused to look online for someone......in hindsight I can also see why. Leslie was such a good Aunt to my children and a good sister to me. She even went on quite a few of our family vacations with us. I loved it! It was like having one of my best friends that I could hang out with. She was also so helpful with the kids! Some of the kids best memories are with Leslie on our vacation. With every part of my soul I hoped for her to find someone to love and for her to be a mother! Many nights I prayed and cried for my sweet sister.