We’ve always called Harper our redemption baby.
I found out I was pregnant with her four days after I discovered Chris had been a drug addict for years. We were newly separated, and I was leaning pretty heavily on divorcing him when a positive pregnancy test stopped me in my tracks.
The baby we had been trying for showed up. At the worst possible time.
In the aftermath of Chris’ confessions, I was in shock and full of anger. I couldn’t see–four days out–how I could ever trust him or love him the same way again.
But being pregnant slowed down a lot of things. It slowed down my plans to call a divorce attorney. It slowed down plans of moving Chris out of the house, not just temporarily, but permanently.
Harper Kimery changed the game for us.
Being pregnant with another Chris Graham baby made me tender and gentle in a way I probably wouldn’t have been if my hormones weren’t getting ready to form another life. I can see now–all these years later–how God was perfect in his plan. He knew long before I did our marriage was going to hit some turbulence and I’d need something big to make me stay.
Because truthfully, if it wasn’t for that little blue line on the pregnancy test, I’m not sure I would have had the stamina to ride out the storm; to get through some really difficult days and weeks and years; to get to the bright side again; to get to the even-better-than-before part.
God knew exactly what he was doing when he threw more chaos into my already-crumbling life. What I felt was a cruel joke was actually a loving God knowing me better than I knew myself and taking care of things so much better than I could have.
So today, on Harper’s fifth birthday, I look at her not only with eyes proud of who she is and who she is becoming, but also thankful ones. She held so much power with her appearance, more than she’ll ever know.
Chris coined the term “redemption baby” a long time ago, when we were still tender and bruised, not sure how to proceed, but wanting to try and do it together. We learned how to be married again–differently–as she grew in my belly and we planned our life around outpatient rehab five nights a week.
With Ellie, I birthed the girl version of Chris. There is no mistaking they are related. If you ever wanted to know what my husband looked like as a girl (something I pondered often, of course…), it is Elliott Quinn. But with Harper, she is mine, all mine. She has my blonde hair, my big cheeks, my thick body. She has a sense of humor well past her five years of life. She recognized comedy and the thrill of making others laugh very early on. She is ornery, kind, and has the best facial expressions. She loves superheros, dresses, and bread. Lots of bread.
She is, even at five, paving her own way.
I want to be her when I grow up.
Things changed in our house when Harper Kimery Graham announced her presence. I often regret the way we found out she was coming, with a hushed announcement and embarrassment because it was such bad timing. I’m pregnant was met with looks of concern and worry. There was no great celebration or fun Pinterest-reveal. Chris and I told our respective families by ourselves as we were not living together or doing anything together. He would come to play with Ellie some nights after work and I would sit at the computer working, disengaged from him in every sense of the way.
What started out as just another tragic layer to a messy story, has turned into one of the best things in our lives.
Harper Kimery: your influence on this world was mighty before you took your first breath. I can not wait to see what God does with you. I have a feeling this is just the beginning.