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This is a reprise of an earlier post written the year Dawn turned 40.  It is now 2 years later so you can do the math!  At that time, she had one little boy.  Now she has two adorable little ones: Stevie-3 1/2 and Anabella-1. 

photo: steve sparks

photo: steve sparks

Wow!  The time has flown by…and you are now 40 years old.  I am in shock.  It is one thing to turn 40…or even 50 or 60.  It is quite another to be the parent of someone who is turning 40 (or more!).


It is hard to believe that all those years ago, I was afraid I would never be a mother…to a child related to me by blood!

Our first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 8 weeks.  My sister and I had nearly identical due dates.  It was a crushing blow!  I hoped to be pregnant by the time her baby was born, but it was not to be.  I suspected I might be…and discovered soon enough that I was.  (Those were the days before fast and easy home pregnancy tests!)

The pregnancy went uneventfully by…until I woke up one morning with feet that were still swollen…unlike every other day.  Oh yes, I felt LOUSY!

I called the doctor, went in to see him and was plunked in the hospital.  The pregnancy was 8 months along.  The nurse in me was not afraid.  At 8 months, a baby would be viable…easily.  However, after about 10 days in the hospital, with most of the pre-eclampsia symptoms improving, the once-a-shift check of the fetal heart sound greeted the nurse with silence.


It was that sudden.  A further test was done to see if there was a glimmer of life…and a C-section might save it…not a beat was found.  All was silent except for my own heartbeat…which was pounding in anticipation of the result!

Fortunately, I went into labor the next day…enough that they were able to induce me and deliver our first daughter.  We hadn’t even agreed on a name by then.  We lost our motivation once she died.

Those were the days when stillborn babies weren’t shown to their parents.  I thought I must be a freak to want to see mine…but I stayed meekly silent…no waves…no ripples…keep the peace.  After 8 months of carrying her, I never saw her little face.  To this day, it bugs me!  I’m so glad the medical community has gotten wiser in that respect.

“The truth will set you free!”  It may not be referring to this situation, but seeing the baby, no matter how deformed, helps deal with the truth: our baby is gone!  It is a very sad truth, but the truth just the same.  That was June 27, 1970.


But wait, this is a happy post!  Why?  Dawn Lyn Brady arrived almost a year later–June 24, 1971! (It was there for context…to show you why we were so delighted at her birth!)

I tried not to think about the fact that I was pregnant.  (Not easy.)   I was very busy.  We moved to Jamaica when I was about 4 months pregnant with Dawn.  Getting adjusted, settled in, used to life in another country in general and at the Jamaica Bible College specifically, all kept me very busy so I didn’t have much time to think about this new baby that I hoped would arrive safely.

When school finished for the year, we returned to the U.S. and Ft. Lauderdale where we had family and friends.  Fortunately, Dawn made her appearance before the morbid anniversary…10 days earlier than her due date.  I was not unhappy.  When I saw her, I was relieved and shocked to see that she was so healthy and alert.  (8# 3 oz.)

I didn’t want to be a smothery mom so held back a bit when she fell or did something that could injure her.  I didn’t want to be a freaky mom.  I wanted her to feel she had space to live and enjoy life..not feel hovered over by parents who finally had had a healthy child and felt the need to protect her themselves.  I’m sure that was an overreaction, but not an abnormal one.


Now I’m back to the comments to you Dawn. Over the years, you (along with your sisters) have given us many reasons to be proud.  We have also been pleased to see God’s work of grace in your life.  Ultimately, it has been His work in you that has delighted us most.  We have seen you rise to many challenges with grace, poise and maturity.  We are grateful for the work God did in you…but also that you were willing to make the choices you did.


When we moved to TX half-way through your junior year in high school: because of the requirements in the school in TX, it meant there was no chance you would be valedictorian in your class even if your grades held.  I know that was a loss.  It was an honor you had earned in the school you attended in FL and came close to earning in TX as well.  We discussed this with you before the move and you handled it well. (I’m not always certain of what that means, but you did it…without a lot of drama!)

As your sisters and friends were marrying, you were able to enjoy this event with them…joyfully.  I don’t think they had the feeling that they had to constantly comfort you or that you were miserable in your present situation.  You had learned to be joyful in your present situation in life at that time.


Each time as you returned to Kiev, Ukraine for either your short term or career term, you had a sister who got married.  Evidently, in June, the year you turned 36, you decided to pray for a husband.  (Earlier in life you had done this and found it to be counterproductive.  I get that!)

In July 2007 (the next month), Steve Sparks came to Kiev on a mission trip.  By September you were engaged and in April 2008, were married.  Fortunately, you learned to be content while single…to develop the gift of hospitality…to be active in your church…and develop friendships among single and married friends.  Now that you are married, apart from having a life-time roommate:) your life has a lot of similarities.


Congratulations on turning 40!  I know it is a great landmark.  For you, it means you have a delightful life…one you weren’t certain would ever be yours.  In a few months, you, Steve, and your little family will be starting a new chapter together…in Ukraine…for the next three years…as God wills.  Our love and prayers go with you all.