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Sunlight Burning at Midnight a memoir by Jessica Ronne


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Just some random, irrelevant, humorous, and hopefully inspiring musings on life, love, faith, widowhood, remarriage, adoption, blended families, caring for a handicapped child, mothering seven children, chickens, cooking, grief, over-coming grief, and everything else in between. Just Keep Livin!!

Are You Crazy?

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That question and another gem I’ve recently heard, “Why in the world would you have an 8th child?” both in response to the news I shared the other day.  98% of people who heard our news have been wonderful, joyful, sharing in the excitement but there is that small 2% who, as always, have their pleasantly strong opinions about it all. 

First, Yes, I’m sure we are a little crazy, Ryan and I have been a little crazy since the day we lost our late spouses to cancer, found love again quickly and unexpectedly with each other three months after their deaths, met for the first time in December of 2010, engaged to one another a month later and married in April of 2011 to combine my family of 5 with his family of 4 into one big, usually, happy family.  Top that off, his move to Michigan for two years and then discovering our dream house in the hills of Tennessee, praying about it for a year, taking a leap of faith, checking it out, falling in love with it, and uprooting everything we’ve ever known or loved for a grand new adventure we felt God calling us to, a fresh start of simplicity and love for one another.   So yes, we do crazy, we are crazy, we embrace crazy, so the rest of y’all (that whole 2%) just need to get the heck over it. 

I realize some people think they can influence how we live, maybe it’s because I put so much of our life out there to the world, maybe it’s because people are nosy, but here’s my news flash, nobody influences our decisions, only the good Lord above has that reserved role in our life.   You are obviously entitled to your opinion, but really, what’s done is done.  I’ve been made my views on eliminating babies very well known on this blog so obviously that’s not an option, we have created life, the deal is sealed.

Next, “Why in the world would you have an 8th child?”  The implications behind this comment are usually something like this, “How in the world are you going to give all of those children the love and attention they deserve?  How are you going to put all those kids through college? Don’t you ever want your lives back?” 

I have a firm belief that children do not need to grow up believing that they are the center of the universe and what better way to instill this concept than through multiple siblings.   I believe that my job as a parent is not even to raise good children.  I believe that my job as a parent is to raise successful, productive adults and in having this as the ultimate goal, my children had best learn that the world is full of all sorts of people with all sorts of talents and desires, and they need to incorporate early on skills such as cooperation, teamwork, and compromise, skills that make humanity work on the grandest scale, and they might as well get a head start on these concepts in their own home environment.  As for the love part of it all, that's just ridiculous.  As human beings we have a huge capacity to love, adding another child will in no way diminish my love for the others and in fact, I believe it will only ultimately strengthen our family bond.

Second, I put myself through college, why is the thought that a young adult should contribute for an education that will benefit their future such a foreign concept in today’s day and age?  I will not bankrupt myself to put my children through college, I will not refinance my house to do this, I will not dig into our retirement funds for this.  I truly hope we can help each child through college, but I don’t lose any sleep over crunching these numbers.  I grew up as the oldest of 12 kids, 9 of us have put ourselves through college, in that number there are two attorneys, one Physician Assistant, one English person who has been in school forever (yours truly), a teacher, a director of finance for a major corporation, and three business people. 

Finally, don’t you want your lives back??  This is a true gem of a question. This is our life, I’m living it, I’m not waiting as so many do for life to begin when I get married, when I have a child, when my children go to school, or when my children leave the home, this is the journey, this is it, live it, be it, enjoy it, and honestly, I think I’ll be really bored when all of my children finally fly the coop, which they probably will do very easily and early if we do our job correctly by raising strong, independent adults. 

Rant over.

Initially Ryan and I had absolutely zip, zero, zilch aspirations to ever have a child together. Part of the reasoning was this idea of a “glory child” a Joseph baby, the only child  who would have the original mom and dad, the only child who did not share in the history of the others with the death of a parent.   I was completely done having children in my first marriage and when Ryan and I came together we recognized that 7 children was a big number, and not only 7 children, but a severely handicapped child who was part of that equation, and we took concrete steps to remove the possibility of us conceiving a child together.  One year of marriage went by and we started to adjust.  Second year, life got easier as the little ones got older.  Some around me were having babies and I would jokingly harass my husband every time I held one of these babies by wishfully saying, “Honey…….. we should have a baby….” knowing that it was not even in the realm of possibility until one day, after I uttered those words, “Honey….. we should have a baby” he took my head gently into his hands, looked me square in the eyes and said, “ I ALWAYS wanted to have a baby with you.”

What?? Seriously?  But we have SEVEN children!

That’s what it always came back to, BUT WE HAVE SEVEN CHILDREN!  WHY WOULD WE VOLUNTARILY ADD TO THAT GINORMOUS NUMBER?  That would be straight up craziness in all universes.    

But we prayed about it.  We talked about it.  And in the end we decided we would leave it in God’s hands.  I’ve never regretted a child; I’ve regretted the pregnancies big time, but never a child.  I wanted the experience with my husband, the man I’ve promised to love, honor, and cherish until my dying day, I wanted what most women want, I wanted to experience the precious gift of life with the man I love.  I believe we regret the things we never do or never try to do.  At this point in life our family is a well-oiled machine.  Luke’s private duty has helped immensely, our children are all pretty independent, Josh and Jada will be in school next year, so one more child at this point just seemed to make sense, and if it doesn’t, oh well, we’ll go with it because what’s done is done, the deal is sealed.

This video seems to sum up our attitude about so many things, when you’ve only got one chance, and that’s all of us have at this thing called life.   We intend to suck up every single opportunity, experience, joy and sorrow until our dying days, no regrets, because we are slightly crazy and proud of it.

Just keep livin!! 

Tagged in: faith life parenting
  • Guest
    Nicole Sunday, November 24, 2013

    When I saw the pics of the kids it took me a minute to process and then I was like....How COOL!!! As always people think they know best...and want to share it:) I have 4 boys and would have had husband didn't share my dream.heehee(and no I was not just trying to have a girl) But thankfully he is listening to the Lord and we are in the process of becoming foster parents.....Imagine the advice/comments you get on that one.....People think we are truly CRAZY.....I like you kinda like being crazy:) Enjoy!!! Will be praying for your pregnancy!!

  • Guest
    Connie Hicks Thursday, November 21, 2013

    Both of you are blessed to have each other and a beautiful family! I know Ryans parents and Kaci's family.

  • Guest
    Rochelle Thursday, November 21, 2013

    Love this post!!! We have 5 boys & we always get the comments & "looks" that we must be crazy. But our boys are a riot & they are our life!! We would have it no other way :)

  • Guest
    Chris Hoekwater Hollys friend Thursday, November 21, 2013

    Jessica and Ryan and famiy. What a wonderful blessing.!!! I am so happy for all of you. Keep following the Great Leader.!!!

  • Jessica Ronne
    Jessica Ronne Thursday, November 21, 2013

    Thank you Chris, we can't wait!

  • Guest
    Barbara Van Duyn Zylstra Thursday, November 21, 2013

    This gave me chills! Thanks for sharing this with us! (I took a couple of classes with you at Calvin...also an English person, and I've been enthralled with your blog ever since I stumbled upon it.) Keep up the good work! You are definitely an inspiring woman of God!

  • Jessica Ronne
    Jessica Ronne Thursday, November 21, 2013

    Your name rings a bell, what classes did we take together? Thanks for reading!

  • Guest
    Barbara Van Duyn Zylstra Thursday, November 21, 2013

    I'm not sure which classes they were...Did you take Afro-American history with Jelks? I think it may have been that class.

  • Jessica Ronne
    Jessica Ronne Thursday, November 21, 2013

    I did take that class, cool! Small world :-)

  • Guest
    Kim Thursday, November 21, 2013

    Oh my word! I just cried. How beautiful :-) Congratulations!

  • Guest
    Jessica R Thursday, November 21, 2013

    From one Jessica to another: You, Ryan, and your family are just wonderful. You continue to amaze and inspire me, even though i've never met you. God bless you for not listening to the naysayers. Congrats to you all on this exciting time in your life. Sending prayers for a peaceful, safe pregnancy.

  • Jessica Ronne
    Jessica Ronne Thursday, November 21, 2013

    Thank you, we are beyond excited!

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