In the spring of 1992 when Jerod and Nathan were 6 and 4 years old respectively, Libby and I felt like we were just getting comfortable in our roles as parents when Libby surprised us all by announcing that she was pregnant. We felt as if our lives couldn’t get much better; our business was growing, our family was growing and although both of our boys were thrilled with the news, Jerod was especially excited about having a baby brother or sister, he even made plans for the baby to share his and Nathan’s room, telling his mom that he could take care of the baby anytime and would babysit without having to be paid.
When we found out later that we were going to have our first girl we immediately began thinking of names, eventually settling on a combination of Libby’s first name Adah and my middle name Lynn, using the spelling Adalynn .
We were living in an older two bedroom house with a lot of history and charm which, until now, suited us perfectly, besides Libby loved the old hardwood floors and plaster arched doorways. The drawbacks to the house were it’s close proximity to the highway and of course the two bedrooms. I began immediately drawing up plans to add another bathroom and bedroom to accommodate Adalynn. The boys helped me layout the addition in the back yard using white chalk on the ground to show the new rooms locations but they were a little less excited about their new sister when they realized that the addition to the house would encroach on their play area, sand box and tree house.
About the time we were ready to start the addition my mom told us about a friend of hers who was going to sell their house with four bedrooms and two baths surrounded by twenty acres of land. We decided to go look at the house with its huge front yard, basement, barn and woods for the boys to play in. I fell in love with the place, Libby on the other hand, was not thrilled about all of the work that would be needed to make the log house into her home.
I had mixed emotions about selling and moving as I weighed the options of staying in our current home and having to add-on versus moving into a new place. I knew that Libby wasn’t thrilled to leave her dream house and start over decorating but she wanted the best thing for the family. A few days later we were still both on the fence about making the move, weighing all of the options when, in an instant, our little world was rocked.
Libby began having a lot of problems one morning after I had left for work and she called to tell me that she thought she had lost the baby. I was nearly an hour away when Libby called so she called my mom to take her to the doctor. I told her that I would leave immediately and meet her at the doctor’s office. As Libby waited to go to the doctor the boys asked why she was crying so she decided to tell them what had happened. Nathan was a little too young to comprehend everything that was going on but Jerod was visibly shaken by the news and seemed very upset.
Libby told me later that the scene in our home that morning was chaotic as she was trying to get ready to go to the doctor while answering phone calls from concerned family and friends and that’s when she got THE CALL. Our elderly neighbor phoned to say that she had just seen two little boys walking hand in hand down Highway 193 which ran in front of our house and they looked like our boys. Libby was heart sick, she dropped the phone, ran out the front door and soon found Jerod and Nathan across the street in our neighbor’s yard walking away from our house.
As she approached them on her side of the highway Libby’s biggest fear was that the boys would see her and try to come back across the busy highway, so with her heart up in her throat, she walked parallel to them and calmly asked, “Where are you guys going?” Jerod answered that they were going to Helen’s house. “Why?” Libby asked, “We are running away from home because we are not getting a sister anymore” Jerod responded. As the cars flew by between them Libby said, “Jerod, I am proud of you for being such a good big brother by holding Nathan’s hand.” Jerod swelled with pride and responded, “I’ll protect him, I had to help him across the street because he is too little to do it by himself…” Now that Libby knew the boys were not going to panic she said, “Stay right there and I will come over and walk with you”. So, ironically, as Jerod warned his mom to be careful crossing the street, Libby crossed the busy highway and broke into tears as she scooped up her boys. Libby said later that all of the pent up emotion from all of the morning’s events came out in a rush of tears and hugs and she couldn’t help but think that it was only by God’s grace that she didn’t loose three children in one day.
That evening after the traumatic and heart wrenching events of the day Libby said to me, “Do whatever you have to do to buy that house, its a long way off of the road and right now nothing else matters”. After some discussions with the homeowners, which felt more like an adoption than a negotiation for a house, we set a closing date. In the negotiation I did ask for an unusual favor prior to closing, which they granted.
So on a warm spring afternoon in 1992, beneath vividly white dogwoods blooms, we buried the tiny remains of Adalyn Elizabeth Gilley on the property that would soon be ours.