the sweetest surprise

A few days back, Adelynn and I were rummaging through some old books when I came across a floral journal that I hardly even remember owning.  I sat down, and began flipping through it and instantly realized what it was.  Words.  Emotions.  Excitement. Uncertainty.  Panic.  All spilled out onto those pages.  I rarely write in a journal, but there have been times in my life that I have felt compelled to.. and this was definitely one of them.  Flipping through those pages I quickly realized that I had not only found an abandoned journal, I had found an abandoned me.


Much of my life has been unplanned.  I didn’t plan on college not working out, moving to an island, or cosmetology school.  I didn’t plan on falling in love or then on getting pregnant when I was twenty one, still in school, and very recently single.  There I was, living on my own in Chapel Hill, NC, attending cosmetology school, and spending every ounce of my spare time with my long-distance boyfriend.  Our love was simple.  We took random roadtrips to the coast, had a silly folder of recipes we loved to make, and believed firmly in couch-potato Sundays.  He made me laugh, and I didn’t need much more.  As my time in Chapel Hill drew to a close, things started to seem more complicated.  The distance was getting old, and I felt turmoil in myself that I could not put my finger on.  So I ended things with Josh.  Meanwhile, I started feeling very “off”, and then, a day late on my period, decided to take a pregnancy test.

Those first few days were a complete blur.  An unplanned pregnancy is the strangest mix of emotions.  To be terrified, calm, uncertain and elated all at one time is quite a bit to take in.  Josh was strictly informed (screamed at) to give me some space, and I remember pacing in my living room for what felt like, and probably was, hours.  Where to even begin?  Who do you tell?  Our answer was someone that would be supportive, because that was all we could bear to hear at that moment.  Things will be okay.  Not all of those phone calls were happy ones.  Disappointment rang loud and clear in some, and the words “I’m not ready for you to be over” slipped from one of my very closest friends lips.

Those words lingered in my mind and had a larger impact on me than I am sure she intended.  In fact, I am positive I took them completely out of context.  Is that what having a baby means?  You have to be over?..  True to form, I took those words as a challenge.  I didn’t just want to be a good mom, I wanted to be an example of how full and happy life can be for this little babe.  Life is not over.  It is just beginning.


Josh and I decided that our relationship was worth the effort, and today I can not imagine things any other way.  The girl on those pages had not yet made the decisions that have so greatly impacted our lives today, and she had not yet felt the pure love of giving life to another.  The realization of the things that matter, and the things that don’t.
I knew that becoming a mother would change me, I just had no idea how much.  In the past two years I have figured out more about myself than the combined twenty one that came before her.  Has it been easy?  No.  But the laughter that rings off of our walls is genuine, and there is no where else in the world I would rather be than on this adventure.



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13 Responses to the sweetest surprise

  1. Katie Gilliland says:

    Shannon and Brandy,

    I love reading this blog and have since the first post. This was such a genuine and well written post. I feel like I am getting to know you more each time you post. You have a beautiful family. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding.

    • prettyplainjanes says:

      Thank you so much Katie! Your kind words mean more than you know. Thank you for following us in this journey!!

  2. Erin says:

    I can relate to this post so very much, right down to the journal 🙂
    While I’ve been mom AND dad much of the time, I still wouldn’t have changed it for the world. We don’t just shape our children; they shape us too. Just think, and it only gets better. 🙂

  3. Kim says:

    It takes such bravery to put thoughts like this out into the world for others to see……this was such a moving post!! Thank you for this, it was lovely to read and brought a tear to my eye! You are a great writer!

  4. Crystal Cully says:

    Such an inspiring story! Life rarely takes us where we think it will, but adversity just adds new pages to our story of life 🙂

    • prettyplainjanes says:

      I couldn’t agree more! I have always been a “fly by the seat of my pants” girl, and I’m okay with that! 🙂

  5. mom says:

    You have come along way and have learned so much in such a short time. Motherhood is like nothing else you can imagine, and a whole new part of life you will always treasure. You made her , you mold her , and you let her grow into a beautiful being! I love each one of you more then life and will always be here for you, becauce I am your Mother……………………..

  6. Sticky says:

    We’re all so happy you’re on this adventure, too. Loved reading this post, Shan! Thanks for sharing.

  7. james maxey says:

    as the father of your future husband i could not be happier and more Bless than to be allowed to call you my daughter inlaw . God Bless and TONS of love . Dad
    ( can’t see through my tears )

  8. Aunt Sandy says:

    Wow Shannon, I am sitting here crying too, you blow me away. I salute all that you are, I am so very proud of you – you are such an inspiring, amazing, competent woman, mother – and soon we will add “wife” to that list. I just wish Jaime could have made the choices you made and not the ones she made, I might still have her. I don’t know how it went so wrong. This is such a neat thing you are doing – it’s like having a window into your soul, your life, and your heart. Kudos honey, I love you!

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