GIVING JULIA BACK – WEEK 22

Holding our Julia Grace at the hospital

Dedicated to my wife, who amazes me everyday with her bravery, integrity and faith …and to the little girl who has changed my world with no words at all.

I’m sorry for the delay in between my last two posts.  Going back over and proofreading my journal has really been tougher on me than I expected…but it’s important for me to share this with you, because even throughout this painful ordeal, I have learned first hand that God is good all the time.

JULY 25, 1:00 am FERRARA, ITALY

FERRARA, ITALY

Last week my life felt as if it came to a sudden halt with the news of our baby, but today I am learning that the world keeps on turning regardless.  One second I’m in Abilene, Texas, surrounded by family and friends, and the next I find myself a world away walking the streets in Madrid, Spain.  What an odd and surreal feeling.  After an afternoon of sight seeing in Spain, we hopped on a plane to Bologna, Italy and took a van to my friend Max’s family restaurant in Ferrara, Italy.  After a long day of traveling and airline food, a nice home style, authentic Italian dinner really hit the spot.

PICTURES DON'T DO IT JUSTICE

The food was unbelievable, indescribable and so was the atmosphere and hospitality.  It was by far the most incredible dining experience that I have ever had.  Needless to say, I will never be able to enjoy Olive Garden again!   It was so good that I took all the dishes to the kitchen and began washing them.  You know it was just that good when a guy that hates doing dishes jumps up and volunteers.

THE CASTLE

The hotel where I am staying is phenomenal as well and just happens to be across the street from a castle.  Yes, at this very moment, I am looking out my window at an actual castle with a moat, a draw bridge and all!  I keep thinking to myself, “I wish Kimberly were here to see all this.”  And then it hits me and I realize that even the 7 wonders of the world couldn’t distract her from the shattered condition of her heart.  Even for me, I walk around with a heavy sadness inside.  The last thing I want to do right now is get up on stage, sing, and smile.  Just a few days ago we found out that we are going to lose our Julia Grace.  I still can’t believe this is happening!  Just two weeks ago Kimberly and I were talking about how fun our Christmas cards would be having all four kids, but now the Doctors are saying that will never happen.  How will I manage to stay focused enough to play these shows?  I’ve prayed for strength before, but never like this.  Help me Lord.

JULY 27, STILL IN ITALYVICENZA

Today I sat in a little park area watching a dad play with his two young daughters.  One little girl was around 4 years old and the other looked to be around 2, which is the same age difference between Jolee Kate and Julia Grace.  These two little girls were precious, laughing, screaming in Italian and having tons of fun.  Watching them was bittersweet knowing that Jolee Kate will never get to experience that with her little sister, Julia.

I JUST CAN'T GET ENOUGH!

I know I should be nothing but excited to be in Europe.  After all, most people would consider this to be the vacation of a lifetime. On top of that I am actually getting paid to be here, but I can’t help the way I feel.  Right now I’m missing my family as if I’ve been gone for over a year.  I may be in Italy but my heart is definitely back home in Texas with my wife and kids.  I am especially aching to see my princess, Jolee Kate.  I have been holding her even closer as of late, realizing that I will not get this opportunity with Julia Grace. There are so many images that flash through my mind of things that I will never get to experience with Julia.  Missing out on all those sweet hugs and kisses, from helping her learn to walk, to walking her down the isle, and the list goes on and on and on.  Even the little insignificant everyday things that I so often take for granted, like tucking her into bed.

ONE OF THE NICKNAMES HER DADDY GAVE HER IS "GORGEOUS"

To say that I pamper my girls is a huge understatement!  Here’s an example of the “night night routine” that I go through with Jolee Kate every evening when I put her to bed.  First, I change her into her cute little pajamas, which is mandatory according to Kimberly.  Together, Jolee Kate and I turn on the humidifier and push play on the CD player.  I dim the lights in her room and we dance to her lullaby music.  I swing her around and around and she laughs, squeals, sings and clings tightly to her daddy’s neck.  After a few songs, we sit down and I rock her for while.  We cuddle, she jibber jabbers, and if I’m lucky, she might give her daddy some sugar.  I’ve noticed a trend that she usually kisses on me after I have recently shaved.  I guess like her momma, she’s not a fan of daddy’s sandpaper, scruffy face.  When she’s through with the rocking, she’ll reach for her baby bed.  At that time, I will get up and gently lay her in bed on her tummy.  For what ever reason, she has to have 3 packies (pacifier, binky, whatever you wanna call it), one in her mouth, one in her left hand, and one in her right.  As she lies in the bed she starts to giggle in anticipation of what is fixing to happen.  I then, as she suspects, tickle that little girl from head to toe and she laughs so hard she can hardly stand it.  I finish the evening with a goodnight prayer and give her a little massage and run my fingers through her hair to help settle her down.  Once she seems to be almost asleep, I bend over the rail of the baby bed and kiss her soft, warm cheek.  As I walk out of the room, I say, “Goodnight baby girl”, and she says, “Night night my da-e”.

WALKING LESSONS FROM DADDY!

I am head over heals in love and infatuated with this little girl, which I’m sure makes my wife a little jealous at times.  I’m wrapped so tightly around her little finger that I can barely breathe.  Seriously, I’ve got it bad.  Little Miss attitude has even slapped me a few times and I couldn’t help but find even that adorable (I’m sure I may feel a little differently if she does that when she is 16).  She’s not even 2 and already I’m disgusted thinking about some boy trying to kiss her someday.  Ughh!  I know how I was back then, how I still am now, and oh, how I dread the day.  But I’ve got a solid game plan for the first 18 years for sure.  I figure that between her big brothers and I, we will run off anything and everything that tries to get sweet with our little sweetheart, Jolee Kate.  Now, how frustrated is she going to be with us someday?!

THE WATSON BOYS LOVE LITTLE SISTER

She’ll be the prettiest girl at school that can’t get a date, no matter what!  Teenage boys in all surrounding counties will fear the wrath of her daddy and big brothers, Jake and Jack.  But the sad truth for all of us “little girl Daddy’s” is that we are fighting a war we can’t win: eventually someday she will fall in love with some other man besides me (I hope I can hold her off till she is 30!).  I’m trying to be the best daddy and husband I can be.  I fall short frequently, but I’m aiming to set the bar so high, it will almost be unachievable for any young man to reach my standards.  The young man will have to be top notch in every way because my baby girl won’t settle for anything average.  Every night when I say my little prayers with Jolee Kate,  I also pray for that young man that she’ll marry someday, wherever he is, whoever he is, who is probably only two or three years old right now.

BIG BROTHERS HOLDING JOLEE KATE

I pray that his parents raise him right so that he will be worthy of my little princess’ hand.  Now with all that said, regardless of how good a guy he is, he’s got his work cut out for him.  I don’t care if he’s going to college to be a preacher, for crying out loud!  The Watson boys will always be waiting and watching, and if he isn’t up to par, then he won’t be around for long.

I’m a ROCK STAR in EUROPE in case you didn’t know! Haha!

So I was really struggling with the thought of getting on stage and performing.  My heart wasn’t into it and my mind was cluttered with distractions.  I was also a little worried that we would come all this way and wouldn’t have anyone show up for our shows.  Wouldn’t that be embarrassing!  But like He always has and always will, the good Lord took care of me.

VICENZA, ITALY

I walked into the venue of our first ever European show in Vicenza, Italy for a sound check.  It was a very nice venue called the Crazy Bull.  I hadn’t been there for ten minutes when this beautiful Italian girl saw me and instantly became ecstatic.  She was smiling with tears in her eyes so I gave her a big hug like we were old friends who hadn’t seen each other forever.  She was so sweet.  She said she had been listening to my songs for years and couldn’t believe tonight she was actually going to

ROAD TO FRANCE - EDGE OF ALPS

hear my songs live for the very first time.  I was totally flattered and floored by her excitement.  As far as I was concerned, if she was the only one at my show then it would still be well worth the long trip.  Luckily for the promoter, the show that night was packed and the crowd was fired up.  I was so jazzed about the turn out that I was on my last song before I remembered all my worries.  I had prayed that God would see me through my struggles and he did.  After signing autographs and taking pictures for nearly two hours, I went back to the hotel for a 3 hour nap before we loaded up for the 8 hour drive to France.  What a beautiful drive!  There’s nothing quite like staring at the Swiss Alps on your way from Italy to France.  That was really something for a West Texas boy to see!

THE HONKY TONK KID INVADES FRANCE!

LE PUY EN VELAY, FRANCE

The Honky Tonk KId invades France!  Ok, I’m not going to lie.  I’ve heard all the “Frenchie” rumors about how they can’t stand Americans etc., etc.  I was preparing myself for the worst and I couldn’t have been more WRONG!  The little town of Le Puy was amazing.  Not to mention, Le Puy is the hometown of Lafayette, the French nobleman who came to America’s aid during the Revolutionary War.  Le Puy loved us and we loved Le Puy right back.  We stayed in Le Puy for three wonderful days before we played the 24th Annual Country Rendez-Vous Festival a few miles away in the small town of Crappone.  The Country Rendez-Vous Festival, which rivals huge festivals back home in Texas, was amazing!  The crowds were huge and I was completely taken back by their love for old school country music.  The entire time I was singing, I kept thinking, “How in the world do all these people know the words to my songs?”   It was unforgettable!

ON STAGE IN FRANCE!

There was a press conference that afternoon before our show.  It was probably one of the biggest press conferences I have ever done.  There were journalists from all over Europe.  It was very impressive.  I sat there and answered question after question after question and my interpreter would repeat all my responses in French.  At the end of the press conference, a man raised his hand and spoke up with surprisingly good English.  He said, “Mr. Watson, I have been a fan of your music for nearly a decade now and have always appreciated how hard you tour year after year and how you put out records like clock work.”  I answered with a “Wow, thank you, Sir!”  He replied, “With that being said, I hear how you always give God all the credit for your successes.  Don’t you think the credit belongs to you, Mr. Watson for all your hard work and persistence?’  I said, “Sir, that is a fantastic question!”  I said,” Well, I can’t deny that I have worked my rear off for the last decade and from the outside looking in, it may appear that I deserve more credit than what I give myself.  But that is certainly not the case.  In the beginning, not so long ago, I was a broke college kid, living in a rundown gas station, surviving day to day with never more than $20 in my pocket.  An average country boy and a Mexican guitar…it’s a minor miracle I’ve even made it this far.”  As I reflect on all the different stages of my career, it is obvious to me that God was strategically involved every step of the way.  As one door closed another door would open.  I also witnessed an immediate change in my career once I began singing for Jesus rather than for myself and that was no coincidence.  The truth of the matter is that without Jesus, I’m just another incredibly average honky tonk singer with average songs, an average show.  Without Jesus there is nothing special or unique about me.  But with HIM in my corner, you’d better watch out!  I have faith that can move mountains so you never know where God may take me and this old guitar.  I’ve never had a major record label or fortune five hundred family to support me; I simply have an amazing God and I am where I am today because he has blessed me.  I’m not sure what God has planned for the rest of my career.  Maybe I’ll sell out stadiums someday or maybe my singing career will fizzle out.  Regardless of where I am or what I’m doing, I will give God the glory.  The journalist smiled with the earful that I gave him.  He actually came up to me later that evening and thanked me for my response and music and said that he would be a fan for life.  I thanked him for his question and his unwavering support!

COUNTRY RENDEZVOUS FESTIVAL IN CRAPONNE

I want to encourage all of you to hand your lives, careers, and families over to God.  Give God the glory, give Him your very best, put your trust in Him and then sit back and see the blessings you will experience.  Ok, I don’t just encourage you to do so, I double dog dare you!  I’m not saying God will send the Publishers Clearing House people to your front door; I’m saying keep your eyes and heart wide open so that you’ll see the difference that He will make in your life.  Maybe you feel hopeless.  Maybe you feel like a lost cause, as if you have the deck stacked against you…well, that’s not a bad thing!  Throughout the entire Bible, there are Cinderella stories of people doing the impossible with a little help from above.  God loves the underdog!  God loves you!

JULY 28TH A LITTLE SISTER FROM KIMBERLY’S BLOG

JOLEE KATE'S NEW SUNGLASSES

Just thought I’d post a picture of big sister Jolee Kate in her new sunglasses I picked up for her the other day while getting the boys some new undies.  Isn’t she cute?  I have realized this past week that I get emotional at times when I think of Jolee Kate and how full of life she is, and I just want so badly for Julia Grace to join our family as a tiny little perfect baby that will live and thrive just like her big sister.  I look at her clothes, and long to see Julia Grace in them.  I watch her love on her baby dolls and want so badly to experience her being a big sister in the way that she should.  Each morning when we walk in to get her out of her crib, I tear up because I realize it isn’t going to be like this.  Unfortunately, as much as I desire it, Julia Grace won’t be my little girl sitting on the kitchen floor playing with tupperware and singing her ABC’s like her big sister was this morning.  I guess it’s just hard to accept.

I know some people would say, “Well, this is just God’s plans” but to be honest with you, I get tired of hearing that, ya know?  Yes, I believe God has a plan, but I don’t believe God causes pain.  And the past 10 days have been pain. Lots of it.  I do believe and pray for His Will to be done, but to me, Julia Grace’s condition is just an unfortunate part of the natural course of life.  Trisomy 18 happens before conception (which is so hard for me to even fathom), and it is a fluke.  And it stinks.  Completely stinks.  But I do not believe God “causes” things like these…he simply allows them to happen because it’s just part of life.  Does that make sense?  Anyhow, I just want to state that for the record so that I can look back and remember how I felt, because in no way am I angry at God.  I realize that some people in our shoes would be mad at God, but luckily I look at this differently.  Am I sad?  Yes.  Heartbroken?  Yes. Completely devastated?  Yes.  But God will walk with me on this journey; He promises He will never leave me.  I just need to remember to hold on to His hand and look to Him for my strength because what lies ahead for us is not going to be easy.

JULY 29 BLESSED BY OTHERS FROM KIMBERLY’S BLOG

Touched.  Very touched by the way our friends and family, and even complete strangers, have reached out to support us, to pray for us, love on us, run errands for us, bring meals for us, care for our kids for us, you name it.  We have been so blessed.  And I have no doubt as we continue through this journey, the outpouring of love will continue.  And I am so thankful.  Makes me wonder how people who are not Christians survive the hard times?  What would I do without those that love us and care for us because of CHRIST?  So here I am, exhausted, scared, sad, devastated, broken hearted, feeling defeated in every which way, but yet, feeling thankful for those in my life.  So thank you.

However, I also have learned that this is going to be hard at times.  Realizing people are lending a helping hand, or a shoulder to cry on, is because of their concern for us and the fact that we are carrying a baby that is not going to make it.  Not being a downer, just fact of the matter.  Our baby is “incompatible with life.”  I can not even begin to explain how much those words have haunted me over the past week and a half.  Our precious baby girl, our little Julia Grace, despite all of our hopes and dreams for her, can not medically survive.  It hurts me to the core.

 This week, the cards started coming in already.  And that is when I guess you could say it “clicked’ that there are a lot more of these cards that will most likely make their way to us over the coming weeks and months.  Again, I am thankful for them, I truly am.  It just caught me off guard because it was one of those things I hadn’t even considered, and then I imagined all the things to come.  And I just broke down.

It was so overwhelming to me to realize how many people are already praying for us.  We have received a dozen cards in just a few short days, and 3 cards from people we have never met.  And the few times we have been out and about since we were told “the news,” we have had strangers just stop and smile, or gently grab our arm and say they have been thinking of us and praying for us.  I know things spread like wildfire, and then take into account Aaron’s career and the popularity that it has brought, and we have what seems like all of Texas praying for us.  But it is touching, I tell you.  Humbling, and overwhelming, and extremely touching.

I WILL CARRY YOU JULIA

Today I received a book in the mail called “I Will Carry You”.  Addressed to “The Watson Family, c/o Orphans Entertainment” and it was sent to our business PO Box.  Forget the fact that I had just ordered the book the night before, some sweet fans from Arizona ordered this book for us, contacted Aaron’s management team for our address, and had it sent to us.

 Again, I was SO touched.  The book was written by Angie Smith whose husband is the singer for the Christian group, Selah.  Angie gave birth to a little girl with Trisomy 18 just like I will.  I have followed her blog for 3 years now, however I never had ordered the book.  But hello, “Why?  I wasn’t in her shoes?”  Oh, how I never would have imagined it, but here I am.  I am now fixing to start reading her book about carrying and then losing your precious baby because of Trisomy 18.  Go figure.  Who would of thought?  I do know that I will be blessed from reading it though.  Now to just find the time, and energy, with 3 little ones, being 6 months pregnant, and a husband that tours the country, and now the world.  😉  Ha!

            Anyhow, well, it is late, and I am getting wordy, not to mention that I need to get to bed so that I can be a good, halfway functioning mommy tomorrow, but so many of you have asked how I am doing.  And well, since I’ll never be able to respond to everyone on Facebook, or through emails, or texts, etc., I figured I’d use this blog, because after all, it’s our family scrapbook and this will give me records of how I felt from time to time.  So, to answer the question, considering the past week we’ve had, I’d say I am doing okay.  Monday and Tuesday of last week (July 17-18), I couldn’t stop the tears from falling; I literally flooded my bed. I remember thinking to myself, “How am I going to make it?” And I thought that several times.  And the time between the initial visit to Dr. M’s, the trip to Dr. B’s in Ft. Worth for additional ultra sounds and an amniocentesis, and then waiting as patiently as one could for the results of that amniocentesis, I still often found myself in total disbelief that this was in fact happening to me.  To me?  It is so rare, but yet I was the statistic?  The 1 out of 3,000?  Huh???  It sure didn’t make sense then, and it still doesn’t yet, and I am not sure it will ever FULLY make sense.  But I still know that good will come out of this because He is in charge.  Romans 8:28 is a good reminder when it says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.”  Well, I do love Him.  We both love Him.  And we know that He loves our little girl far more than we ever could begin to love her.  So because of that, despite the unbearable pain at times, I am doing okay, because I know that ultimately it is out of our control and that as much as I dreamed of having her here, He will be calling her home.  And I have to accept that, learn to deal with it, and in time, I know I will heal.  I am not saying it will be easy, but I will make it.  On that note, as redundant as I may sound, thank you again for your prayers for us.  In a lot of ways, ya’ll are helping to carry our load, so thank you.  Please don’t stop.  We love you all.

JULY 29-30th – LAST DAYS IN FRANCE

THE HEAVENLY PIZZA MACHINE

After a week in Europe, I’m almost getting use to ordering food without speaking the native language.   Once I pointed to a plate on the table next to mine and then pointed to myself.  The waitress quickly figured out that this dummy wanted what that guy beside him was having.  Trust me, that’s a much better way to order food than taking a gamble by pointing at something on a menu you can’t read.  That method backfired on me several times.  On one such occasion, I ordered food I thought was something else and when they brought out my plate, I knew I would have to be just short of starving to death in order to choke it down.  One of the band guys (who will eat anything) gladly accepted my untouched leftovers.  By the time we paid our bill, I was bummed out because the supermarket had closed for the night and I was hungry! It was a beautiful night, so we decided to walk the town square, and like an angel sent from heaven, I walked up on a self-serve pizza machine!  Pizza machine,you may ask?  Instead of being a coke machine, it’s a pizza machine.  You put your money in and 10 minutes later it kicks out a tasty, hot pizza!  Genius if you ask me.

Our last show was on Friday and we don’t fly out til Monday morning so I basically had two extra days to kill in France.  I had thought about flying back home but to change my flight from that Monday to two days earlier on the Saturday was like a $3,000 dollar difference in airline costs.  I decided to sit tight and relax, save that $3,000 dollars and spend some of it on a nice surprise for Kimberly.  So I went jewelry hunting all day Saturday and Ill have to say that I did pretty good ladies!  A guy can score some serious points by bringing home jewelry from Italy and France!

Organ at Cathedral Notre-Dame du Puy

On Sunday, the day before we were to head back to the good ol’ USA, I woke up early and decided to walk around and visit the different cathedrals in town, just as I had done in Italy.  They are such architectural masterpieces.  Spiritually, I don’t get much from all the extravagance and the statues of all the different religious figures. In no way do I mean any disrespect or to discredit their existence in any form or fashion.  These martyrs and saints deserve to be remembered and to have their story told because they are role models and great examples of true Christian faith.  After all, Saint Peter is one of my heroes, but he is still not my Savior, he is not Jesus.  I did enjoy spending lots of time in these different Cathedrals and the peacefulness and serenity within them.  In the Cathedral Notre-Dame du Puy I thoroughly enjoyed the huge pipe organ that was continuously playing.  I sat down in one of the pews and spent a little time in prayer amongst all the shrines, candles and fellow tourists.

The Beautiful Cathedral Notre-Dame du Puy

As I was leaving, a couple, who had come from Germany to see me at the festival, walked up and began to visit with me.  They were so nice and their English was fantastic so it was refreshing to have someone to talk to for once.  At one point the wife said, “Are you Catholic?”   And I said,” No, I attend a little church of Christ back home in Texas.  I could tell that she had no idea what a “church of Christ” was.  I then smiled and said,” I just love Jesus”.  She laughed and said, “I love Jesus, too!”  Isn’t it too bad that we have complicated things with so many different denominations?  Just imagine if all the different kinds of churches were to get past their petty differences and join forces.  Talk about putting an end to world hunger and all the different major issues of that sort.  Instead we waste time, chasing our tails, arguing about things that in the grand scheme of things really don’t matter.  Is Jesus up there thinking that we are missing the forest for the trees?  The next time someone asks me, if I’m a Christian or Baptist, Catholic, Methodist etc., I’m going to say that I’m a follower of Jesus!   By saying so, I am saying I believe with all my heart and soul that Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.  And I will try to live my life according to the word that God has given us…which is a daily struggle, if not an hourly one.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6

Saint Michel d’Aiguile Chapel

Later that afternoon, I enjoyed a good hike to the top of a volcano where there is a chapel called the Saint Michel d’Aiguile, which was built in 962. Yes, I mean 962 as in over 1050 years ago!! There was an old cemetery near the base of the volcano and on the way down we went through it.  Maybe I’m weird but there’s just something fascinating, yet humbling about a cemetery and I’ve always been intrigued by this.  There were lots of family plots, with large marble boxes. Apparently, they cremate the bodies and place the urn inside the marble box and I noticed some families had over 300 years worth of family in one small area. As we were walking out, I noticed a small gravestone with a little girl’s name and I noticed the baby girl died on the day she was born.  It kind of hit me like a ton of bricks and I couldn’t help but get all choked up inside.  I hiked back to my hotel and began packing my bags for the return trip home.  I went to bed early that night watching BBC, eating the left over Nutella and crackers that I had bought in Italy.

AUGUST 1-2nd, JET LAGGED BACK TO REALITY

SUNRISE IN FRANCE VIA IPHONE

We woke up at 5 am and rode a chartered bus from Le Puy France to Lyon; then we hopped a train to Paris and it literally dropped us off at the front door of the Paris Airport which they should rename the Paris Zoo because it was CRAZY!  Finally after waiting, worrying, standing in line, running to our terminal we boarded our plan and flew from Paris into Boston.  Ok, I hate to say anything negative about any place or anybody but the French were 100 times friendlier than the Bostonians.  And I guarantee more people in the Paris airport could speak English then at the Boston Airport.  I felt more at home in Paris then I did there in Massachusets!  I saw dirty looks and mean faces around every corner.  If you looked at someone and smiled or even said hello, you would have thought you’d just insulted their mother.

At customs, I had a Boston Police Officer give me the drill: Why are you here? What do you do? Where are you going? I answered: I was in Europe, I have a country band, and I’m heading back to Texas.  He said, “I can’t stand country music…You a Ranger’s fan?  I said,” Yes”, hence the Rangers hat on my head.  He said,” I hate the Rangers.”  I said,” Well, I hate the Red Soxs (actually now I have to like the Red Soxs cause my buddy, Aaron Cook just recently signed a deal with them)…then I said,”The only team I despise more than the Red Soxs is the Yankees.”  Then he looked at me and smiled.  We had found our common denominator, our shared hatred for the New York Yankees!  Haha!  He asked for my website and then wrote it down.  I jokingly said, “You probably won’t care for my tunes…I know you folks up here are into Justin Beiber and New Kids on the Block.  He laughed and we shook hands.  Then we boarded our plane to Dallas and headed back to God’s country!  The weather in Europe was perfect with the temperature lingering around 65 the entire time we were there and sometimes I even needed a jacket.  I obviously wouldn’t need that jacket for much longer.  We landed in Dallas, got our luggage and exited the airport at midnight and it was 97 degrees!  We were back home for sure.  I had my tour bus pick me up and drive me back home to Abilene.  After a 28 hour trip I was home, dog tired, and excited to see my family.

It was a fun trip with huge crowds and fantastic shows but the ride home was brutal!  You can imagine how much I needed a large cup of coffee in order to go with Kimberly to her sonogram appointment at 9:30 am on the morning of my return.  I pretty much live my life in a constant state of jet lag, but I was really feeling it big time this particular morning.  One day I’m in France and the next I’m back on the other side of the world, back to reality sitting in the waiting area with my wife in Dr. M’s office again.  There are lots of expectant mothers and husbands anxiously awaiting their appointment.  You could see the joy and excitement on their faces.  I know this joy well; I have felt it three times before with Jake, Jack, and Jolee Kate, but today the feeling was mostly numb.  We’ve had half a dozen Doctors tell us that our baby will not, can not survive.  Yet with broken hearts, we were still excited to see the sonogram of our little Julia Grace.  After all, she is our baby and we love her.

The nurse opened the door, called Kimberly’s name and we walked in together, hand in hand, into the same room where we had received the bad news just a few weeks earlier.  They rubbed the jelly on Kimberly’s cute belly and placed the wand like instrument on her stomach and just like that, there she was, my baby girl up on the big screen…kicking and moving all around.   I smiled, teared up, touched her on the TV screen and said, “Oh how I wish I could make you all better, baby girl.”  If her cure was at the top of Mount Everest I would have already been there and back in record time but…that is just a bunch of silly talk.  Like the half dozen Doctors have said, “she is incompatible with life,” but I hold tight to my faith and I still have hope.  My heart just won’t let me give up on my little girl.  I’m stubborn, hard headed, and definitely not a quitter.  I don’t care if every doctor tells me to give up; I will still pray and fight for my girl until I have to give Julia back.

AUGUST 2nd – 8 YEARS AGO TODAY

MR & MRS AARON WATSON!

8 years ago today, I got married to my Kimberly.  It seems like it was only yesterday and hard to believe that we’re just a few years away from a decade.  Let me rewind back before the proposal.  She knew I had bought a ring because she was snooping around and saw my bank statement.  I was frustrated with her nosiness because I wanted it to be a big, BIG surprise.  So out of vengeance, cruelty, and my own personal enjoyment, I decided to delay the proposal for a while and have some fun!  I was out on the road playing shows and was talking to her on the phone when I spontaneously decided to pull a prank on her.  I told Kimberly that I had hid the ring somewhere in her apartment and if she could find it, she could have it.  Well, she totally took the bait and for the next few days she completely destroyed her apartment in search of her ring that in reality was in my safety deposit box at the bank.  When I got home Sunday, I went to see her and when I walked through the door it looked as if a tornado had hit her apartment.  I started laughing and couldn’t stop laughing and when she found out that the ring wasn’t there, she was not happy with me.  She had this look of total disbelief.  She looked so cute, all flustered with her hair falling down in her eyes, her little nostrils flared.  Did I mention that I couldn’t stop laughing…she eventually cooled off and couldn’t hold back her smile watching me roll around hysterically.

SHE WAS EXCITED, I WAS BROKE 😉

That next week I decided I better quit playing games.  It was time to make her mine by putting that diamond ring on her finger.  It was a few weeks before Christmas, snow was on the ground, and it was cold.  I took her out to eat and then we drove a few miles outside of town to a ranch where they had over a million Christmas lights on display that you could drive through.  We had Frank Sinatra Christmas music playing in the background as we admired all the beautiful decorations.  At the halfway point, they had a place to park where you could get out, make smores over a campfire and drink hot chocolate.  Out in the middle of this farm field off to the side of the campfires there were giant letters as tall as a house spelling out three words lit up with Christmas lights: BELIEVE, HOPE and LOVE.  After we finished our smores and hot chocolate, I took her by the hand out into that pasture with “Believe, Hope and Love” all around us and then and there I hit my knee and asked her to marry me.  It was magical!  She said ”Yes!” and that began a new chapter in my life.  She had mascara running down her face and I didn’t cry at all.  Ok, maybe I teared up a little.  It was one of the sweetest, most exciting moments of my life; one I will never forget.

THE ROLLS ROYCE KISS

We had the wedding nearly eight months later near Seattle, Washington.  It was a beautiful and extravagant wedding, far beyond the expectations of this west Texas boy.  I had nothing to do with the wedding.  I gave my opinion if it was asked, otherwise I kept my mouth shut and everything went as smooth as butter.  Here’s a word of advice for all you future grooms: when it comes to your wedding, stay out of it unless your bride specifically asks you to do something.  If she shows you dresses, look and act as if you care and say, “Gorgeous.”  If she shows you flower arrangements say, “Absolutely beautiful.”  Don’t forget that this is her day more than it is yours.  She has been dreaming of this day since she was a little girl, while you have been dreaming about that honeymoon night since you were a teenage boy.  Do what you’re told, show up on time, tell your groomsmen to behave and to be quiet.  Don’t lock your knees and when she walks down that isle, don’t you dare ever forget how you feel for her right there in that moment.  Your marriage will NATURALLY have it’s ups and downs and you have to sometimes go back to square one and remember how you truly feel for her despite all the current distractions…like bills, in-laws, kids, jobs, etc.

THE RECEPTION

So smile for the millions of pictures ,despite getting agitated and before you know it, you’ve said, ”I do,” you’ve kissed your bride, and you’re both in a Rolls Royce headed to the reception.  Our reception was amazing, but of course I kept checking my watch wishing it would hurry up and end…remember what I said about teenage boys?  We spent the next week in Maui, came home, bought a little house, a little dog and schemed, dreamed and starting planning on making a family.

I look back at these pictures and smile.  We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.  What in the heck was my bride thinking?  Honey, did you really marry a guy that is nicknamed “The Honky Tonk Kid”?  I love that girl more than anything, but please don’t look at these pictures and my sweet words and think, “The Watson’s have it all figured out, they have the perfect marriage” because that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Now I’ve already mentioned how much I love her, but the flip side to that is that no one can make me more angry than her.  She knows where the chink is in my armor, that small unprotected spot on my heart where she can do the most damage.  I am crazy about her and at times she drives me crazy…what a confusing scenario it is at times.  I crave her, desire her, and get incredible grumpy and temperamental when I can’t have her, and I get emotional when I’m away from her.  I’m her puppy on a string and sometimes she drags me around like that dog you’ve seen at the park that has a choke collar around his neck as if my four little paws can’t keep up with her pace.

NOW YOU KNOW WHAT INSPIRED "UNBELIEVABLY BEAUTIFUL"

Needless to say, choking or not, I am happy to be hers.  As much as I loved her then, I love her ten times as much now.  I would defend this girl to the death; there is nothing I wouldn’t do for her, which makes me feel so much more helpless during these hard times.  I wish I could take her pain away, but I can’t.  But I can be there for her every step of the way and I will be.  I love you, babe.  Happy 8th Anniversary!

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Published in: on January 14, 2012 at 12:02 am  Comments (17)  

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17 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Aaron & Kimberly,
    You have once again touched my heart with your innermost thoughts and fears! I just finished watching a heartwarming movie that kept me in tears…and now I have read your blog…again in tears! I feel as if I REALLY know you and can truly say that I love y’all and think of y’all daily! The two of you are an inspiration to those who are hurting and an encouragement to those who have lost their way. Keep up the phenomenal work. God bless you in all that you do! Thank you again for sharing your story!

  2. you are a wonderful man. Kimberly is so lucky to have a man like you, and you are so lucky to have a wonderful woman like her. We can all tell you care so much about each other and Aaron I really love that you mention Kimberly and the kiddos at your shows. We love you guys and want to wish you many more years together…..

  3. Aaron & Kimberly,

    God bless you, your boys and little girl. I think about your family quite often and I pray for sweet Julia Grace and for Jesus to comfort and heal your broken hearts. Ever since the night I saw you at lucky mule in Abilene and I whispered in yor ear that I was thinking and praying for your sweet wife, I haven’t stopped. Now as I read your blogs, as I have before, I get a more in depth look at your heart, Kimberly’s heart, your love for your kids and for your fans. God bless you. I will definitely be a life long fan.

  4. Aaron, Thank you so much for sharing your story with all of us. I really think that you are bringing people to Jesus with your music and your faith in Him.
    Besides your love for Christ, Kimberly, Julia Grace, and your all your kids, the thing that really got me while I was reading this was how you talk about Jolee Kate. I’m 23 so I just got past that rebellious, independent teenager stage not too long ago, but through it all, my Daddy has always been my hero! Keep doing those bedtime routines and whatever they evolve into as she gets older, because trust me, a girl needs her Daddy, no matter how old she gets.
    You, Kimberly, and your family are in my prayers as you continue to get through this difficult time… and I really do think all of Texas is praying for y’all!

  5. My heart goes out to you & your family, my husband & i received the same diagnosis with our 4th child, but everything turned out alright, so i understand your pain & suffering to a point. but i did not suffer the loss as you & your family did, i am so sorry, y’all are in my thoughts & prayers, & pray for many blessed & happy days for y’all!

  6. Aaron,

    Once again you have made me realize how unimportant something’s in life are compared to the greater plan. I will never forget the words you spoke to me and my daughter at your show at Texas Hall of Fame on her 13 birthday… Who would have known how much meaning those words were in your heart at that time. Thank you for all you do and the strength and love you show. Remember “always daddy’s little girl”.

  7. […] HERE to enjoy the rest…and cry like I […]

  8. I actually lost my baby girl at 3 1/2 months old to SIDS on July 19, 2004.. I honestly have never felt such pain… It’s been a pretty tough deal, I began taking a lot of pills & drinking a lot. To make a long story short after almost 8 years… I have a wonderful relationship with God today & I have been sober 144 days. God definitely did for me… What I could not do for myself. Your story is just wonderful & it is definitely heart breaking too. It is so awesome that you are both so faithful & such believers, it took me a long time to get there. I have a 20 year old and a 16 year old and thank God for the blessing of all 3 of my children.. Sometimes, he has a different plan. We just have to trust him and know that as you said he does love them far more than we ever could. I find so much peace in that. Although we never will get over this loss, or any loss really.. It does get better. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  9. Aaron, thank you so much for continuing to share these deeply personal reflections with all your fans. First, AHH — it was so exciting to read about your popularity in Europe!!! Who would have thought the Europeans would know the words to country songs created by a guy in Texas?? That is so awesome. I guess no matter where you live, people can appreciate phenomenal music performed by an amazing person!

    How neat that you were able to spread God’s message & your awesome God-given talents with people abroad. You are the perfect example of someone who uses those talents to glorify Christ, but who also doesn’t just rest on those abilities. With your hard work & God’s help, you have been able to accomplish some pretty amazing things. And we all get to benefit from that!!

    When I went to France a few years ago, I, too, wondered if my friend and I would be met with hostility. I had the exact same experience as you, though — people were so nice to us!!! I do think they were also a bit perplexed by our friendliness (we told people it was just a Texas/Minnesota thing!). We were walking down the streets calling, “Bonjour!! Bounjour!” to everyone (like that scene from “Beauty & the Beast,” haha). We also went and visited Normandy Beach, and to say the people there appreciate Americans is an understatement.

    I just want to say that I entirely agree with what sweet Kimberly wrote about God’s plan. She put it so well. It always frustrates me when someone is going through something tough, heartbreaking, and terrible, and people say, “Well, it’s just part of God’s Will.” I agree with Kimberly’s perspective — I don’t think God would ever “cause” something like an innocent baby’s death. I think things like Trisomy 18 break the Lord’s heart even more than they break our hearts (& that doesn’t even seem possible!).

    I believe His heart ached as He watched y’all go through that, and even as you had to give precious Julia Grace back to Him. I wish He could just step in and intervene whenever something like this happens, but I agree with Kimberly — I think it’s just a terrible, horrible, unfair, devastating part of life … and once we get to Heaven, maybe then we’ll be able to understand it all … and then, finally, we will be reunited with all those we love, and everything will be perfect and we will be made whole. And I *know* Julia Grace could feel the love you all showered upon her … could feel how beloved and wanted she was from the moment of conception. And she will know & love you dearly when you are all reunited some glorious day.

    Thank you for sharing your faith and your music … and this story of your precious little angel. Your kids are blessed to have such great examples in you & Kimberly (Just be careful not to set the bar too high for Jolee Kate’s future love … yikes, that guy is definitely going to have a tough act to follow!!!! Believe me, I know about having high standards … & I think it will be nearly impossible for any of her future boyfriends to match up!!! Haha, but I suppose that’s a good thing. I think it’s really sweet that you’re already praying for the man who will one day become her husband!!).

    Keep up the great work … thanks again for sharing … sorry for writing you such a long “blog” response instead of just a comment … & can’t wait to see you play again!!! God bless …y’all continue to be in my prayers.

    Love, Katie (the “News Girl”) from Wichita Falls! 🙂

  10. Dear Aaron & Kimberly,
    I just want to thank you for sharing such an intimate, personal, and painful part of your lives. I can’t even begin to imagine that kind of pain, and wish you much comfort and continued strength. You two are such an inspiration! Aaron, my girlfriends and I saw you and your band perform in 2010 and were so impressed by yall, and were especially impressed by your kindness after the show when we met you. By reading your blogs, I can see that your heart is just filled with so much love and kindness because that’s just who you are period. I lost my mama in 2004, and my daddy in 2009, and so when I read the love you have for your children, it touches me so deeply, because my daddy was my “Superman” and even though I was 38 when he passed, I STILL NEEDED HIM, and still do. There’s just something about daddy’s and daughters. It makes me smile, knowing that you “get” it. I wish you and your family many blessings, and can’t wait to see you and your band perform again. Much love, and God bless!

  11. Aaron and Kim your blog is a testament to God and your marriage! I have always been thankful for the friendship you have given to My daughter, Michelle. You are both wonderful people and I have asked God to bless you everyday!

  12. Aaron and Kim,
    I was so touched by your blog today and it couldn’t of came at a better time. First I wished I could say or do something to ease your pain right now. The loss of a child is very hard on your heart. Second the faith that you have in God is wonderful. I have been struggling with this myself lately. Reading this today has made me look at things a little differently and I want to thank you both for that…I love your music Aaron.
    Tammiejo

  13. I really admire you man. Your strength and the way you present Christ to the world in the type of environments we are in is hard to do. God has so blessed you in so many ways, and I have seen the way you honor him and your family by the way you handle business. I had a very strong relationship with the Lord when I was younger and allowed myself to backslide tremendously- a place I am still at. He has opened some doors for me and I know he is still here waiting on me. I told my momma when I first saw you in concert several years ago and spoke with you that if I ever had a chance to play a show with that guy and get a chance to talk with him about our faith, I would give everything in my life back to the Lord, I like everything about that guy and he’s doing what I want to do and is successful and is honoring God too. I never thought any of that really had a chance to happen to be honest. 4 years later, I have played shows with you and been your guests at many of your shows, in fact your the only big act in the Texas scene I’ve been the most associated with- even though I still havent did what I told my momma I’d do yet. I’ve never taken the time to share this with you and I dont know why I am now. You care enough to share your struggles and your life with people, I just wanted to tell you it is appreciated, as is the grace you extend to others. Thank ya bud

    C

  14. I cannot imagine the pain that y’all must feel. But Aaron I have liked your music always. I think y’all have a beautiful family. Y’all will be in our prayers.

  15. Only the good die young

  16. Two years ago my sister-in-law was also expecting a baby with Trisomy 18. She and her husband chose to abort the baby. I was heart broken. We are very pro-life and have always believed that you can cope with anything, if you allow God to help you. I have shared your blog with my 15-year-old daughter, who cried as she read it, but who also is in awe of your strength and willingness to accept God’s plan (as am I.) When you have completed writing about giving Julia Grace back, I plan on using your blog as a teaching tool in my 9th grade religious education class as an example of how a family with courage and faith chose not to take “the easy way out,” as so many chose to do, and instead chose, with God’s strength, to love their baby no matter what.
    Thank you for sharing your story. I can only imagine how hard it is to write, but through it you may be changing the hearts of people who see imperfect children as something to be disposed of and that may have been part God’s purpose for her. May God bless you and your family, support you, and give you His grace to continue on.

  17. May I start by saying Aaron, you are and will always be my favorite Texas Country Star. After reading your blog about this tremendous journey you and your family have been on, I know that my husband and I made a great decision to start our life together by dancing to “Shut up and Dance” as our first song in our marriage. You and Kimberly are truly an inspiration to everyone you come into contact with. I know that no words can make any of the pain go away but please know that my family will continue to pray for your family.

    Although I do not know what it is like to suffer such a great loss, I really admire the way you have handled it. Anyone that looks at your life can see that God is within your family at all times. I will continue to pray for you’ll and hope that maybe one day you might be blessed again with another beautiful child. I will continue to pray for you and your family. And I hope to see Aaron Watson again this year at Austin County Fair!!!

    May the Lord bless you, and keep you. May the Lord cause his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. ~~ Numbers 6:24-26


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