My background in sales coupled with my travels and volunteering has offered me a fabulous opportunity to meet so many interesting people. “A Day in the Life” series was birthed out of a need to do something productive with myself while recuperating from a knee surgery. However, it is something I had been dreaming of doing for a year or so. A few brave souls have agreed to let me create a window into their lives so that you may witness more closely, many lives much different than your own.
The series begins with a childhood friend, Jackie Wing Johnson. She is my hero because she not only is a wonderful mother to eight children, she is a fun, funny and incredible human being. Peek into her world and see if you don’t fall in love with her too.
A Day in the Life of Jackie Johnson
We all have productive and unproductive days. In my little world, if I multi-task, which for me is working from my computer while my injured knee rests under ice and gets bent continously with a machine, I think I am really productive. Then I log on to Facebook to follow the life of my childhood friend, Jackie Wing Johnson. Jackie puts nearly all of us to shame on a daily basis. As a subsitute school teacher, loving wife, doting friend and mother of eight, you read that correctly, she knows how to get the most out of 24 hour period!
I attended a bridal shower and wedding reception for Jackie nearly thirty years ago. Never in a million years did I expect to reconnect with her some two decades later to learn that she would live clear across the nation and be celebrating the college graduation of one child while expecting her eighth child at 43 years old. Jackie and her husband, Keith didn’t set out to have such a large family initially. However, after one year of marriage they decided that if children were blessings from God, they wouldn’t interfere with how many He gave them. They must have had some inkling about what they were in store for because they purchased a 15-passenger van when she was pregnant with baby number three!
Interestingly, Jackie doesn’t view her large family as too different than more modest families of two or three kids. Her philosophy is simple: “Children change our lives. Period.” The more I think about it, the more that line of thinking makes sense. What I find most fascinating about Jackie and Keith are their priorities. Simply put by Jackie, they are God, their marriage and then their children. That is easy to say but the proof is in their actions which by the way include church, weekly dates, 3-4 day getaways as a couple and a regular Mom’s night out with the ladies for Jackie. She has also managed to homeschool her children as well as pursue her master’s degree. I don’t know about the rest of you but Lord, I swear I will never ever complain again about not having enough time or energy to complete all of my projects and dreams!
Jackie and Keith, like most others, have had their fair share of challenges. Jackie recounts that on the day her third child was born, she learned that Keva, her newborn daughter had Down’s Syndrome. She confesses that she told God, “Look, I trusted You in blessing us with our children. I told you I would accept as many children as You would give us. This one, though…wasn’t part of our bargain.” Jackie has since discovered that Keva is a blessing just for her! Keva has taught her to appreciate the simple things, to be more patient and less selfish. She has also taught Jackie that she is guaranteed nothing with each child that comes along. Jackie subsequently had two miscarriages that further drove home that point.
When asked about her greatest joys, Jackie swears that they happen every day in the small things. She loves driving along and hearing her youngest squeal with delight over trucks. She is also touched by watching daughter, Kathleen plan a bachelorette party for her sister using her own time and resources just because she wants to. Arguably, Jackie has much to be proud of. She had led a life so much fuller than one I will ever know. Lucky for me she is open to sharing it with me and with others.