El Pasoan Angel Wicker believes the best job in the world is being a mom.
It “is one of the greatest blessings of my life. I couldn’t imagine doing anything better. and I love my job but it doesn’t compare to being a mom,” said Wicker, executive director of the Pregnancy help Center.
Yet with their youngest child a junior in high school, Wicker and her husband, Tom, knew they would soon be empty-nesters. in the blended family, their other four children are already grown; some live away from home and others are getting married.
“My son would tell me, ‘Mom, I’ll be getting ready to go to college soon,’ ” Wicker said. “And even though I know some of my friends are excited about that phase, I was kind of dreading it.”
Then one day last June, 3-year-old Nevaeh came into their lives.
At first, Wicker and her husband were just baby sitters, a couple willing to help a child in a difficult family situation. Wicker does not want to provide details, out of respect for the child’s mother.
But after the Wickers had spent several weeks caring for the timid and at times withdrawn youngster, Nevaeh’s aunt asked the Wickers a question that would change the course of their lives.
“I cried tears of joy,” Wicker said, when she read a text from the relative asking whether she and her husband wanted to adopt Nevaeh. “I remember it was the Fourth of July and I was unpacking at the center.”
Though the couple had once talked about having another child or adopting, they hadn’t proceeded with it. Tom Wicker had even bought a red Camaro for his wife, knowing she didn’t have to taxi their children anymore.
But it wasn’t a difficult decision. the couple had fallen in love with Nevaeh. and Nevaeh (the name is “heaven” spelled backward) had started to call them “mommy” and “daddy.”
“We didn’t hesitate. it was like an instant connection, like she was always meant for us,” Angel Wicker said. “And she was like a sponge, soaking in all the love and we just poured it out.”
Dede Farmer, a friend of the Wickers for four years, agrees that Nevaeh and her parents are a great match.
“There really was no adjustment period. Nevaeh is the most loving little girl. She calls me auntie and she just wants to give hugs to everybody,” she said. “She always tells Angel she wants to go and hug them.”
The adoption became final Oct. 20, and the happy couple look forward to all things that come with parenting a 4-year-old: meeting teachers on the first day of school, baking cookies together in matching aprons, dancing in the living room.
“I told her she wasn’t born under my heart but she certainly is in my heart,” she said. “She’s been a tremendous blessing for our whole family.”
Nevaeh certainly loves her parents. when asked what she loves about her mommy, she extends her arms out as wide as possible.
She says she loves to “scrapbook and go to the park and dance with mom.”
Of course, the couple still take time to have date nights, and Wicker said she makes sure to give her teenage son his own time.
“We try to keep a real balance and perspective. Nevaeh doesn’t take the place of any of my children, who are all awesome. They all add so much value to being a parent at any of their ages.”
For his part, Tom Wicker agreed that making time for themselves makes them better parents.
“What makes a healthy relationship is taking time for each other, and we’ve always done that. and if parents are healthy, your children are going to be healthy,” he said.
Tom Wicker added that he looks forward to creating new memories with his sixth child.
“We just went to Sea World because we went to marry off a son in San Antonio. and we had a blast there. and we want to go to Cloudcroft to go hiking and have a picnic at White Sands, which are some of the things we used to do,” he said.
Son John Wicker, 17, said he was surprised at first to hear his parents wanted to adopt but knows his parents will be great for his new sister.
“They have raised me in a fantastic way. They helped me by building my relationship between them, but most importantly God. That is key to having a successful family. I believe that my parents’ great relationship will provide an excellent childhood for Nevaeh,” he said.
John added that he is enjoying being a big brother.
“I was the youngest my whole life and being used to the spoiled lifestyle, but having a little sister has been a big change but has also been one of the biggest blessings of my life,” he said. “I am trying to be the best brother I can be for Nevaeh.”
Angel Wicker, who loves to scrapbook, said she can see through photos of her other children how fast time flies. so she plans to cherish every special moment.
“When I think of my other children being 28, 25 and 21 É I wonder, when did that happen?” she said.
She hopes she is wiser and perhaps a bit more patient as a parent in her 40s. She said she and her husband also lost some weight recently so they would have plenty of energy for their child.
Wicker said she’s noticed a few differences since she parented her first children. like most children of her generation, Nevaeh knows how to work an iPhone and iPad. and cartoons these days — well, many of them — are not suited for 4-year-olds.
Wicker is also relishing those mom-and-daughter moments. Nevaeh likes to sit next to Mom while she’s scrapbooking and glue her own photos on paper.
“One day we were at the mall, and she stopped and said, ‘Mom, look at all those pretty shoes,’ and I realized I had someone to go shopping for pretty shoes and purses.”
As with most Mother’s Days, Wicker said she looks forward to spending time with her children. but on this first Mother’s Day with Nevaeh, she wonders what special handmade gift her daughter made at school.
“I have a hope chest with things my kids made when they were little. All those things where they put their handprint is just the best. and I get to do it all over again,” she said.
By the way, Wicker kept the Camaro. so when Nevaeh gets picked up from the school, the two often drive away dancing to the music.
María Cortés González may be reached at email@example.com; 546-6150.