Posts Tagged ‘child’

A Child is Born

December 11, 2014

A Child is Born

I wonder what Mary thought when she held Jesus in her arms for the first time. Was she afraid of what the world might bring to her boy? Was she ecstatic at the thought of what her boy might bring to the world? She wrapped him in swaddling clothes, laid him in a manger, and ultimately, she gave to the world the best gift she was ever given. Mothers do that.

2014 has been a year to embrace and think about the children in our lives. Last December Bruce suffered a massive heart attack and we came to realize that no matter how old a person is, he is still his mother’s baby, and Gladys almost lost her youngest. A mother never stops worrying.

Thirty-four years ago, my Mama watched her nineteen year old baby get married. Until that moment, it had been the two of us against the world. I left her, and didn’t understand her loss. I was supposed to grow up and go away, start my own life. That, I understood.

This year, my oldest baby left home and got married. I suddenly understood much more of my Mama’s experience. I sat in the attic, staring at Ben’s baby pictures, crying. He stood at the bottom of the steps, looking up at me. “Mama, why are you crying?”

“Because you are leaving your entire childhood behind,” I said, but what I meant was, “You are leaving us, leaving me.”

He hugged me tight, shaking his head and patting my back. Then, he moved to Maryland to be with his own true love, Emily, a beautiful girl who brings light, love, and joy to our Ben. We couldn’t have asked for a better partner for our boy.

When Ben left, I called my Mama. Of course, she understood my loss, and let me cry on her shoulder. “Children are meant to grow up and go away,” she said. “You do the best you can to raise them, then you let them go.”

Now, when my nineteen year old Ryan hugs me, I’ve taken to holding onto him a little tighter and a little longer than I used to. Time moves forward, and children grow up. They grow up fast, and then move on to have children of their own.

In early February 2015, our Emily will become a mother, and bring to the world her greatest gift, her son, Ben’s son, our grandson.

I arranged the nativity set last night as I do every year. With the animals, wise men, and shepherds gathered round, I placed Joseph, then Mary, and finally Jesus in the stable. I took a long time to look at Mary as she looked down at her sweet baby in the manger. I marveled at Mary’s love, a special love, a love that never ends, a mother’s love.

We’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, and a Very Happy 2015.

James

July 23, 2011

A child was hit and killed by a car a half mile from our house last Friday night. He was a rising Sophomore at the high school in our community. He was riding his skateboard from his subdivision, across the highway, to the grocery store.  A pizza delivery man hit him.

The newscaster announced the accident Saturday morning.  I woke Ryan to ask him if he knew the boy. They were the same age. Ryan came into the room rubbing his eyes. When he saw the picture of the dark haired young man wearing glasses, Ryan’s eyes opened wide. Then he said,  “He’s a freshman. We ride the same bus.”

I hugged my boy every opportunity I had over the weekend.  I hovered over him until he told me to stop. I regretted ever teasing him about walking to the store when he needed a ride. I cried for the loss of a child I didn’t know. Ryan was patient with me. His statement of “That’s enough, Mom,” came  late Sunday evening when he was trying to watch the sports highlights on television and I had my arms wrapped around him from behind as he sat in his video gaming chair.  

Monday morning I went to work. It was there that I was told that James, the teenager killed, was the son of one of our nursing assistants, Yuhong. Every day, this gentle woman goes about her work quietly, her eyes lowered. Her presence is felt, but not heard. She cares for the elders in her charge with a rare kindness not often seen, and she is the mother of James. He was her only child.

We took up a collection at work for Yuhong and her husband, gathered money, food, drink, a potted plant, and we all signed a card. We didn’t know what else to do. A friend and I stopped by Yuhong’s house Tuesday afternoon to pay our respects and deliver the items we collected. We didn’t know what to say. We just stood in her doorway with our arms wrapped around her and her husband, crying with them. They were gracious, inviting us in, allowing us to share in their grief.

I sat at Yuhong’s kitchen table, looking at the photo album of her son from the time he was born until now.  She sat, tears running, unable to speak. Her husband, a very strong man, sat telling us stories of James, how he loved playing the saxophone and wanted to join the jazz band this fall, how tennis was such a passion that he played every day in the summer,  how James had made them so proud by getting all A’s in his honors classes at school.  The brave man choked back tears as he said, “I still go to my son’s room in the morning to wake him for breakfast. This does not feel real.”

 This couple is from China. They have lived in America for ten years. Their extended family lives in China. They sat together, there at the table, alone.

 We turned pages in the photo album. I remembered my own boys at each stage of development, my joy, and such a strong feeling of love as I held them or stood beside them.  I realized today that I’ve never contemplated a time when there would be no more photographs taken of my children. I still can’t.