Our lives are changed…forever…

Our lives are changed….forever….

The “experts” were right…all the sappy songs, catch-yourselves-crying Hallmark commercials and tear jerker movies were confirmed….my heart changed that day….and again three years and three days later. I had heard it said, accompanied by sage nods of experience, that having children would forever change your life…and “they” were right.

When I gave birth to my son…and then my daughter… my heart was no longer my own, but shared in two pieces of creation that we named Doug and Mandy. Perhaps this is why being a grandparent will be so…. well…..grand.  We have experienced that joy, elation and sheer terror of child rearing…but this time we get to help instead of being the sole proprietor. (this is what I’ve been told…as I patiently wait…okay as patiently as I can….ugh)

Doug was my “non-sleeper”. After months of having colic, his sleeping habits became altered and ingrained…so that resting was not a top priority for him…and I had to learn to adjust. We spent many nights walking the house…he did not like to be rocked…had to be on the move…always…so we talked….more like I talked…he cried…I cried…we cried together. My husband worked off shore for the first few years of Doug’s life so a bond was forged …a survival pact…that we were both scared…neither having a clue of what to do…but we had each other.

By the time I had a loose concept of mothering…as in doing whatever it took each day to not mess things up too badly…I found myself with child again…but tragically lost that life…which left a dark stain on my soul. I wondered…questioned…grieved…and knew my heart would be forever marked by that moment when my world stopped.  Life was fragile…..precious… taken for granted at times…and my heart was tender in the cold light of loss.

In the busyness of a move….for all we knew…to the unknown… I realized I was pregnant once again…with my precious Mandy…this second piece of Heaven that God would place in my arms. This girl was a sleeper…which has not changed…and that threw me for a while. Many a morning…afternoon…evening…I would find myself watching her breathe…putting a mirror under her nose to catch that fog of life…placing my hand over her chest to check…make sure…she was with me…still. I knew I needed to capture these moments when she was dependent on me…because they are only temporary.

I can’t help but wonder about another mother…of years past…that was given this gift of a child…but it would be a child that she would have to share…literally…..with the whole world.  There is a particular line in the Christmas song called “Mary, Did You Know?” that causes my throat to close off and tears to well up in my eyes:

”And when you kissed your little baby, you’ve kissed the face of God”…oh my.

I think of Mary spending those nights rocking Jesus to sleep, listening to that sweet cooing sound that only babies can make. Luke 2:19 says….”But Mary treasured up all these tings and pondered them in her heart.”  I wonder how tightly she hung onto those moments that slip through your fingers like sand. Did she take extra time to simply gaze at this child…her child…but not really hers.  We all realize at a certain point of our parenting years that our children will grow up…and away from us…but nothing like Mary.  Perhaps that is why we all revert back to our child-centered memories when Christmas hovers. We remember that precious gift of Jesus the Christ…and gather our own a little closer…for one moment more of wonder. God’s greatest gift came to us in form of a little baby….His grace taking on flesh…so that we would all know Love.. for eternity.

Merry Christmas to you all as mine gather and I give thanks to God.

Ms. O