They say that when you have a child, forever after your heart goes walking around outside your body. My heart has been walking around outside my body for twenty-nine years now. What I didn’t know when I inherited five stepchildren is that I would grow to love them and worry about them and care for them so that my heart is now walking around outside my body in the form of six children.
Tomorrow my stepdaughter, Becky, goes into the hospital to deliver her second little girl. I know that it is scary for her to think about bringing another little one into the world, not knowing what temptations and trials she will face, what hardships she will endure and what battles she will be called upon to fight.
When you are nine months pregnant, you are willing to give up providing protective housing 24/7 in order to regain some semblance of your figure, have your organs back in their regular spots and most of them functioning at reasonable capacity and to make the acquaintance of the little person you and your husband and God have created.
A week or so ago, the baby was in a breech position, with a C-Section a possibility. Becky received a blessing at the hands of her husband, and the doctor was able to successfully turn the baby. Becky said that when Josh stated in the blessing how excited Leah was to come be a part of their family, she felt a sharp kick from her previously inactive baby as if in answer to that statement. I’m glad the excitement goes both directions.
I’m here on Grandma duty, watching three-year-old Ellie and to be of service to mama and baby Leah any way I can. Today I watched Becky lovingly add another coat of paint to a cradle her grandfather made for her when she was a baby. She sat cross-legged in a little concrete courtyard preparing a comfortable place for her little one to slumber. I watched in loving amusement as little Ellie tried to help her up from her sitting position, believing that she truly had lifted Mom up from the ground. Then Becky and I went shopping, in search of a thicker mattress for the cradle, going to two stores until we found exactly what she wanted and needed. Little sleepers and dresses are folded or hung up, awaiting the arrival of their new owner.
We prepare physically as much as we can, knowing that we can never be fully prepared emotionally for what may be coming. As parents, we reflect on some of the mistakes we made as young people and know that payback is coming in the form of our own children. We know that she is going to fall for the wrong boy, dent the car, and tell little white lies. In our lucid moments, we are going to realize that every little misstep is not the end of the world.
There are many people who say that the state of the world is the reason they have chosen not to have children. I admit that the possibilities for what can go wrong seem to be multiplying at an alarming rate. But if you can bring a child into a family that works, a family filled with love, a family where the gospel of Jesus Christ is taught and lived, a family where values are taught and reinforced, you can beat the world. It doesn’t mean there won’t be struggles or hard times, which come in different measure to each of us, but it means you’ve got a fighting chance.
In the movies we’ve watched lately, I note that Ellie is quite aware now that the world, or at least the wonderful world of Disney, is full of good guys and bad guys. What is a little bit harder to explain is the good guy who is in a bad mood but isn’t really a bad guy or the bad guy who looks nice but can’t be trusted. As parents and grandparents, we struggle to know how to explain what happened to Bambi’s mother or Simba’s father. I hope that sweet little Ellie and soon-to-be-born Leah live a long time before either of them truly has to come face-to-face with loss, especially since Ellie was so
I am grateful for a son-in-law who is sensitive enough to the feelings of his tender-hearted bug-loving little girl that he would bring home a paper cup full of ladybugs that he caught with the help of a co-worker, both of them hoping that their masculinity would not be called into question if anyone became aware of their quest. I am grateful that both these little girls will have a father who is fully engaged, because it is largely through our interactions with our earthly fathers that we formulate a picture of our Heavenly Father. I know that Ellie and Leah will have no trouble believing in a loving Heavenly Father because of the kind of earthly father they are lucky to have.
As Becky prepares for the demands a newborn is sure to make on her time and attention, she has spent a lot of time collecting activities and preparing things that will help Ellie to feel loved. Children who have been loved and cherished go out into the world with the capacity to nurture and love others. Effective parents truly have no end to the influence they wield.
I am so grateful that all four of my grandchildren have the kind of parents who love and nurture and sacrifice for their children. I still believe it is true that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. I am so very grateful for the loving hands that will be rocking the cradle of the newest member of our family.
Welcome to the world, little Leah.