Sunday, July 26, 2020

HOW HE CAME TO BE

I woke up early, thinking about our family.  Because of Covid-19, most of our interactions are on Skype or Zoom, although I have had a few opportunities to have our two oldest daughters and their families here, after sufficient quarantine time.  Mary has been down a couple of memorable times. After their daughter Therese finally made her First Communion (which I couldn't attend because of the California regulations for numbers at church services), she wore her dress and they all came down so I could see her and give her the Sunday missal which we have traditionally given to each of our children and now grandchildren on the occasion of their First Communion. She and her siblings were glad to have the chance to run around in our big back yard and we all celebrated together, albeit with masks.  A few weeks later, we celebrated Jozef's birthday and wondered if we would ever feel like blowing out candles on a cake again. Elizabeth came down with her family for a very belated celebration of Ahm-chul's birthday. Since it was her eighth, when we traditionally give our granddaughters the American Girl doll of their choice, Ahm-chul had chosen Addy, and she and Therese brought all their doll clothes and played together (masks on, outside) with their dolls for hours.
The one member of the family whom I have seen regularly is our son, Gilbert, since he has stayed in my quarantine bubble. It suddenly occurred to me this morning that he probably didn't know the story that led to his birth.  
I asked him if he had ever heard it, and since he hadn't, I told him that when we still had just the five girls, around the Thanksgiving of 1991, they came to us when they normally would have given us a list for Santa of the things they hoped to receive for Christmas.  Elizabeth spoke for all of them and said that they didn't want anything for Christmas except a new baby.  We were deeply touched by their desire for another sibling, but also told Elizabeth that if we had another one, she would have to give up the room of her own that she had recently moved into, since that had always been the baby's room. She said she didn't mind, and that she would gladly share a room with two of her sisters. We then pointed out that, practically, it would be impossible to come up with a baby in a month (all of them except the youngest remembered that it seemed like a long time with each pregnancy before an actual baby appeared), but that we would see if it was God's will for us to increase our family size.  It was, and a week before the Thanksgiving of 1992, we had a baby boy, much to our surprise, since we had just assumed it would be another girl.  This was an example of how, in a family that is rather spread out, as ours is, it's easy to forget to tell the stories that the older ones know.  I told Gilbert that Elizabeth had prayed during her retreat in the summer of '91, that we would have another baby, and that he could be assured from all this, that his sisters had loved him before he even began to exist. Their openness to new life as they were growing up has flowered in their own marriages, and so far given us 22 grandchildren, each one a unique and special gift from God.  Telling Gilbert the story of how his sisters dreamed him into existence reminded me again of what miracles they all are.

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