The Gifts

 

 

I

t was a hot, humid day in September.  A day just like most for the sleepy little Georgia town.  When would the cool breeze of Fall find its way to our door?  Stickiness was in the air as well as on my body.  As I got out of the car, the hot air took my breath away.  Pulling my dress away from my skin was like peeling a banana.  It was so hot!  Work was extra tiring today for my eight-and- a-half month pregnant body.  I had driven two hundred miles, covering four towns on this sweltering day.  The oversized recliner perching in the living room was going to be my Paradise.  Just a few more steps and I will be there.  As I sank down into the plump cushions and raised the leg rest, a great sigh of relief escaped my lips.  My Paradise had begun.

When you have children, rest is short-lived.  Erin, my three year old, ran into the room.  Her innocent face was beaming with excitement.  She had just painted her fingers and toes "just like Mommy."  Panic gripped my being as I asked, “Who helped you paint your fingers and toes?”  That innocent face glowed as she replied, “Me, I can do it myself!”  I feared the inevitable.  How much fingernail polish would be found on my only-been-laid-two-weeks carpet?  I struggled to rise from my seat of clouds as the child within reminded me of her presence.  Was this child begging for attention like her older sister?

 

Paradise had come and gone, leaving in its path a trail of red fingernail polish on the toilet seat.  I couldn’t be mad.  She was really trying to be like Mom.  I tried to remind myself it was the little things that keep us humble.  Little things.  Would the little child within be curious about life, or would she follow her older sister’s lead?  This question would be answered after her arrival in three more weeks.

 

Did I say three more weeks?  Well, that’s what I thought, too.  That very night, after the sweltering heat had cooled and all creatures great and small were sleeping, the child within decided it was time to greet the world.  The pain was excruciating.  My body tensed as the contraction took hold.  I was always told not to worry unless the pains were closer than five minutes apart.  As the contraction eased, I turned on my side to wait for the next one.  It should be a while.  After all, Erin took twelve hours of labor to make her entrance into the world.

 

Ouch!  The blanket of pain enveloped my body again.  The clock only revealed three minutes between contractions.  I was in trouble.  This baby was coming and coming now!  I punched Roger and said, “Get up, it's time!”  Roger jumped with a start and said he had to take a shower first.  My only reply, which would haunt me again later, was “You’ve got to be kidding!”  He wasn’t.  Roger showered while I waited for an eternity.  The Georgia aquifers drained as my body ached with pain. 

 

Finally, we were ready.  Now came the real test.  Every movement caused my body to tense to a contraction.  Climbing out of the house, brick masons were coming tomorrow to build the steps, was like coming down from a mountain summit.  One hurdle down, but where’s the truck?  In its safe haven from roofing nails, I see it.  The truck is so far away.  Roger helps as I weakly make my way to the truck.  The pain is excruciating. 

 

The hospital was in sight.  The air began to be filled with antiseptic as a nurse hurried to prepare the bed.  A flurry of activity ensued around me as the staff prepared for the arrival of the child.  To me, time slowed to almost a stop.  Doctor’s orders were muffled as my reactions slowed to the speed of a 45-rpm record being played on the 33½-rpm speed. 

 

Roger’s eyes shone with excitement as the doctor instructed me to push one last time.  The child emerged into a world filled with flurry.  She yelled to let everyone know she had arrived.  This gift of a perfect child was at the center of the universe.  My body relaxed as I watched the activity swell around my newborn baby.  My eyes caught the doctor’s eyes.  He had puzzled look on his face.  “What’s wrong?” I asked, fearing the worst.  He said my stomach was still too big.  My first thought was that I would be fat for the rest of my life.  Then he broke the news, “I think you have another baby in there”.  The time warp stopped, and I echoed my familiar, “You’ve got to be kidding!”  The words had not completely escaped my mouth when the next child began her journey to freedom.

 

The second child arrived as the first, into a world of excitement.  This second gift of a perfect child now joined the center stage with her sister.  My doctor stood with a look of amazement and delight.  How did he miss two heartbeats through all those months of examinations?  His colleagues would not let him live this one down.  Throughout all this excitement, all I could think of was two babies.  Two babies!  What wonderful gifts from God.  These gifts will change our lives forever.  These gifts were sent by God to touch all in their path, and I am truly blessed to be the receiver.