Baby Asher

Many of you have asked me the story behind the cover picture on my Facebook page. I want to tell you. I want you to know who Asher is. Honestly I haven’t had the words to adequately describe the experience.

So, I wrote him a letter in hopes to honor Lindsey and let her son know what a remarkable mother he has.

Today marks one week since baby Asher was born. He lived outside the womb for 24 hours. In that time, he was adored by all who were fortunate enough to meet him. No one treasured him more than his mother, Lindsey. I will never forget following her hand through the lens of my camera as she gently ran her finger along the contours of his little frame. She didn’t miss a single detail. She made sure she knew every line in his palm and wrinkle in his foot. She breathed in the smell of his skin. She delicately touched his head, feeling his baby soft hair beneath her finger tips. She memorized his face. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

I am one of the fortunate few who met this special child and told him how precious he was. I will not go into details about the time I witnessed of Asher’s life on this earth. It’s not my story to tell. When Lindsey is ready, she will tell it and eventually I will write more of this little one who left such a huge imprint on my heart.

Asher Knox MartindaleDear Asher,

One week ago, today, we were all anxiously awaiting your arrival. I had met your mom and dad only the day before, but this experience would bond us for a lifetime.

From the moment you came into this world, you were adored. Your mama had a head start on the rest of us. She had been feeling your kicks and movements in her belly for months. You were her constant companion. She loved you long before seeing you.

I had the privilege of capturing your daddy’s face the first time he saw you. He loves you so much, precious boy. It’s such a difficult thing for a dad to watch his child struggle, knowing he cannot step in and save the day. Because he would have, darling. He would have traded places with you in a moment. You could see it all over his face.

Here is what I want you to know, little one. Your mom is so brave. Her courage is more than admirable. She has fought for you from the very beginning. She knew that medical facts showed little chance you would survive. She heard the doctor’s words and knew the odds that were stacked against you. She also knew that she would carry you, in her belly, as long as she could. She would give you life and if only for a moment, hold you in her arms, sheltering you from the coldness of this world, whispering lullaby’s in your ear.

I was witness to incredible love, sweet Asher. Your mama loves you extravagantly.

She wants all who know her, and those who don’t, to hear your story and know your name. You were a little champion. I am so, so grateful to have met you. You were wonderfully made and your life has great purpose.

Your mommy and daddy miss you, darling. There are so many tears. There are also beautiful memories of a day filled with…you. Your life. Your story. Your purpose.

Your legacy will continue. Your name will be spoken in many circles. Your memory will outlive us all. Those who know your mom are forever changed by her courage, faith and unconditional love.

You are beautiful. You are loved. You are chosen. Now may you rest in the arms of the Savior who spoke life into being. You are safe. You are well. You are home.

Love and Light,
Joy
(the girl behind the lens)

To my Son’s Wife

3F9B1096Dear Daughter-in-law,

I have been thinking about you a lot lately. I know that sounds strange since my boys are only 5 and 7, but I can’t help thinking about their future. After all, I am the one who has been with them from the moment their past began.

I hear horror stories about mother-in-laws. It’s easy for me to say, “That’s ridiculous! She’s crazy! I’ll never act like that!” Truth be told, I don’t know how I will act when he falls head over heels for you. I would hope I will be supportive and not overbearing, loving and not smothering, wise counsel and not unsolicited advice.

Here’s the thing…I think I understand a little better why mother-in-laws get the “Crazy Lady” label. Some of us have trouble letting go of being the primary girl in his life. Some of us aren’t sure how to transition from being the last to wish him sweet dreams before sleep and the first to greet him in the morning, to the one you have to remind him to call.

There’s just something about a mother and son that is too precious to wrap words around. There is something about the space in a mother’s heart for the baby she raises into a man. There is a meshing of sorts that cannot be undone. And I’m not so sure it should have to be.

Please understand, I do not, nor have I ever, lived for my boys. I believe that to live is Christ. Everything else is a futile attempt at purpose. I’m not going to tell you that I gave up everything and sacrificed my life for them. We all make sacrifices. It comes down to what we are willing to sacrifice for. That looks different for everyone. Honestly, my life is so much fuller, richer and exciting because of my children. I cannot imagine what I would be doing were I not their mother.

I want to ask that you see one thing very clearly. That is, I have made every effort to instill in my children that there is only one opinion that matters. God’s. He is the great Creator. He chose exactly how they would be put together and how their mind, heart and spirit would work together and sometimes against each other. No one knows them better than He. Not me, not their earthly father, not even you, though I know that’s hard to hear.

So I have begun praying. For you, for him, for me…I’m praying that nothing will ever come between him and his relationship with the one who knows him best. I’m praying that you will encourage him to grow his relationship with Christ and always place it as highest priority. It may not seem like it now, but if that relationship is healthy, your relationship stands a much better chance of being strong and wildly fulfilling.

I could make a list of all the things I wish for you and him. All the things I want in a wife for my son. Honestly darling, I want nothing but God’s will. All else is fleeting and empty.

Please believe me when I say that I do not want to be regarded, by you or anyone, a monster-in-law. I am working on me. I have much to work on. I am also praying that God will guard my son’s heart, mind and spirit against confusion. That he will not mistake lust for love, manipulation for sincerity, ultimatums for resolution, insecurity for confidence, or persuasion for honesty.

I do, at times wonder if I have already met you. If I have looked into your eyes and seen your smile. Only time will tell. Just know that I do not take the responsibility of “Mother” lightly and I am doing the best I can to raise men of integrity. I hope that you will rest in the assurance that I am covering you with love and light, while praying God’s protection over your heart, soul, mind and body.

Gratefully Yours,
Signature

The Mother is always to blame

Ri focusedI listen as his small, sweet voice sounds out the words to one of his favorite books, wishing I could bottle and save it for a day much later than this, when he has grown into a man and his voice is deep and strong.

The days are long but the years are short.” This is the epitome of that truth.

I spent the night before lying at the foot of his bed listening to his painful groans from the headache preventing his body from resting. I placed my hand on his little leg that now seems so big compared to the last time I was praying intense prayers for healing. “God, please…please lay your hand on his small frame and provide complete restoration. God, please…direct my steps to know how to properly care for him. Don’t let me miss one sign that he needs medical attention. You are the Great Physician, the Ultimate Healer. I believe you will do what you say you will do, so as I stand here with empty hands, open in reverence to you, I am thanking you for what you have already done.”

Throughout my prayer distracting thoughts are invading my mind. “What if the headache is something more? What if you don’t get to a hospital in time? What if it’s meningitis like the little boy had who passed away not long ago?” and on and on it goes.This may sound dramatic and I am a bit that.

To see such a shift in behavior from this energetic, almost 7-year-old, to this lifeless, sleepy, curled up child was shocking. Why does it take something like this to make me ask myself, Why don’t I enjoy every moment of his energy?! Why when my child is sick, does it make me question every motive I’ve had for the last 6 years of his life. Why does it make me feel like a horrible, neglectful mother?

This night, he is a little better. The fever has now set in and he shivers as the warmth from his body attempts to warm the cool sheets of his bed. I go to kiss his forehead and he says, “Mom, will you pray?”

“Yes, Darling. I just prayed. Did I miss something?”

“Will you pray for me to feel better and that Caden won’t get sick?”

I sat down on his bed and took his hand. “God, thank you. Thank you for Riley and his faith in you. Thank you for his energy and life. Thank you that he’s mine. Please heal him. Thank you for healing him. We know you are faithful to fulfill all promises made so we proclaim your goodness and thank you for his complete healing. Please keep Caden safe from sickness and pain. Father, we know all required of us is that we ask for what you will so willingly give. Thank you. You are strong and powerful God, Creator of the Universe, and yet you pause to meet us here. Thank you. We trust you. We believe you. We love you. In Jesus name, Amen.”

“I’ve never heard you pray like that before.” Ri says.
“Really?” I respond. Is that bad or good?”
Long pause…”It’s good!…I think? I don’t know yet?” He says as he turns on his left side and pulls the covers up to his ears.

“Okay buddy. Time for sleep.”

“Okay, mom. Night. Oh, hey, mom.”

“Yes, love?”

“Do you know how come I can run so fast?”

“How?”

“When I wanna get somewhere, I run, and there’s no slow down or off switch. I only know how to go fast.”

“I can definitely see that, Ri. You are a great runner.” I say in response.

“Yeah, I am.” he says sleepily.

“Goodnight boys. I love you.”

“Goodnight, mama.” Air kisses fly back and forth across the dark room before I start down the stairs.

“The days are long, but the years are short.” This statement made by a brilliant mom of 3 has never rung more true to me. There will be no bottling up of sweet voices, only memories and those are only as accurate as my mind portrays them to be.

I want to savor these moments of childhood before I look around and they’re gone.

What do you think? Does your mind immediately go to the worst scenario when your child(ren) is sick? Do you pray more when you feel desperate? Why is that? What can we do, especially as mothers, to relinquish control on a daily, sometimes hourly basis?

 

Wednesday Wanderings: Sons

 

© Joy Cannis and Even A Girl Like Me, 2012

“As the mother of a son,
I do not accept that alienation from me is necessary
for his discovery of himself.
As a woman, I will not cooperate in
demeaning womanly things
so that he can be proud to be a man.

I like to think the women in my son’s future are counting on me.”
~ Letty Cottin Pogrebin ~