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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Up and Down (04/02/09)

TITLE: Pondering the Past and Present
By Judy Meyers


My eyes were fixed on her stomach. I watched as her protruded swollen belly heaved up and down. With each breath, she remembered what the Lamaze nurse had taught her. It would help her relax. The nurse had said that each time she forced herself to relax, that contraction would be equivalent to three or four contractions of hard labor. I fought back the tears, as I watched my little baby (who was not a baby anymore) give birth to her own.

Somehow, I began to wander back in my own past, as I stayed close to my young mother-to-be. It was an amazing journey as I pondered the many steps through my own life. Steps, that eventually brought me to this hospital room.

I didn’t start this journey into my past, at the beginning of my life. As I watched my daughter heaving, I remembered watching my father as he gasped for his last breaths. Dad had been diagnosed with “junky lungs.” Eventually, I heard the medical term, Pulmonary Fibrosis. He had never smoked in his life and yet he was dying with a disease common to lifetime smokers. He gasped for air. I could remember the days of coming into the family room where he was resting in his recliner. He was blind as well. His Macular Degeneration had slowly diminished his eyesight over the past seven years. So, he didn’t see me enter the room. Each time I watched him, I looked closely at this belly to see if he was still breathing. One morning, after he had become very weak, I walked into room, alongside his hospital bed and his tummy was not moving up and down. He was gone.

I was my dad’s little girl. Each year of my life brought different challenges. I admit that when I followed my father around, in everything he did, I did not have a clue where my life would go. I really didn’t care. I was well provided for and I never once thought of leaving home. When I left home, marrying the man I loved, I was sure that my father was anxious to take me to the altar. Although he never said it, I can imagine that he wanted to experience the “empty nest” before he was too old to enjoy it.

In the forty years of having my own life and family, I can understand my father’s joys and frustrations. From my years of being a headstrong young person to the years of wrapping my heart around my grandchildren, has brought me up the road of joy and down the road of heartache. Each experience has taught me something. In bad situations, I learned, “what not to do." In the good times, I have learned “what to do."

My father was a godly man. He had been a minister of the Gospel for over 67 years. He was a tender and affectionate man with an ability to teach me right from wrong. I embraced those lessons. I wanted that kind of parenting to exude from me. I gave it all I knew how to give. But, now, I must realize that my children are old enough to make decisions for their own lives.

This little mother to be, in a hospital room getting ready to deliver her first child has made her own choice. This baby is not a child produced by a loving couple. This baby will always have questions about his beginnings. There will be the challenges of every day life that this mother will face. My journey now, is to love her and love her baby boy. As I do, maybe she will learn what it means to become a parent. I didn’t know those lessons until I gave birth to my first one.

Years have come and gone since my first child was born. I can truly say that God has been a Patient Father. Does He watch me the way that I have watched my children? Right now, caught between the past and the future, I am sitting in a hospital room in the present. In a few short moments, a new life will be born and the process will start all over again. Maybe there will be a day when my own little girl will tell her story. Then, someday, her son will tell his story.... and on, and on, it goes.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 04/10/09
Great alliteration in your title, which fits your piece perfectly.

This was a bit light on topic, perhaps.

Blessings on your family!
Patricia Herchenroether04/12/09
You have written a nice story event. It brought to mind my own daughter's first childbirth. Nostalgic.(sigh)
Mary McLeary04/13/09
I appreciate the wisdom in this piece. Good job