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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Parent (11/16/06)

TITLE: No Small Miracle
By Cheri Hardaway


Awestruck, I gazed at the little bundle in my arms. I gently caressed his silken head. Marveled at tiny fingers and ticklish toes. Considered how God had made him to look so much like me. I wondered what his future held. Pondered in my heart hopes and dreams for that future, nurtured during long months awaiting his arrival.

New life. No small miracle. No, it was a tremendous blessing and a huge responsibility. He was perfect in every way. And I would be a perfect parent, not like mine.

As I rocked and hummed, my mind strayed to another time. I’d been searching for a Mother’s Day card. All had sung the praises of Moms who had been there for their children, helping to make them the wonderful people they’d grown to be. How could I give her a card like that? I wouldn’t mean it. It would be a lie.

Caught back to the present by little fingers entwining my own, my heart melted anew as I watched him take in his surroundings. He had taken my hand almost as if he understood how much he needed my guidance in the years to come. And I would be there for him.

As the years flew, he took my hand less and did things on his own more. I wasn’t prepared for this. I thought it got easier as they grew. Diapers, colic, and midnight feedings… Potty training, pre-school, learning to read… Baseball, sleepovers, taking Driver’s Ed… Eventually he stopped listening to me. I found myself calling Mom more, and relying on my own wisdom less. And she was there for me.

When I shopped for Mother’s Day cards, I had a different outlook. Yes, Mom had made her mistakes. And I was making mine. But I finally understood—she had always tried to be there for me. Her intentions were always for my best because she loved me. I bought her the cards that sung her praises. And I meant every word. It wasn’t a lie.

Cancer claimed Mom’s life while my son was a young teen. God gave me the courage to give a eulogy at her funeral, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. She had gone home to her heavenly Father, and it was her wish for all in attendance to know of His forgiveness and grace.

As the years had passed, the tiny bundle had become a rambunctious toddler, full of shenanigans. The toddler became an awkward schoolboy, always ready to play a prank. The schoolboy became a gangly teen, searching for acceptance amongst his friends. He’d often been challenging and hard to handle.

These days, I gaze up at a 6’3” boy in a man’s body. The once-silky hair is now coarse and cropped close. His long fingers now fill out hands almost twice the size of my own. The smooth baby cheeks are now rough with whiskers unshaven. I still ponder what the future might hold for him.

No longer does he take my hand. His eyes often roll with impatience over things I say when I attempt to guide him in his choices. He is going his own way now. He has no interest in following me.

But he still looks like me. In fact, he has the same expression I had for my own mom so many years ago. How I wish I could spend one more day with her, mining the depths of her wisdom. How had she stood it, the distance between us, our disconnection? How had she borne the weight of my scorn?

Deep down I already knew. She had turned to One far wiser than she. She prayed for me when I was ungrateful. She loved me when I was unlovable. She had never given up on me. Neither had He.

Now, in turn, I go to my heavenly Father:

Father, I have done the best I can. My best is not perfect and is incapable of making my son understand the depth of my love for him, the desire of my heart for his best. But I will keep praying for him while he is ungrateful. I will continue to love him while he is unlovable. I will never give up on him.

And I know that he too will come to understand the depth of a parent’s love. The depth of our Father’s love. There will be new life in an old heart. It is no small miracle.

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This article has been read 1238 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Debbie OConnor11/24/06
Beautiful work. The end is particularly strong. As parents, we do the best we can and go to God for the strength to love our children when they are unloveable. I love the lessons you learned about your mom and yourself and the description of your son's physical changes. Life (physical and spiritual) is no small miracle!
Shanti Singh11/24/06
All parents can relate to this one. Parenting sure isn't as easy as we think it will be when we head into. Thanks for letting me know that I'm not alone in my times of uncertainty as a mom.
Stacey LaMontagne11/26/06
Good job!

There is hope and yet there is fear as I raise my now 3 year old. I must cling to God's promises! I wish my mom had lived to see her.

Thanks for sharing. I think you should keep writing again!
Karen Deikun11/27/06
Wow! This is both a heartbreak and an encouragement. My eyes started filling up in the first paragraph and kept on through the whole article. You have clearly shown what keeps a Christian parent going through it all - prayer and trust that God has it all in HIS hands.

Extremely well-written and griping.
Crista Darr11/27/06
Tender, heart-felt, beautiful. I'm deeply touched by this lovely piece of life.
Venice Kichura11/28/06
This is so lovely and written like a master! Heartfelt entry of the emotions we experience as parents. Well done!
Zac James11/28/06
The rotating perspective was well conceived and executed. That is a strong, gripping ending. From a beginner to a master, I say "Well done."
Betty Castleberry11/28/06
You've done an excellent job of writing both from the perspective of a parent and a daughter. We don't know what it's like to be a parent until we become one. This was well written.
Corinne Smelker 11/28/06
I actually read this earlier on this week and it resonated with me because before I became a parent I had a hard time finding a fathers day or mothers day card that reflected my less than stellar feelings about my parents.

After 5 kids my perspective has changed.

I liked this one - strong entry.
Donna Haug11/29/06
Isn't it amazing how our perspective changes! This entry makes me want to go hug my mommy - but she's on the other side of the world right now. Guess it's time for an email. Thanks for this!
Bonnie Derksen11/29/06
I would like to add my "yes" and "great" to all the previous comments. In so many ways I felt you writing my mother's-heart and my heart as a daughter. Esp. seeing as my youngest is also 6'3" and does the eye-rolling thing. Your prayer is aptly spoken as we ask our Heavenly Father to fill in the "gaps". Well written, Cherie... and welcome back to the Challenge.
Sara Harricharan 11/29/06
Great descriptions, good job!
Catrina Bradley 11/29/06
Awesome - I followed your journey through the years because I was there too. My daughter now calls more and more for advice and help. And I call on God and memories of Mom for wisdom. Beautifully written.
Rhonda Clark11/29/06
What a wonderful piece. You put tears in my eyes. It's very apparent how deeply you love all your son and I'm sure he will treasure this for many years to come.
Donna Powers 11/29/06
This is very easy to relate to. Well written and very true. I enjoyed reading this very much. Thanks for sharing this.
Suzanne R11/30/06
I must admit that the hackles went up with the scene of not finding an appropriate Mother's Day card ... I hate it when people moan about their mums. However, I soon realized that I'd been manipulated ... you WANTED a reaction so that you could make your point. I was got! Well done! And welcome back to the challenge!
Joanne Sher 11/30/06
This was so very touching and moving and emotional. I could so feel with you on this. You paint an amazing picture of these relationships that comes across as entirely genuine.