Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Friendship (04/04/05)
TITLE: Linked Hands, Linked Hearts
By Nancy Hardy
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I sit at her bedside and watch her sleep restlessly. I hold her hand, a hand that I have memorized over the years. The hand that was tightly wrapped in mine as I walked her to her first day of school. The hand that was always turning the knob to my bedroom when the monsters came in the night. The hand that was reverently folded in prayer as she accepted Jesus into her heart. The hand that wiped the tears from her baby brother’s face and told him to get back on his bike and try again. I know of no greater earthly happiness than the gift of parenthood.
I set boundaries; she attempted to break them. She ‘deliberately’ pushed my buttons; I ‘purposely’ embarrassed her. She asked me if she could get her nose pierced, I asked the Lord for added strength. I know of no greater earthly test in patience than the gift of parenthood.
Our relationship goes way beyond biological kinship. She is my kindred spirit, my sister in Christ, and my best friend. We laugh ’til we cry, we shop ’til we drop and we pray ’til something happens. We talk into the wee hours of morning. She shares her fears, her joys, and her dreams. I share my reassurance, my happiness, and my wisdom. Parenting has its nerve-wracking moments; it will drive you to your knees in urgent supplication faster than anything else will. But the pure joy of being a mom far out weighs the intense contractions of their pre-mature puberty.
Times flies. Here I sit, awaiting the birth of my first grandchild. My thoughts selfishly wander. Will it be a girl? Will she take my best friend away from me? Will she be my replacement? I know I’m being silly, but she is my only daughter. Emily squeezes my hand drawing me from my contemplation.
“Another contraction, love?”
“No, just reading your thoughts.”
“Well, you know the rule … knock before entering.” I smile as her piercing green eyes lock with mine.
“Don’t worry so much, Mom, you’ll get wrinkles.” Suddenly she clutches my hand again, as a contraction interrupts her attempt to reassure me.
Eighteen hours later, I am a grandmother. I enter the dimly lit room. There’s my angel, holding a tiny cherub of her own.
“All ten fingers and toes?” I ask.
“Yes, with Brian’s dimples, my red hair, and your hands. Oh Mom, I wish he could be here. I mean, it’s our first child and…”
“I know, baby. He’ll be here soon. His CO phoned about an hour ago; he’s on his way. ‘Till then, you’re stuck with me.”
“Mom, I didn’t mean…”
“Shh, I know.”
For some reason my trepidation returns. As much as I try to hide it, she can sense my foolish insecurity. Again, she takes my hand. Silently we communicate. She tells me what words cannot. It is from within that muted conversation I find peace.
“So, have you decided on a name?” I softly inquire, breaking the comfortable stillness.
“Timothy James,” Emily proudly replies. My face reflects a kaleidoscope of emotions; her lips twitch, as she tries not to laugh. My final expression is pure joy.
I futilely attempt to cover up the obvious. “Now Emily, you know that, while I may have been temporarily consumed with jealousy, I would’ve been just as thrilled if the Lord had graced us with a precious bundle of pink.”
“Yeah, right Mom.” My daughter chuckles. She is a breath-taking vision of a first-time mother. I give her a look of mock rebuke before cradling my extremely handsome grandson.
“Welcome to the world, Timothy James. I’m your Grandma Lilith, yes I am. I’ll be the one that pampers you to the nines just before giving you back to mommy. Oh yes, I will…”
“Mom!” Now it is Emily’s turn to chide me. I choose to ignore her and continue to croon into the ear of my precious, sleeping legacy.
Once my daughter falls into slumber, I look up to the ceiling and give the Lord a grateful wink. I thank Him for answered prayer.
I sit by Timothy’s bassinette and watch him sleep peacefully. I hold his hand, a hand I will memorize over the years.
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