My wife (Vicki) and I were gifted with the world’s three greatest kids. I’m not open to debate about that. (Even though I can see your side where your kids are concerned.) I don’t know why we were so blessed though I know the answer lies in God’s wonderful giving nature. Fortunately my kids took after their mother in giftedness, attractiveness and intellect. My part of the deal was to keep all my questionable traits to myself. I can tell you this, for sure, the journey we began the day God gave us our first, has been the richest of our lives.
I now have two beautiful granddaughters…the most recent being born to Kelly and Doug, Jr. nearly one year ago, named Remi, a beautiful, little, blue-eyed marvel, who is the delight of her parents, and the pride and joy of her Oma and Poppa. Every time I see her I am “Remi-fied” by her. There is a slight problem however. Remi lives in California and we live in Ohio. We are working with that though. Do you know a good travel agency?
My first granddaughter, Skylar, was born to Jenny and Daniel coming up on three and a half years ago. At different times I refer to her as Sky-baby (gift from heaven to us) and Skylar-ella (because she was so taken with the Disney story of Cinderella). Sky-baby is the most beautiful, brown-eyed little pre-schooler in the world. Her excitement over the adventure of life is contagious.
I believe the same thing about our granddaughters that I did about about our children. They are the world’s best of all grandkids! And, I can scarcely contain myself here, we have two more grandchildren on the way…Christi and Matt, due in August and Jenny and Daniel, due in September…praise God!
What I wish to say next will take a little longer…and will find me reaching for kleenexes now and again. When our precious Skylar was born it was immediately clear that problems existed. We never dreamed that she would spend the next 33 days in ICU at Kosair Childrens Hospital in Louisville. She looked so sick…and seemed so weak. She was on oxygen, had low muscle tone in her trunk region and couldn’t nurse. So a feeding tube was inserted through her nose. Because of reflux issues a stomach surgery was suggested and done. Those days were filled with concerns…prayers…tears…family coming together…and hope. Sky-baby got to go home finally with a feeding tube inserted at the top of her stomach, which she has to this day. It would require about 7 months for the family to accept the diagnosis of “Kabuki” syndrome…a rare and random genetic disorder. It took so long partly because of our unwillingness to accept it and partly because this diagnosis comes about as the result of a process of elimination. Many, many tests and procedures were part of Skylar’s early months. Our concerns for Skylar included…head size, hearing, speech, immune system response, ear infections (she has had the tubes installed three times now), walking, eating, reflux, and mental capacity just to name a few. Skylar’s mom and dad were incredibly strong through all of this…through many tears, questions, and waiting without answers. Because of Skylar’s uniqueness they have had to anticipate and wonder about many concerns that the vast majority of parents never have to think about.
Skylar is now nearly three and a half years old. She is coming tomorrow to visit us during Spring break with her mother who is also a school teacher. She is the most amazing little girl who gives wonderful hugs and kisses. She dances divinely. She is coming to play with her poppa, swing on our tree swing, watch the birds at our feeders and pet our neighbor’s big white dog we call Ghost. We will watch videos and she will sign “More.” She will tell us in her own creative way about the baby growing inside her momma. But she will insist that she is her momma’s baby too. She will smile and I will forget all about things like taxes, bills and colonoscopies. She will hug me and I will feel on top of the world.
And I was thinking as I considered God’s grace to us in giving us Skylar and seeing us through to this point…what if I could go back? What if I could meet with God before Sky’s coming? What if God made me an offer? For your first grandchild I can give you this little “Kabuki” girl…or, if you prefer, I could give you a baby with perfect health. It’s your choice. Which will it be? My reply would be immediate! I can imagine no other first grandbaby than our Skylar. How would I begin to tell you all that she means to us…all that God has taught and is teaching us through her? Our faith is stronger…our love is purer…our hope is more vibrant…our joy more complete…our ministry more compassionate…our comfort more sweet….because she is here and is ours.
Dear God, I choose what You choose for me and mine. If it breaks our hearts, it will be to make them again more tender and strong. If it tests our faith, it will be to make it more precious. If it makes us weary, it will be to cause us to lean more upon You. If it leaves us wondering why, it will cause us to wait upon You. If it isolates us, You will be our Companion. If it takes us out of this world, why then…we will get to hear you say, “Welcome home, child!” Yes…that is my choice.