Our Island Child

Unexpected little face at the window of my womb. Our muffin, our raspberry, a blue egg in our nest. I had hoped you would come sooner than later but dared not hope too hard—and here you are. Our island child.

I’ve written about you before, dreamed about you. I’ve seen your blue eyes, cradled your body, maybe even heard your name. But there was a time when I would have laughed had I been told you’d come into being among patchwork fields and sleepy villages, on a faraway island set like a ruby in the eastern sea. And yet you could not have been otherwise. Here is where your father came into being, here is where my heart joined to his, and here is where you, a seed gently poked into the russet earth, will unfurl your first leaves.

How I wish you could know what I myself knew as a child: the cabin hidden among evergreens, a refuge overlooking a cool, green lake where the loon cries; or the yellow farmhouse, warm and safe above a cow-studded pasture and a murky creek. You will never taste my Grandma’s saskatoon pancakes or ride in my Grandpa’s tractor—but I know you will make your own memories, sweet and bright, as I did. I pray the pattern of leaves and twigs and berries will be imprinted on your heart as surely as it was on mine.

And I pray your father’s passion for Truth will burn in you like a golden light, defying the darkness. We cannot protect you from every evil, but we can prepare you to face it. No matter how weak we may be, we promise to love you, small one, and by our love may you too come to know and love Love Himself, He who is why we are. You’ll discover beauty and goodness in this world, but remember that such wonder-filled momentsare fleeting hints of what is to come. Yes, never forget that this world is indeed your home, but it is not Home.

Together, with your father and I and whoever else may join our nest, we will grow and we will become what we are created to be: a family, journeying toward reunion with our Family in Heaven.


My Family, I Love You

O world, you do not know how wonderful a family truly is, because you do not know what a family truly is.

Have you ever felt your mother’s fingers comb through your hair, or your father’s arms lift you onto his shoulders? Have you ever walked barefoot through a field with your sisters or raced through the garden with your brothers? I have. I remember grinning with delight to see my parents appear at the schoolroom door to whisk me away, when other children groaned and spurned their parents’ affection. I remember stealing back my wailing brother from an old woman’s arms and soothing him as only I could. And when no other girl in the crowd seemed to understand my heart, I knew my sisters would—I knew that every late-night talk in the moonlit darkness would weave us three tighter, like a braid, and strengthen us for tomorrow, no matter our squabbles of today.

Love is flexible; it is not limited to laughter and embraces and kisses. Changing diapers and folding laundry, serving rather than dictating, biting your tongue rather than lashing out, and even rising up to be bold with the truth when you’d rather avoid confrontation—a family will stretch your heart to fit more than just yourself. No matter that I’ve grown up and moved far, far away from them, today my heart yet carries a mother and father, two sisters, and five brothers. Even when their weaknesses (or mine) threaten to shrivel my heart, they never succeed, because I know what a family is, and I know that if we but cling to the goodness in each other, we will only become greater.

For a family is the forge in which gold emerges.