So Do I
My book, Caution: Children Should Come With Warning Labels, is intended to be funny, because let’s face it, sometimes kids are funny little creatures. They squiggle and giggle and see the world so differently than their moms and dads that it spreads smiles, even when things aren’t going the way we’d like them to.
But, sometimes, being a parent isn’t funny. For some, it’s downright sad. Being the mom of four bright and beautiful daughters has been a bittersweet experience for me, one that I’d never exchange for anything in the whole wide world. But, it’s not always enough.
Our oldest, Samantha (Sam as she likes to be called), got married last fall. Now, that was bittersweet. We love her and her husband, Sean, and admittedly are extremely happy for her and for the opportunity to open our arms to a son in our family. But, he’s not our first son.
For Mother’s Day, the four bright and beautiful girls gave me the most thoughtful gift they’ve ever given me. Dandelions and pretty rainbows are great, but they didn’t hold an emotional candle to the bracelet they had put so much thought and consideration into. Inside the velvet box sat a delicate silver bracelet, glimmering with clear crystal gems woven along its beautiful chain. Hanging from it sat one lone charm—a prayer box through which peeked one gleaming blue gem behind the outline of an angel.
The gift was spectacular, but the words meant more. “Mom, I will need something borrowed and something blue for my wedding day. It would mean a lot to me if you would share this bracelet with me on that day.”
I cried. Yes, I did. Although I try to be strong and keep it all in, there are simply times when it cannot be done. This was one of them. We didn’t say it, but we knew what the bracelet represented—it meant more than something borrowed and something blue. It represented the brother who would be the only one of her siblings who wouldn’t be there to watch her get married.
Sam’s always felt his loss more than the others. She was the only other child we had at the time. There are photos of her holding him and kissing him—mementos of a budding relationship that never bloomed. Throughout the years, she’s shared that with me.
“Mom, I still wish I had a brother. I’ve missed that in my life.”
So do I. Oh, so do I.
“Mom, he would have been 21 today. I wish I could have celebrated that day with him.”
So do I. You don’t know how much.
“Mom, I wonder what Matthew would look like now. I bet he’d be big and tall like Dad.”
So do I.
I’ve often wondered what our little boy would look like today. He was a handsome infant, perfect in every way, with his father’s face and a head full of dark hair. I’ve followed the milestones he would have followed in his life without him. I never told anybody before, but I even went outside and watched the kindergarten bus pick up the children on what would have been his first day of school. I waved when it went by, tears spilling from my eyes, wishing I was crying because he was on that bus, not because he wasn’t.
But, I can’t wish him back, although I want to so very much. I can’t take away that awful morning when our son didn’t wake up. So, I transfer my dreams to four bright and beautiful girls, knowing my life is full, but yet empty. I don’t talk about it anymore, but one bracelet changed all of that.
“All four of us would like to wear this on our wedding day. We think it’s the perfect way to remember our brother.”
So do I.
“Mom, I’m glad you like it, but I really wish that we didn’t have a reason to give it to you.”
So do I. Oh, so do I.
Note: In memory of her son, Matthew McKenna, all proceeds in April from Patti McKenna’s book, Caution: Children Should Come With Warning Labels, a humorous look at the realities of parenthood based on Patti’s experience raising four daughters, will go toward SIDS research. To order, visit the Bookstore at www.UrbanEdgePublishing.com or you can order at Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Caution-Children-Should-Warning-Labels/dp/0981532691/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1234889371&sr=1-5 .
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