My family has just celebrated the third Christmas without my dad’s physical presence. Christmas day and again last night we were laughing about something Daddy had said and some of the things he did. We have a lot of outrageous and humorous recollections of family-famous sayings. My father had an awesome sense of humor. No one was having a sad recollection of him. He’d started having strokes in 1980 and had about ten in the years following up until 2007. In the last years he walked slowly or on a walker until he became bedridden and we took him almost everywhere until it was not possible. That is a miracle. No one has so many strokes and is still able to talk and joke … and in most cases—live. That was one of our family miracles.
My dad’s stubbornness was another family miracle. He once told my sister that he was ready to go home but he wanted the youngest of his four grandchildren to be old enough to remember him. I believe that grandchildren were the vehicle God used for my dad’s saving grace. Doctors said he was dead twenty years ago. That is a miracle.
All of us have been together this Christmas/New Year’s holiday. Usually there are other blessings we celebrate during this time. My niece’s birthday is two days after Christmas and my oldest nephew’s birthday is three days after Christmas.
My nephew has a testimony and knows it. He was a miracle baby.
About the time he was born I’d just been transferred from a self-contained classroom for preschoolers with ROP to being itinerant. My youngest sister had moved to Texas where she was a speech therapist for a retirement home. My mother admonished her for driving that long distance home alone at five months pregnant. A bit after getting to my mom’s she was not feeling well and later my parents took her to Woman’s Hospital where she was admitted.
After a few days of drugs to strengthen the baby’s lungs and make him remain in utero he decided to come anyway.
There were all types of complications that arose for him. He weighed only 1 pound and 12 ounces. One of the pediatric ophthalmologists who sees a large number of my students had diagnosed him with retinopathy of prematurity. He developed heart/lung bleeding and had surgery to have that defect repaired. Then he had a stroke which led to mild cerebral palsy on his right side.
When he was allowed to come home the following April, it was the original time that he was supposed to be born. The ROP had gone into remission. He came home with a nasal candela that he had to wear most of the day. He was on a respiratory monitor which was to sound an alarm if he should stop breathing. He also had swallowing difficulties up until he was about one year old.
That was about the time that during a visit to a doctor, my sister was told that he would never walk, talk or sit up on his own. His home nurse had accompanied them to that visit and reassured my sister that the doctor didn’t know what she was talking about. She saw something else in my nephew.
One day when my sister came home from work, the nurse said, “Let your son show you what he can do.” My nephew, who had been crawling around on the carpet, got up and ran across the room to his mother. When he started talking it was nonstop business!
A few years later he was sitting in my lap at a local library computer. He was too tiny to sit in the chair without me as his booster seat. The librarian thought he was a baby playing on the computer until he stopped to watch him operate the mouse. Because his right hand was weaker from the cerebral palsy my daughter and I had switch the mouse pad and the keyboard around and taught him how to use the mouse with his left hand.
The librarian said, “WOW! That baby can use a computer!”
Grumbling under his breath without looking up from what he was doing, my nephew said, “I’m not a baby. I’m four years old.”
These pictures are from his fifteenth birthday. He still has a mild problem with the CP on his right side, however his educational re-evaluation showed his reading level is that of a college graduate.
Sometimes I wish the doctor who said he would not walk, talk, or sit up could see him now. She did not take into consideration that he was born into a praying family. He’s definitely another family miracle.