A Leap of FaithFebruary 29, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Posted in Family, Me | 25 Comments
Tags: Adoption, Challenges, Children, Courage, Family, Fatherhood, Leap Year, Motherhood, Relationships
Thousands of miles and 16 leap years ago, a little boy was born in a hospital in Houston, Texas. He lived and died and knew love in those short 24 hours of February 29, 1952.
He was the second baby my grandparents lost.
The second baby born with lungs that just couldn’t do the work they were meant to do. The second baby my grandmother birthed without meeting, holding, touching. The second baby my grandfather buried under the pecan trees in their town’s small cemetery.
Their children would never live, that’s what the doctors told them.
They went home. They carried on. They tended their crops, darned their socks, and made fresh cornbread. They tried not to imagine little fingers that would never know the satisfaction of a little patch of fertile dirt. Little feet that would never shuffle across their floor. Little mouths that would never holler for second helpings from their kitchen table.
For 448 days, they carried on. 448 days.
Then, they took a leap of faith.
Unblinking, they looked right at the rigid, unspoken, stifling definition of a family in the American South of the 1950s. And they found the courage to look beyond it, to rewrite it with the words their hearts had never stopped whispering.
They adopted a baby girl. My mom.
They dressed her in bonnets to keep the hot Texas sun off her fair skin. They took her on pony rides. They held her and hugged her and savored the scent of her sweet blond curls.
They loved her like she was their own.
Because she was. She is. And so am I.
Have you ever taken a leap of faith? Ever found courage you didn’t know you had? Ever been awed by the strength of those you love?