Friday, February 22, 2013

The Child We Wanted

What happens when you leave a four year old alone with tape.

Last night, freezing rain pelted our house.  It was one of those dreary nights best spent wrapped up in blankets on the couch.  It was a movie night sort of night, so I flipped on the flick I've wanted to see, "The Odd Life of Timothy Green."

About 30 minutes into the movie, I heard the patter of little feet descending the stairs and then Caleb appeared at the doorway.  He looks exhausted, but complained he couldn't sleep.  I patted the empty spot next to me and motioned him forward.  He plopped down onto the couch and snagged an end of my blanket, burying his toes under the covers.

We gazed at the screen and I tried to catch him up on the portion of the movie he'd missed.  

"You see," I began.  "The parents in the movie couldn't have kids.  In a final act of grief and acceptance, they wrote all the things they wanted in a child on little sheets of paper.  Then, they placed the papers in a box and buried it in the garden.  One night, a son emerged out of the box possessing all the characteristics written on the cards."

Caleb listened intently, clearly deep in thought.  Then he said, "Am I the child you wanted?"

It was one of those questions that practically sucked the wind out of me.  I stared at the screen, wondering how best to respond.

When Caleb was merely an image on an ultrasound screen, I had visions of what he would be like.  I never wrote a list, but certainly had expectations and dreams.  

As Caleb aged, his personality emerged.  He was different from the child I imagined.  I quickly realized different doesn't mean bad, just different.

I finally replied to Caleb's question, "Caleb, you weren't the child we wanted; You are better!"

He smiled.

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