It was sixteen years ago on March 1. My little sister was trying to go into labor. She was 16. I was living across the state of Kansas, 400 miles away. She wanted me to be with her. She is 8 ½ years younger than I am, and often saw me as a “mother”. How could I deny her?
When I got home she was still there. It was obvious by the look on her face that she was scared. So was I. I was 25 at the time, but knew very little about child birth.
It was like she was “waiting” for me to get home. Bless her heart – it took me a bit to drive 400 miles, you know?! Her contractions got more intense, but weren’t close enough together to head for the hospital.
Finally, they (the contractions) got to that point.
I sat in the back seat with my sister while my mom drove. The hospital was 30 miles away. All I knew to do was breath with her. Love her. God wasn’t a big thing in my life at the time, but I’m sure I prayed. I always “seem” to pray.
When we arrived at the hospital, they decided to admit her. From this point I remember lying in the bed beside her, rubbing her back. (She told me later that all she wanted was for me to QUIT.)
After many hours of pushing and the baby not moving, they decided to take her in for a cesarean. I felt cheated. I wanted to be there, but they only allowed one person to go into the room with her, and our mom was going to be the one.
IT’S A BOY!
He was a tiny, precious little guy. Never had I held a baby so tiny. My heart was breaking. I knew we weren’t going to be a part of his life.
Five years earlier, a situation much the same, only it was my older sister. Her circumstances were different, but at the same time she found herself in a place where she had a baby coming, but could not provide the home it needed. Some friends of ours knew a young couple that had been trying for years to have a baby, and so had helped to arrange the adoption.
I was there when my older sister had her baby too, but the adoption was handled differently. I didn’t get to hold my niece. I wasn’t even supposed to see her, but the nurse hadn’t gotten the curtain of the nursery drawn enough and so I peaked and squinted to lay my eyes on a child I would not get to hold.
This same couple was to adopt my little sister’s baby. We had about 24 hours to spend with the little guy, and then they would come and take him home.
I watched my little sister handle the situation with more grace than I’ve ever seen a 16 year old express. She knew that it was something she needed to do. She was at complete and total peace. She was resolved.
Me? My heart was breaking. I was old enough to care for this child. I would go over the scenarios in my head. Maybe I should adopt him? I was married and fresh out of college – I could do that! But, there were a lot of things to consider, and all signs point to no.
The new parents arrived. My sister wanted to meet them. To talk to them. They came into the hospital room and she greeted them with such enthusiasm. She was giving them the most precious of gifts – the gift of a child. I watched in awe as she spoke with them.
I was still falling apart inside. Hurting for myself. Hurting for her.
He turned 16 yesterday. The same age his mom was when she gave birth to him. We’ve seen pictures of him, and of course pictures of his sister too. She turned 21 two weeks ago. Someday, perhaps we will meet them face to face. Until then, we wait…
A few months ago, this same “little” sister, who is now a beautiful woman, married with children and living life like there’s no tomorrow, was having surgery. I prayed a rosary for her, asking Jesus to help me to lift her up in prayer. With each decade of the rosary, the Spirit led me to different times of my sister’s life. When she was born. When she started school. When she gave up her baby for adoption.
That was when it hit me. Jesus’ mother had done the same. She gave up her child. For us? For us! We often think about how God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son (John 3:16), but we stop there and never give a thought about the fact that Jesus had a mother.
She was the first to hold him. The first to feel the movements of our Savior. The first to touch His tiny hand. To feed Him. The first to hear Him laugh. To see Him smile. To hear His first words. To see His first steps.
She was there to see Him, hanging on a tree for YOU and for me, and then to hold His lifeless body in her arms.
Never forget the sacrifices people make…for YOU.
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