God Bless the Child

(You can open this link and have it playing in another window while you read...it's just a song from Billy Holiday that seemed somewhat fitting, in title at least...this version, Stanley Turrentine, is quite lovely.)
We are getting down to crunch time. Many people have asked if I am stressed about our upcoming move to the North Pole. (Move? Oh shoot, is that THIS Christmas?) Either I am hiding it well or I really don't feel that stressed. Seriously, what's to stress? I mean, we are only uprooting our entire family, pulling kids from school and away from friends, driving through the snow and ice to the frozen tundra of the upper midwest, two days after Christmas....no stress... My real answer: there are moments....like last week, on the 5 minute drive to Madeline's school when Aidan, Madeline and Lily somehow managed to end up, all three in a tizzy over, oh I dunno, NOTHING. Images of 3 days in the car, four rambunctious kids, one frozen grandma, blizzards and gross hotels flashed through my mind and I just started to laugh. We couldn't even get to school without someone saying or doing something (or nothing at all perhaps!) that irritated everyone else in the car...they were probably not even aware of each other's presence until someone breathed too loudly or something crazy like that. There are moments....truly there are. My biggest worry though is that the kids will get to MN and realize we aren't really going to be neighbors with Santa Claus, their hopes smashed into a million, frozen pieces...such a harsh reality. Really.

And then there are moments like today that put everything into perspective. I was at the second-hand store trying to sell off some baby clothes and get a few necessities for MN when I asked Madeline:

"Madeline, do you like the orange coat or the green coat for Liam?"

"Um, I like the green, no, no, the orange one," she replied, running off to find Lily, hidden in the middle of some clothes rack somewhere. 

A lovely woman turned at the scene and asked hesitantly in a slight English accent, "Is his name Liam?"

"Yes," I said. 

"My son's name was Liam. I just love that name. He passed though," she said gently, a tear rolling down her cheek. "His favorite color was orange. My daughter and I picked it out for him just like that, made it his color," she added. 

"I am so sorry," I said. "How old was he?"

"Three," she replied, now fully choked up. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you sad," she continued, holding back the weeping.

"Oh no," I said reassuringly. "There is so much suffering all around us. We can't turn away from it. How did he pass?" I asked. 


"When did he pass?" I asked. 

"A year ago," she whispered. Liam looked at her, his bright blue eyes smiling and she smiled back, wiping away the tears. "I want to see you in your orange coat!" she said sweetly to him. I smiled at her, putting the green coat away and laying the orange one across my stroller. 

"Orange it is," I said to her sad smile. 

Madeline came back on the scene. "Mom, I'm HUNG-ARY!" 

"Ok, let's pay for our things and we'll go have some lunch."

"Thank you for sharing your story with us," I told the woman as I headed out the door she held open for us. 

"Bye little Liam!" she answered. 

To answer the question: No, for the most part, I am not stressed. In the grand scheme of things, this move is a walk in the park....a very, very cold and snowy park but a walk, none-the-less. 

And to the woman whose pain I cannot imagine, God Bless you and your Liam. May the memory of precious, orange outfits and loving, baby-boy smiles keep you forever warm and embraced. To you I offer the only thing I can think of (a blessing taken from Numbers 6:24-26):

"May the Lord bless you and keep you; May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace."


  1. Thanks Karen - sometimes you really put it all into perspective...

  2. Thanks Karen - sometimes you really just put it all into perspective...

  3. I can't see the keyboard! Thanks for keeping it real for all of us!

    See you soon!


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