My baby brother turns 57 today.
He is my parents’ third child.
Mom was shocked, rather than thrilled, to hear she was pregnant in the fall of 1958.
And for several good reasons.
Her husband had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis only a few months earlier.
The progress of the disease meant he would soon give up his job.
She had just signed a teaching contract to support her family.
Then she found out she was pregnant.
In the late 1950s, most teachers had to resign once they were showing.
Mom was 5’1″ and thin.
She would be showing by Christmas.
For some reason, the school superintendent didn’t ask her to resign.
But Mom still worried.
She had only a 2 year teaching degree and needed to finish her 4 year degree.
It was already nearly impossible while caring for the 2 kids they already had.
How would she do it with a baby, too?
She would have to drive to the hospital because her husband’s vision was poor.
The hospital was 30 miles away.
Plus the baby needed blood transfusions at another hospital to combat Rh factor.
She wished this baby wasn’t coming.
Until an older woman offered Mom some life-affirming advice. “This baby will be a blessing to you,” the woman told her. “You may not believe that now, but God has a reason for this new life. One day, you will look back and understand. And you won’t be able to imagine a world without this child.”
This woman, whose name no one in our family remembers, was a prophet.
My brother is my parents’ only son. He was born with his mother’s red hair. His presence kept his father from dwelling on his disease. From infancy, my brother’s brilliant blue eyes gleamed with humor. He filled every room with laughter and still does. He married a red-head and they have 2 red-headed daughters.
When Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she lived with his family for 6 years.
Now that she’s in a memory care unit, he visits her several times a week. His red hair is going gray, but the brilliant blue eyes still radiate laughter. When she sees him, she grins from ear to ear. He takes her to church on Sunday and then to their house for Sunday dinner.
She can’t imagine a world without him. Neither can I.
Perhaps your unborn child was just given a special needs diagnosis. Perhaps the existence of this new life blows your future plans out of the water. Perhaps you are shocked, overwhelmed, and don’t trust what God is doing. Perhaps you don’t see a way through this new reality.
Perhaps you wish this baby was not coming.
If you are in such a place today, I would like to pass along the advice God’s proven true in our family for 57 years. This baby will be a blessing to you, though you may not believe that now. God has a reason for this new life. One day, you will look back and understand. And you won’t be able to imagine a world without this child.”
For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans for welfare and not for calamity
to give you a future and a hope.
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