Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Thoughts on My Firstborn's Birthday

Thirty-one years ago today, the birth of my first-born son created a family; where once there had been two, now there were three.  The couple became parents in the month of December, no less.  I remember dressing my baby boy up in red and laying him under the Christmas tree on a green quilt for a special picture—he truly was our gift from God so we named him “John.”  When we despaired of ever having children due to infertility issues, he came.  While I thrilled the first time I heard his heartbeat, seeing him for the first time after nearly thirty hours of labor was amazing.  The child for whom we prayed had come and I was ecstatic.  Today I remember.
A month ago, I stood and watched while my firstborn son became a dad to his beautiful gift of Grace.  I was there when the couple became parents and watched the amazing transformation from two to three—the birth of a family.  And soon, we will dress his little one up in red and lay her on the same green quilt under my tree and give thanks for her birth.  My little boy has grown into a strong man who loves and respects his wife and daughter and works hard to provide and care for them.  I am so proud of the person he has become—a man of integrity, honesty and hard work, a kind soul.
But tonight my thoughts are lost in the wonder of that night thirty-one years ago.  We prepared for childbirth but nothing can even begin to prepare an individual for the thrill of becoming a parent.  It is an exhilarating and terrifying experience and one that is overwhelmingly about love—love that is complete, total and all consuming—an immediate love between parent and child, the fruit of love between lovers.  But my happy thoughts are mixed with sorrow for the family that began with the birth of my firstborn has been torn apart because of the actions of another.  Our family is like a boat lost from its moorings and struggling to stay afloat in the angry waters of a perfect storm.  All that we believed in and treasured has been challenged and broken by betrayal.  So tonight I weep.
I weep because the man I thought I knew and certainly loved betrayed our children and me.  I weep because the dreams I cherished when we became parents have been destroyed.  I weep because my children weep.  I weep because I feel sorrow and compassion for the young mother, who once was me, with hope and fear in her heart.  I weep because I now know how her “storybook romance” turned out—that her prince became a frog.  I weep because holidays will never be the same; birthdays are forever altered.  I weep because my precious granddaughter will never know grandparents who are a complete marital unit.  I weep because the family I thought I had has been so drastically and forever changed.  I weep, wipe my tears, blow my nose and then weep some more.  Tonight I weep.
I sense there will be many more days of weeping as we end out this year of horrendous imposed change and loss.  In a few days I will remember the day I took vows as a bride and became a wife.  I am sure I will weep then.  Then Christmas will come.  Last year we were all together in the city on the bay—our last as an intact family—the last family portrait, last gathering, last celebration.  Christmas Day will forever be the big “D” day—when he asked me for a divorce and I spent the day in my darkened room sobbing into a pillow to stifle my screams.  After the first of the year, my youngest child’s birthday will arrive. Last year her father and I celebrated together with her; this year will be different—she and I will weep.  And then we will stop and remember the day our lives came crashing down with the shattering of our front door.  And we will recall the horror of police cars, handcuffs and mug shots.  I’m sure we will weep as we pause and remember.
“Life breaks and falls apart,” so goes the song.  Cruel words, cold hearts, broken vows and shameful choices create deep wounds, lonely aches, bitter nights and wasted years.  These things I know well.  I am living in the “life breaks and falls apart” place.  I understand bitter and burning tears.  I am waiting for the promise of the song, however—that none of this will go unredeemed.  I’m waiting for the place where grace will be amazing.  The shattering I understand, the redeeming I am waiting for.

The cruelest world, The coldest heart
The deepest wound, The endless dark
The lonely ache, The burning tears
The bitter nights, The wasted years

Life breaks and falls apart, But we know these are
Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled, It may be unrestored
But when anything that's shattered is laid before the lord
Just watch and see, It will not be unredeemed

For every choice that led to shame
And all the love that never came
For every vow that someone broke
And every life that gave up hope

We live in the shadow of the fall, But the cross says these are all
Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled, It may be unrestored
But when anything that's shattered is laid before the lord
Just watch and see, It will not be unredeemed..  (Words by Selah)


  1. I'm so sorry. :( I've wished so many times that children like ours would never have had to know this type of pain and betrayal. And, for us -- the ones who innocently married and were so in love -- it's hard to explain the way we feel. I've felt used, abused, and like all of my married life was a total lie. I weep for me. I weep for my children. I weep for my grandchildren. I weep for others such as you who are going through this same pain.

    For all of the grief, there is still a flame of hope that shines brighter.

    I'm so glad we've connected through this blog.

  2. Thank you, Clara, for the kind comments. Please email me at