Yesterday morning one of my best friends, my neighbor down the road with curly hair kind of like mine, a similar obsession with photographing wildflowers and a much better success rate with house plants, gardens and crafting projects, gave birth to her first child.
A beautiful baby girl.
When that baby drew her first breath from within the safe walls of a hospital made of bricks standing strong against the chilly North Dakota air, I had just landed in MInneapolis after taking the red-eye out of Las Vegas where I slept face down, hair splayed out on the tray table for nearly three hours.
When I finally landed in North Dakota, my momma and I rushed to the floral shop to buy tulips and chocolate, a small token of appreciation for the newest addition to our neighborhood, then we pointed our car toward that hospital made of bricks so that we could take a look at those tiny hands and count those toes and say hello, we’re so glad you’re here.
I’m so glad she’s here.
Now, babies are born every day. All of the people I passed on my way through the airport, all of those souls standing in line and sitting shoulder to shoulder, taking off across the sky together, have mothers who grew them and carried them and brought them into the world to grow up and drink coffee, tell stories and host dinner parties, drive cars too fast and take midnight walks, make a mean cheesecake and fall in love, fall out of love, then back again and bite their nails, own too many cats and someday, have babies of their own.
And while all of these living and breathing people, all 7.046 billion of us, have stories we can tell each other about work and family and that great restaurant we visited last night, stories we might hear over a long overdue phone call or while standing in line at the post office with a stranger, every single one of us carries with us a different story about how we came into this world.
And although we carry it with us, not every one of us is able to tell it. Because not every one of us were told–not all of us really know.
That’s the thing about humans, we may choose not to share every detail in words.
A child may never know how much he was wanted.
Or how he was a plan.
Or a surprise, a pleasant surprise.
A terrifying one.
A surprise that couldn’t be handled.
But I’ll tell you something about my friend and her husband, the couple who welcomed that beautiful baby into this cold little corner of North Dakota yesterday–yesterday they witnessed a miracle.
And they knew it.
Now their story is like everyone’s story in that it is their own. And I, as their friend down the road, am not qualified to tell it, to give justice to what it’s like to pray and worry and drive hundreds of miles to spend countless hours in doctors appointments explaining and re-explaining, planning and re-planning and spending time on procedures and money on drugs while hanging on to a hope, a hope that has hung on for years…
Five years to be exact.
That someday she will be a mother.
And he will be a father.
And they will hold their daughter, a daughter with a little splash of red hair, tiny pink cheeks, long fingers like hers and eyes like his in their arms in the brick hospital in the middle of winter on the edge of North Dakota.
Because even some of life’s most natural promises are not promised to everyone.
And then sometimes that promise does not come easy.
But when it does, well…
There are no words.
Last spring I was driving my pickup down a gravel road, coming out of the badlands and onto the highway. My friend with the curly hair like mine was my passenger and we were talking about our struggle to become mothers, another thing, besides the unruly hair, that we have in common.
My hope was dwindling, wavering and faltering after years of disappointment. Six pregnancies celebrated and then lost with nothing but an unsolved mystery, heartbreak and frustration left in their wake.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever be a mother,” I told her. “I don’t know how much more of this I can take. It might be a sign it’s not meant for us.”
She sat there beside me then, a woman with the same hope of a family, but one who had not yet seen those two pink lines.
“I just know there’s a plan. I have faith. I can see it for us,” she said. “I can see it for you.”
In my life I’ve had it and lost it…
Moving along that gravel road with my friend talking and holding on tight to her hope, I believed for her it would work out.
But I couldn’t hold that same belief for myself.
And then I got the phone call in the early morning hours of January 5th, the one with my dad’s voice on the other end of the line begging for help. The one that sent our whole life reeling with prayers and hope and desperate pleas that the man called dad, grampa, husband, Pops, brother, uncle, friend would live to hear us tell him we loved him a thousand more times.
The one that promised this man was not going to live.
But some of life’s promises are not promised to everyone.
I stood in that North Dakota wind outside of that hospital as they prepared my faltering father for a plane ride he might not survive. I watched that wind bend the trees down and cool the air and I struggled to catch the breath that I lost with the news…
I tried to imagine a world without my father…
Today my dad stopped by the house. He wore his blue jeans and boots, a checked wool vest and a cap he got free from a company he’s likely been working with now that he’s back working. I made him a cup of coffee and we sat at the counter and visited a bit about the weather and plans we have for spring when the cows come back…the things I promised him we’d do when he was lying in that hospital bed for a week working on pulling through.
Yesterday I got off a plane that flew me high above the clouds, shoulder to shoulder with a hundred other people with heartbeats and stories who were flying too…
And then we came back to the earth safe and sound so that I could hold my friend’s baby in my arms where she wiggled and opened her tiny little mouth to cry a bit before I bounced her and shushed her and told her she’s ok.
She’s got all the love in the world around her and in this world where she now lives, sometimes, miracles happen…
I know, because I have faith…
What a gorgeous post. Thank you for sharing a heart warming, saddening and beautiful post with us. X
I don’t have words. Thank you for sharing, light and love.
Thank you for sharing!
Lovely words and an even lovlier story. I hope you know you have a gift and that you will continue to share it.
Your wonderful ability to put emotions into words and share them with us. . . often leaves me with tears and/or goosebumps ! Thank you for your voice !!
Jesse, you are a true treasure! God blessed you with words, and he blessed us with you!
So happy for your friend with curly hair like yours..We walk by faith and not by sight..
Beautiful tribute to friendship, family and connection with the larger community. You are such a talented writer. Best wishes. I have three grandsons through the advances of medical science and faith.
Reblogged this on El Noticiero de Alvarez Galloso.
In this crazy online world many words get skipped over. Each word of yours is read. More than once. Thank you.
What an absolutely gorgeous post. All of your posts are beautifully written but this one was just gorgeous.
You are such a gifted writer, photographer and singer…and this piece brought me to tears…and as is posted above, your can express emotions in words like few others! Keep the faith, and we will all enjoy and appreciate your talents.
You had me at the heartstrings with this one … just beautiful. I’m so glad to know your big strapping hearty hunk of a Dad is doing well enough to stop by for coffee. And you can tell him I said that 😉
Life is so unpredictable; we may plan a trip to France and end up in Greece and never know the reason why. Our faith helps us to keep on going while giving and receiving love works in mysterious ways. Your loving words are an inspiration to us all.
Reading your post brought tears to my eyes. We had just moved back home here from Wyoming and my Dad got real sick and I had the same phone call and thank God we were here…that was in 1994…for the next three years it was a roller coaster with my Dad, the strongest man I knew…my cowboy Dad who could do anything was failing…he was older but as an only child who was very close to her Dad, it was very hard…like you it was a huge wake up call…we lost Dad October 9th 1997. I lost Mom a year later December 20th 1998…Dad was 83 and Mom was 80.
Your words are beautiful…life comes at us fast…we are never ever prepared. I love your blog…your music and your heart. I have learned from my blog that those of us who grew up in the isolated country life can connect as we know and have lived the same lives…the same journey:) I have been praying for your Dad and for your Mom…and for you all…God Bless You…you are a good daughter and a great wife…and an incredible artist with your music and the songs you sing from your heart:) Hang in there….I am praying that you will have all the kiddos you two desire.
A lot of thoughts and prayers are with you, your family and friends. Well-written, and beautifully told.
You are extraordinary.
keep faith. your time as a mother will come, regardless of how you choose it to happen. After years of trying, a good friend of mine opted to adopted instead and she morphed into motherhood before she even held her child in her arms. On wednesday he turned 2 years old and he has brought his parents the biggest joy!
Your words are so moving. I empathized when I read your post about the shock of your dad’s sudden illness. A little over a year ago, I had to imagine a world without my mother. Thank goodness, she survived. That experience taught me that miracles do happen.
I hope you’ll become a mother one day. Thanks for sharing this poignant, emotive, beautiful post.
What a beautiful story. Thanks for writing it so well.
What a lovely post! I admit that I “misted up” a bit. I too have curly, unruly hair, and I too have received that call – in 1986. Fortunately, I had a couple of days to remind my daddy that I loved him. As an only child, I was the apple of his eye, and feel extremely blessed to have known him. How astute of you to think about others’ stories! Some of the best short stories that I have read are born from observation of strangers. It is a “big” concept, and kudos to you for pinning it down so nicely!
Nathania (Nat) Langford
What a gifted, beautiful writer you are. It is amazing how you can tell a story and make me feel you are speaking directly to me. Thank you.
That was very moving.
This was such a beautiful Tribute to your friend, Megan..WOW, I just don’t know the words to express how touching your feelings written here are. You both are so lucky to have each others friendship, as she is one of the few special ones. I pray you will someday be holding your own baby too. We have a daughter who went through a lot to get their two boys, after going through heartbreaking losses. Yes, miracles do happen….we now have two lil’ cowboy grandsons to prove it. Prayers you will soon get your own miracle.
What a well-written and bittersweet article. I could really relate to you feeling so happy for your friend and her new baby, yet your own losses and hopes for children are there with you at the same time. It’s really good to hear that your Dad is on the mend and doing well. Thank you so much for your writing and photos.
Thank you for sharing..