I’ve always been a fixer. If you have a problem, I will figure out what to do and do it! Then one day my world stopped. I received a phone call from my mom. She said that my sister and her husband had just given birth to a beautiful baby boy, but he was born with a severe cleft palette. This was a total shock to me. Joyce, my wife, and I got into the car and picked up my mom. We didn’t say much as we nervously headed to the hospital. My mind was racing: What do I say? How should I respond when I see the baby?
I whispered, “Lord help me!,” as I walked into the hospital room. My sister, Sara, was standing gazing out the window as if in deep thought. She did not even realize we had come into the room. “Congratulations,” I blurted out, which seemed like the appropriate thing to say while while looking around the room for the baby.
Mom had walked over to the window for some small talk. Finally Sara turned around to speak to us. As I gave her a hug she said, “Do you want to go see the baby?” “Sure” we said as confidently and as cheerfully as we could. I wanted to be strong for her. Walking down the hall I really kind of rambled about our kids and what they were doing. I just didn’t know what to expect and I was nervous.
Sara said that she would go into the nursery and bring Andrew to the window. As she went into the room, mom said to us, “She is really scared that you wont accept her baby; so just smile and encourage her to show him to you. It will make it easier for her to show him to other people.
The curtains were pulled and my little nephew was placed as far as possible from public view. We watched with great anticipation as Sara pushed the bassinet toward us. She stopped and moved the blanket around him, but did not pick up the baby. I pointed down to the crib, and by her reading my lips she realized I wanted to see the baby. She then proceeded to pick up her little bundle, but was careful to shield his face from my view. Slowly, while all the time starring into my eyes, she seemed to be saying, “Please love me, and please, please big brother, love my baby.”
She then turned him around for me to see. With a smile on my face I said, “He’s beautiful and look at that full head of dark hair and those big hands. I think he will make a great piano player.”
My sister seemed to be relieved, and put the baby down. Walking into her room, Mom and Joyce helped her back into her bed. I gave her a hug, and whispered that she and Andrew were going to be all right. She gave my hand a squeeze as we said goodby. As we headed towards the parking deck, I realized that yes, my little nephew had some serious physical problems, and yes, things were tough. So what do I say when someone asks me what do you say in that particular situation? I respond, “Begin by just loving them and loving their baby.” Larry George