I admire many things about all of my friends. I admire the sweetness and spiritual peace my friend, Elisabeth in CA, always seems to carry. She is such a genuine and loving person that at times when I think of someone I know who enjoys parenthood thoroughly, even on hard days, her face almost always come to mind. I don't recall an encounter where she didn't wear her beautiful smile most of the time. Today I really enjoyed remembering something she wrote for our ward's collection of talents. I hope she doesn't mind me sharing it with you. She isn't one to desire loads of attention, the humble ones usually don't need the spotlight like some of us live wires do. I miss my friend.
by Elisabeth [last name withheld for privacy]
As a little girl, one thing topped my Christmas wish list each year. I wanted a doll. It didn’t really matter what kind of a doll, but I had to have a doll or it just didn’t seem like Christmas. One year I didn’t get that doll and the tears welled up in my eyes all Christmas Day. It was miserable going to Grandma’s and seeing my cousins with their dolls.
The next Christmas, although I was actually quite old to be playing with dolls, there was a baby doll under the Christmas tree for me. The doll was supposed to drink from a bottle and then wet. But something was wrong with my doll. The water went in but didn’t come back out. I remember clutching my doll and listening as my mother called the toy company. Fierce love for my doll came into my heart and I told my mother, “I don’t want another doll; I just love the one I have.”
Almost twenty years went by and I forgot all about my defective doll. It was my first Christmas Season as a new mother in a home of my own. It seemed I had waited so long for this time, but I wasn’t feeling the joy I thought I would feel. Instead I was consumed with worry and disappointment. In August, we had been blessed with a sweet little boy we named Robert, after his two grandfathers. Immediately upon his arrival, the doctors knew that Robbie was not responding as he should. Numerous tests were performed, and we were told that there had been an insult to his brain, and it had not developed properly. We were told that we would just have to “wait and see.”
It seemed that each visit with a doctor brought more upsetting news. We were told that he would have seizures. The neurologist felt that he had a genetic syndrome and referred us to a geneticist. At 2 ½ months Robbie had to undergo a bilateral hernia operation. We learned that he was visually impaired. At his four month check up in December, his kind pediatrician just stood and stared blankly at Robbie’s charts on his podium. I realized this wasn’t a good sign! It seemed that despite Priesthood blessings and the fasting and prayer of our extended family, the worst case scenario was unfolding.
One December day I sat holding Robbie on the couch feeling quite melancholy. A wave of motherly love hit me and I tearfully held him close and told him, “I don’t want another baby, I just want you!” These words triggered the memory of my Christmas doll from many years before. In some small way, this memory was able to bring me the comfort that I needed that day. Robbie is now seven and each year of his life seems to bring with it new challenges. But the knowledge that I love Robbie just how he is has helped me accept these challenges.