Baby Road: Epilogue by Bill Pike

Late on the afternoon of Monday, May 7, Nahna flew back to Richmond. Our son picked Nahna up at the airport. Nahna had been in Chicago almost three weeks.

Since I left Chicago back on April 26, some warm days of spring finally teased the Lincoln Park neighborhood. If you live in Chicago, you take full advantage of what mother nature gives you from late April into October. I still get chilled thinking about what felt like a winter wind on a stunning sunlit day at the Lincoln Park Zoo the day before I drove home to Virginia.

A long, long time ago when I was teaching at Hermitage High School, I remember my friend and fellow teacher, Bruce Bowen, saying to me as Betsy and I awaited the arrival of our first child, “If you ever doubted there was a God, just wait till your first baby arrives.” He was right.

Life is a blur. It zips by at a speed that defies a stop watch. All those moments in the raising of our three children I barely have any recollection. I wonder how we survived. I wonder how our parents, and their parents survived. Somehow, we did, and they did too.

I’m thinking that survival was graced by love. A love that was committed to doing everything within your power to nurture and raise that tiny bundle.

I will pray that our three current grandchildren and any that might arrive in the future will feel that same love. I’ll pray that their parents even when they are at their wit’s end can grab a hold of that love and allow it to sustain them.

On May 10, Hudson turned three weeks old. Recently, he awarded his parents with six hours of sleep one night. Maybe that was a payback to his parents for loving him. I suspect he can feel their love— dirty diapers, hiccups, and the impromptu whizzing during a diaper change.

Way out there in the future will be that day of reflection about all of this for Hudson’s parents, and it will be a blur. And, they will ask how did we survive it, and I hope their answer will be the grace of love.

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For our son-in-law, the year 2017 was a tough one for him and his sister. At two different points, they lost their parents. For their father, Ron, the demon was an out of the blue devastating stroke. For Ron’s wife, Debbie, it was the demon of all demons—that wretched cancer.

Ron and Debbie were two people who were graced with love for their children, family, and friends. I’m sure as they look down  from heaven that they are tickled with Hudson’s arrival.

Over the last several years, I have become a  reader of the comic strips in the newspaper. Today, I rarely miss an opportunity to scan them. I marvel at the wit and wisdom of these exceptionally gifted writers and artists.

Recently, in The Family Circus by Bil and Jeff Keane, the youngest child in the family is in the arms of his grandmother. The child asks, “Grandma, how’d you get so good at hugs?”

My commander supreme, now crowned Nahna, by the Princess, is a good hugger. Her grandchildren know it, and those hugs come from the grace of love.

I hope that love holds them forever.

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