A MAN AND HIS DAUGHTER

I remember the day she was born like it was yesterday, Dec. 15th 1966. Prudence nor I could believe how well everything went, for this was the day Elizabeth Grace was due to be born. All through the expectant time my little Prudence was told about the normal two or three weeks late, so when her time came at 5:15 A.M. on the appropriate day, we were nearly hesitant to leave for the hospital. There was no traffic on the roads, no other maternity patients and the doctor was already present. The labor lasted only seven minutes after we got there. That alone must have been some sort of record. Of course I was nervously pacing the waiting room when the nurse appeared holding this beautiful little package. “Here you go, Mr. Williamson,” she said smiling. “And you were correct, you had a little girl.” Now I smiled. It had been a running joke of sorts with the doctor and nurses ever since our first appointment. Somehow it was as if the Lord had told me that this, our first child, was going to be a girl. It was not the common “intuition” that a parent occasionally has, but a definite, I am positive, without-a-doubt, feeling. The whole lot of them were accustomed to parental guesses, but I was absolutely sure that a boy was not even a remote possibility. What made the situation a bit different though was the fact that my instinct was that the baby was going to be a girl, whereas most men leaned towards the desire of a boy as their first child. But again, this was not personal want, for as long as the little one and Prudence were in good health, the sex made no matter to me. All in all, the situation reminded me of the case in the Bible about the birth of John the Baptist. God had an angel deliver a message to Zacharias, that his barren wife, Elizabeth, would conceive a child. This angel told Zacharias that the child would be a son and even what name he was to give to him. Of course, Richard Jonathan Williamson saw no angel, but the surety was there just the same. And now here I was, staring at this tiny and delicate gift from God. The reaction which I had was totally unexpected. I was neither frightened nor hesitant. I was overwhelmed. Here was life. From literally nothing but the union of two people there was now a living, breathing, feeling person. She was beautiful. I was absorbed by what I saw. That God could do this, that life could be there where it previously was not, was nothing short of a miracle. I have heard many testify of the wonderfulness of the birth of a child, but never was I prepared for this. For long minutes I just looked. It was like witnessing the creation of the universe, I was in complete awe. She didn’t cry, that was the first thing I noticed. And she looked at me. Not towards me, not in my direction. But she looked directly at me, as if there was no nurse holding her, nothing else present in the whole room. I felt so...special. Like there was something between us that would always be there. More so than with most children. This strange influence, the best word I can use to describe this feeling, was similar to the one I had about her being a girl, not a boy. No doubts, just a sense of fact. Her face, though only minutes old, reminded me so much of her mother lying in the next room. Just as the whole morning and delivery went excellently, she seemed to fit right in. Everything about her was perfect. Her facial features were so exquisite, it was as if the Lord Himself had molded her. In a sense, Richard knew that to be true, but he had never noticed it this way before. Truly Elizabeth Grace was a sign of His handiwork. Her little hands were so tender, without touching them he could tell. They were both curled up, as if the fingers were clutching something that wasn’t there. No flaws. No improvements needed, as the business world would say about a man-made product. Never again would I think of a child as anything less than the miraculous work of a mighty, supreme God. Especially this child.Would you like to hold her, Mr. Williamson?” the young lady said, probably taken back some by my not yet asking her to do so. “Of course”, I replied, easing Elizabeth Grace into my arms. It was as if she had always been there, as if that was where she belonged. “Oh, would you care to see your wife now? She is doing just fine,” the nurse stated. “Yes, yes,” I said. “Please forgive me. It’s just that this is all new to me...I assumed everything went all right.” She assured me it did, but I felt like an awful clod, not inquiring about the state of Prudence. I brought Elizabeth Grace in and handed her to Prudence. They were so beautiful, I felt so undeserving. Prudence Ann smiled her usual bright smile, the one that caused me to notice her so many years ago. “Well, what do you think Richard?” I sat on the bed beside her. “Just like her mother, she is as pretty as she can be.” I knew as I said the words that the description for both of them was far too weak. I reached out my hand to hold hers. “How do you feel darling?” I asked quietly. “Fine. Believe it or not, it only hurt a for a few moments. Doctor Blair told me that it has been years since he has had such a smooth delivery.” She sat up slightly. “They say that I can leave in two days instead of the normal three. It is some sort of new system to get mothers back home more quickly.” Catching my concerned look, Prudence added, “Don’t worry. I can’t leave unless everything is going perfectly well. The doctor assured me that I would not be discharged if there were any problems at all.” “Okay,” I said. “You know I want you home, but make sure he doesn’t release you just to clear a bed.” It was only one day, I don’t know what I was worried about. I have always been a stickler for being careful when it came to the well-being of Prudence. We talked for some time as she nursed the baby. Just sitting there talking to the only love I ever knew, as she held our newborn treasure, gave me a sense of joy that would be difficult to put into words. It seemed like an eternity, the two hours we had just conversing and holding hands. People in the fast-paced world of the sixties seemed to need new cars and bigger houses to make them happy. But my peace comes from being with my loved ones. Peace is what I had this day.


1 comments:

Sally, Greg and Hannah said...

Very touching! I felt the same way when I held Hannah for the first time...overwhelmed, yet so peaceful.

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