28: But Now I See

28: But Now I See

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen

But Now I See

To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.

~Thomas Aquinas

I bartered with myself, creaking back in forth in the rocking chair. I’ll check one more time. Nestling my baby in the crook of my elbow, I scanned the penlight across his eyes. No response. Nothing.

A hot, angry tear rolled down my cheek, as the specialist’s list of possible diagnoses echoed in my head. Vision problems. Blind. Retardation. “It’s too soon to tell for sure,” he’d said.

I took a deep breath and resumed rocking. Each night in the wee hours, Josh fussed. When the rest of the family slumbered, cozy in their beds, we rocked. His eyes searched continuously, but never seemed to find my own.

During the nights, I began to reconcile the baby I’d imagined with the baby I now held in my arms. I forgot about my previous post-pregnancy gripes like exhaustion and those extra pounds. I fretted less about Josh’s flaky skin or his inability to sleep through the night. The future suddenly seemed far more uncertain and challenging than whether or not to sign up for an Aqua Baby class.

In the same rocking chair where my mother-in-law had rocked my husband, I prayed. At first, my prayers were selfish, asking God to spare our family from hardship. Soon, they evolved: “Please allow Josh to see the wonders of Your creation.”

The night before Josh’s baptism, my husband and I privately gave our son to God. We prayed for healing, but accepted whatever God planned for us. The next day, as our minister poured holy water over Josh’s forehead, I felt only joy.

When Josh’s eyes seemed to focus slightly the very next day, I decided I was just seeing what I wished to see. But each day brought new achievements to celebrate. He followed the penlight for a brief instant. He turned his head towards a bright light. He met my eyes and smiled. Finally, one night, we rocked in the dim evening light, gazing into each other’s eyes.

When I brought Josh to the doctor for a follow-up assessment four weeks later, she met my enthusiasm with guarded hesitation. I didn’t blame her; miracles don’t make sense to the rational mind. Even I, the person who prayed for a miracle, found it difficult to accept.

Mid-examination, the doctor rolled her chair back to her desk to consult Josh’s chart. She shrugged and asked, exasperated, “Is this even the same baby?”

I nodded, laughing. I’m not the same mother, though. I’ve been changed by a miracle.

~Jenny Sokol

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