The first time I ever held him I trembled. A flood of emotions engulfed me and I couldn’t help the tears that ran down my face. He was warm in my arms and so small that I feared he would break. Those fears were soon put to rest as I discovered that this little one was tough and resilient.
I was in awe of his perfection. His hair was the color of midnight and felt like silk to the touch. As my finger traced his tiny cheek I marveled at the softness. His little mouth moved as if he wanted to tell his papa something important. Then he looked at me and I caught my breath. Blue eyes locked with mine and I saw wonder. At that moment I knew he would be full of questions. I could hardly wait for the opportunities of explaining the ways of the world to him. His little hand reached from a cocoon of warm blankets and found my finger. Five perfect little fingers wrapped around mine and his grip was strong. I knew then my precious son would be a man of strength and character. “Welcome to the world, Johnny.”
Today I am holding my son once again. I can feel his warmth as I cradle him in my arms. His hair still feels like silk and though much longer it is till the color of midnight. I let my finger trace his cheek but the baby softness has been replaced by the skin of a man who has become very familiar with the elements of weather and a hard life. His lips remain still and I long to see the smile that fills a room with its radiance.
He lies so still now. If only he would open his eyes. If only I could see that wonder again and hear his questions. If only he would wrap his hand around mine and I could feel his strength.
I’ve lost all sense of time as I continue to talk to my son and all the while I never cease to pray. I wait patiently for Him to answer. I know people come and go but to me it’s irrelevant. The only thing that matters to me is that my boy will soon open his eyes. I know he will look at me again in spite of the odds that are against him.
Sam tried to be optimistic but I saw the doubts in his face as he tried to explain Johnny’s injuries to us. I refuse to give up on him. I refuse to let him give up on himself. I continue to cradle him and talk to him. I know he can hear me. I grasp his hand and whisper to him that all he has to do is hold on to me because I won’t let him go.
Then I feel it. I look at his hand, bigger than before but still smaller than my own. His fingers move slightly. I watch mesmerized as he works his hand around as if searching for something. He succeeds in finding what he is looking for and grasps my finger squeezing with what little strength he has left.
I wait hoping and then it happened. Blue eyes locked with mine and I saw questions and apprehension. I quickly grasp his hand in mine and smile reassuringly and whisper, “Welcome back Johnny.”