- from Jeremy
We dream dreams for our children, do we not? As with any starting point in life, we have expectations for the progress and outcome when we are preparing for the birth of a new baby. There are hopes and ambitions - each one different from our neighbor and each one the same in some large points. I am no different.
I dreamed for Olivia that she would blossom into the same beautiful flower that her mother is. That she would be generous and loyal - that she would esteem family and home above all else and foster an environment of of joy and devotion as her mother has done. I dreamed that she would someday find a man, a tall and powerful man who was capable and kind, and who would be as stalwart in his love of her as in his love for Jesus. In my dream she would be a loving mother who brought her children to see their grandfather to be doted over and indulged.
I dreamed for Jack that he would grow into a man of action and kindness. That he would be enterprising in his service to God and others. And that he would be blessed with a wife of beauty and compassion, who would buttress him in the ways that he was weak and encourage him in the ways that he was strong. That he would lead his home and be an example to his friends. And that he too would bring his children to the old homestead to receive the same well-intentioned counsel that he had come to value from the moody old man.
I dreamed for Josiah that he would follow his brother in resolution and goodness. That he would be the physical and emotional presence that his namesake, my father, is so well known as. I dreamed that he would be powerful of mind and constitution, and that he would uphold his father as he had been upheld in youth. That he would find a wife to be his match and his temporal salvation, and that they would raise up ever more grandchildren to play and fuss at holidays while Christy and I looked on.
I dreamed for Jalen that he would be a powerful and striking man of universal appeal. That he would have the perspective of white culture with the pride of black culture. That he would share in my love of hip-hop and his mother's love of gospel. That he would be a mender of hearts and a builder of alliances. And that he would find a lovely wife who would be the counterpoint to him in every beneficial way. Maybe I dreamed in a little more detailed manner for him owing to the nature of his entrance into our home.
I dreamed for Judah that he would mirror the vivacity and solidarity of his childhood home with his adult life. That he would be fierce in his love for his siblings and parents, and that the strength which he drew therefrom would be the seed of greatness in the family he would found on his own. That he would seek a wife who would not only love and embrace him as a man, but also yearn for connection with his people and heritage. And of course, that he would bring many children into his home to share in the dynamism and love of a large family.
I try not to think about what might have been,
'cause that was then.
And we have taken different roads.
As I look at Josiah on a night like tonight, my love for him is as big as the cold, starry sky. He is six and a powerful boy physically. He evidences a love for Christy and I that matches ours for him. He runs to us and looks deep in our eyes. He laughs and laughs and we laugh back and reach for him and delight to hold him close for just a split second before he's off again. He jumps on the bed that we're laying on and we reach for him with hand and foot to keep him from toppling over the footboard or slipping off the edge. We try to catch his attention and give one another a kiss to make him giggle and shriek. He will never know the dreams I dreamed for him, and I wish I had never been so presumptuous about the future.
Jalen is another matter on paper, but no different in my heart. His narrow little world of words lacking true meaning and actions without thought may never be the same world I live in. He is beautiful in soul and appearance, and he loves music, but if he is ever to be a leader and a husband then we will need an unprecedented miracle. He is smart to be sure, maybe brilliant - not in ways that mean fame and fortune, but in ways that may mean productivity rather than isolation. I love him dearly and am so glad to have him in our family, but my feelings are always ringed with a gossamer halo of regret for the dreams that I had.
For the other three children, my dreams have changed. Now they are more of a pleading reaction to my nightmares. I hope that they will find it in their adult hearts to care for the brothers of their childhood. I pray that they will be tender to their brothers' needs and forgiving of their difficulties. I hope for and encourage them to find a mate that will be kind and generous to my precious and vulnerable babies. My dreams have gone from bright, bold ambitions of glory and blessing for each to plaintive, quavering hopes that they will forsake themselves for the good of the least of these their brethren. My chest tightens even at this writing to think of what has been taken from me - my dreams.
We can't go back again
There's no use givin' in
And there's no way to know
What might have been.