Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Life in a Box, Part One

Like many parents, my mother has always collected special memorabilia for each of her eight children. She kept it all tucked away in an old file cabinet, overstuffed with baby books, grade cards, school pictures, various ribbons and clippings, and lots of really bad artwork. Mom's plan was to eventually turn each enormous file into a beautiful scrap book for each of us. And, bless her heart, she did make it through the first two kids before she went to K-Mart and bought six big plastic boxes and dumped a file of her precious treasures in each box. (Make your own beautiful scrap book!) A few weeks ago Mom gave me my box which I had never seen or gone through before.

Needless to say, it has been intriguing to work my way back through my childhood and relive some of those magic moments in my own story. And, if you don't mind, I would like to share a few of my thoughts and reflections from my life in a box.

First off, I was amazed to find a baby book with lots of stuff filled out and cards and notes glued in place. Suzanne and I have three children and I know we have a lot more pictures and things from Sam's birth than we do for the other two. It's not that we didn't love them as much. It's just that the novelty of being a parent begins to wear thin pretty quickly.

So for my folks, I figured by the time you get to your eighth child, everything is just old hat. "How was your day, Hon?" "Fine, dear. I had that baby we've been expecting for awhile, so we'll need to come up with a name pretty soon." "Oh yeah, I almost forgot about that. Everything go alright?" "Sure. No problem. I wasn't there an hour. In and out." "That's great, Hon. You're a real trooper. Boy or girl?" "Oh gosh, I didn't even notice. Oh, well the blanket was blue. Must be a boy." "Another boy? Well, just put him in the big bedroom with the other four. Do you ever wonder, Hon, if it's time we drew the line?" "Hey . . . 'Drew'. I like that name."

But no, not my mom. She had her eighth child (less than twelve years, first to last) and she still filled in my baby book, complete with our hospital wristbands, my footprints, a list of all my visitors, and even the weather report on the day of my birth - gray, overcast, and rainy. (Maybe I brightened things up a little bit.)

Yes, I was surprised and touched to open my baby book, but I don't know why. I really should have expected to find it just as it is. Why? Because my mom and dad never made me feel like an extra, like just another kid, one more mouth to feed, just another rug rat jumping on the bed. No, I have always felt that one-of-a-kind specialness that comes from being loved and accepted and cherished as a blessing from God. Is there a greater gift that we can give to our children?

There are lots of loose pictures in the bottom of my box, random shots tossed in the file from time to time. I found one picture of me when I was just six months old, and it proves a theory I have developed through my years as a pastor. I have heard countless proud moms and dads brag on their babies and debate who their newborn really looks like, favoring mom or dad or Uncle Richard or Aunt Joan. Here's my theory: for the first year of life, every baby looks like Winston Churchill. Then, gratefully, they start to have some distinct family resemblance.

I present, in support of my theory, my own baby picture at the age of six months. You see, if I had an overcoat and a cigar, I could pass for the prime minister, couldn't I? It happens all the time.

Thanks for letting me share my life in a box. Drop by soon for part two.

2 comments:

Jim Hill said...

From one box holder to another, thanks for the article. However, I noticed you did not reference all the items in the box, particularly the ones we discussed the evening Mom gave you the box. Have fund younger brother. Jim

Drew Hill said...

Jim- Stayed tuned, big brother. There's more to come including the interesting items you alluded to. I am more than a little curious just how thorough Mom was in filling your box as well. -Drew