Saturday, February 23, 2019

A Special Treasure

Children re-invent your world for you. Susan Sarandon (1946-)

A child is an uncut diamond. Austin O'Malley (1858-1932)

Seven things every child needs to hear: I love you, I'm proud of you, I'm sorry, I forgive you, I'm listening. This is your responsibility. You have what it takes to succeed. Sherrie Campbell PhD. (Birthdate unknown)

Prelude

Seconds tick into a minute, minutes flow into an hour, hours revolve into a day, days drift into a month and months proceed into a year. It's certainly amazing time stops for nothing, unbroken and continuous. What's even more staggering is the older we age the faster time moves along. I don't know if it's just my judgment but I found the past two years (2017, 2018) have elapsed by in a fast moving pace. My grade twelve geography teacher was undoubtedly correct when she stated to her class in 1973, "The older you get, the faster time goes by".

Most folks marry or live common-law and a very high number have children through conception or adoption. I suspect it's almost ninety percent. I was married in 1986 and divorced in 1997. I had two boys who will be thirty-one and twenty-nine in 2019. A lot of us have children in that age bracket.

Do you ever have the sense it feels like yesterday when we were mixing baby formula and changing diapers? Or how about shopping for baby food and clothes or celebrating your child's first birthday?

I think it's safe to say a lot of parents escorted their kids trick or treating...a lot still do. I did even when I was divorced and enjoyed every minute of it...it was a lot of fun. I recall one year I had to lug my youngest son's pillowcase that was full of candy...it was just too heavy for him to carry. One of the numerous duties in the job description of being a father.

Some parents have extremely horrible and dreadful circumstances when their baby was born. When I retired I obtained a part-time job delivering prescription medications to a pharmacy's customers. I remember one client that always had my heart cry for her. It was a regular delivery (once or twice a month) of canned liquid protein nourishment, usually five or six cases with twelve cans in each case. The "food" was for a lady's ten-year-old son who was confined to a wheelchair. He would sit in front of the T.V. set watching cartoons. His body was always and constantly motionless with his head tiled to the right. It was truly heartbreaking and painful to witness. What was even more agonizing and upsetting is that young boy will never experience what other children have in their lives such as friends, going to school and playing sports. So sad.

Back in 1988 my ex-wife and I received a memorable scare when our first son was born. He was two months premature and if that wasn't frightful enough he had a chance of becoming severely brain damaged or die. He laid in an incubator with numerous tubes and wires attached to his tiny body. I say tiny because he was the size of my right hand.

It was disheartening enough that he was a premie but the possibility of brain damage or death was truly traumatizing. His body was also jaundiced which completely puzzled the doctors. However, one specialist assured my wife and I they would track down the source of my son's mysterious illness.

The staff were true to their word and finally diagnosed my son's problem as a vitamin E deficiency. He received a blood transfusion (good thing there wasn't any Jehovah Witnesses present) and over a period of time he became a healthy baby. Today he is six feet, four inches tall and a solid 230 lbs. His sickness was unquestionably unique, so unusual a doctor told me there was an article in The New England Journal of Medicine about my son's dilemma. Overall an outstanding and sensational job performed by all the staff at the neonatal ward at McMaster Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario.

People say history doesn't repeat itself but sometimes it inches in through the back door and people will say, "Oh no. Not this again." When my second son was born in 1990 he entered the world two months premature and the size of my right hand. Once again my ex-wife and I were frightened and afraid. Who would ever have thought we'd be observing another premie rerun. As usual, his minute body laid in an incubator with tubes and wires attached to his tiny frame. Fortunately, he was basically healthy. The only problem, he was eager to see the world before "regular" newborns. As usual, we had all the faith, trust and confidence with the entire staff in the neonatal ward at McMaster Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario. Today my second son is very healthy, stands six feet, two inches tall and weighs 190 lbs.

Adversely not all parents have successful and cheerful results le we experienced. According to The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine 150,000 babies are born each year with birth defects and 3% of all children born in the U.S. have a major malformation at birth.

Tragedy doesn't always occur at birth. Gut-wrenching and horrible situations may strike at any time. In particular my E.A.'s (Executive Assistant) 13 year old niece passing away from cancer or my long time and good friend's son being labelled with schizophrenia in his late teen years. Sadly some parents can't rejoice with their children because their child was taken away from them for some godforsaken and unknown reason. There is no rhyme or reason how the circle of life is cut short for certain individuals.

Our kids can give us great pleasure, a lot of happiness and enjoyment but when they reach adolescence some youths may become very rebellious towards their parents. Nevertheless we must not forget we were that age at one time in our lives giving our parents a difficult and exhausting stretches of our nasty behaviour. In general it's just a small chapter in most kids' lives. Their teen years may be troublesome but chances are they will outgrow their wayward actions. We did.

Personally, I think a high majority of kids especially teenagers don't receive enough good publicity. Most of them are decent, respectable and courteous. Let's take a look at high school kids for a moment. For more than a few years many considerate, thoughtful and kind-hearted youths from S.T.M. (St. Thomas Moore) Secondary School in Hamilton, Ontario volunteer their time on Halloween night for a worthy cause. About a week prior to that "spooky" evening the students would place flyers in home owner's mailboxes.

The circulars explained the high schoolers would be collecting non-perishable food items for a food bank. If people were interested in donating they were to leave their contribution on the front porch of their homes. The students would pick up the offerings prior to the ghosts and goblins invading the neighbourhoods.

We always provide the needy cause with two or three canned goods. Last year I offered a tooney (two dollar coin) to one of the girls. The reason for my gesture, I explained to her, I thought it was a wonderful and magnificent job she and her fellow students were performing. I was amazed she refused my token of appreciation. I verbally tried to persuade her to accept my monetary gift but she was absolutely adamant and rejected my gratuity. She told me the students aren't allowed to take any money. Undoubtedly I admire and respect these young people. I tip my hat to them.

Another event that involves good-hearted high school kids is the annual Terry Fox walk and run at Sherwood Secondary School in Hamilton, Ontario. Most of the student body participates in the event that has been going on for 23 years and raises about $1,500 a year. Once again the high school unsung crusaders.

I never imagined my guys working full time and owning automobiles. One day you're changing their diapers and the next day they are out with their buddies having a few beers. The time hasn't come for me, yet, but it's another chapter in our lives when we are given new names, Grandpa and Grandma.

Epilogue

I'm extremely proud of my dudes. They work hard for a living, are law-abiding and responsible mature adults. I hope other individuals can say the same about their children. Some folks have encountered sunny and rainy days raising their kids but in the long run everything usually works out. So here's a suggestion for moms and dads who have children. Next time your child/children are around give them a big hug. Why you ask? Because they're wonderful kids and tomorrow is here before you know it,

The End

The Harvenut Puritan Project
Puritan will return with "Beep"

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