Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Can I show you Christmas?

Technically her name is Riley, and she is our middle Granddaughter. Our dreamy, sweet, heart-driven, lovely Riley who is six years old. And who has one of the kindest hearts I've ever been around. Although she is wearing a pink and white dress and is holding a puppy in this photo, that's not why she is Christmas.

She is Christmas because of this drawing. And many others like it. Espcially because of who she has been drawing them for.

But I think for me it is this drawing in specific that whispers Christmas into every particle of my being. May I tell you about this picture?

This picture is drawn for a wonderful man who is suffering from so many awful things it would take me an hour to tell his tale. He is the son of one of the most loving friends I have.

This picture was drawn at Riley's own initiative. When she saw an envelope on my desk and asked who it was for and I told her "Mike" she immediately ran for the colored pencils.

This picture was drawn with two legs because Mike has had one amputated and Riley says he wants to see himself the way "his heart wants him to be."

This picture was drawn with the two of them getting onto an airplane because Mike goes back and forth between bedridden and the ICU unit at the hospital and Riley says he wants to see himself going on a trip. With her. To Disneyland.

One morning several weeks ago Riley was here in my office actually drawing a picture to send to Mike when my friend called to tell me her husband had suffered a stroke. All this in addition to dealing with the sadness and medical horrors that encompass every single moment of their life.

Riley listened to my conversation and then looked up at me to ask "Grandma, who is Bob?"

I replied "sweetie, that is Mike's Dad and he is very, very sick now, too."

And Riley said to me "oh boy, Grandma, I have a lot of drawing to do here."

And went to get another piece of paper.

Did I say that this picture whispers Merry Christmas to my soul.

It doesn't. It shouts "Merry Christmas!" to every atom that makes me who I am. It makes my heart swell with carols and pride and love and certainty.

Certainty that because this little girl exists there is still hope and love and joy and possibility and kindness in a world that sometimes feels otherwise.

And Mike, I hope this dream of walking sturdily and confidently onto an airplane to take a trip to somewhere wonderful soothes your soul and eases your pain for just a moment.

And Riley? Sweet, sweet girl.

Merry Christmas.

19 comments:

Suz said...

Oh Riley,Riley....thou art wise
and wonderful
You are lucky grandma
but she learned it somewhere,didn't she
Merry Christmas indeed,new friend

Lora said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm so glad I stopped by yours and read the story about Mike and Riley. I said a little prayer for both of them.

:O)

Kristen and Sean said...

That just touches my heart in a very special way. I don't know how children can both drive a person completely insane and then in the very next breath say something so profound and heartfelt that it makes you just stop and look to make sure such a statement came out of this little being. I wish that as adults, we could be as forthright and sweet as your little Riley, Jenny!

"And so our stories go..." said...

I love your blog. It's so beautiful with music and all.
Thanks for comments on our blog.
Mary

laterg8r said...

she is wonderful - give her big hugs from me :D

Jen said...

what a great story, thanks for sharing, and I am not surprised, she gets her compassion from her grandma! Thanks so much for the sympathy card...that was amazingly kind of you! Thanks so much for your kindness! Have a great day tomorrow!!! Jenny

Debra @ Common Ground said...

Hi Jenny, so nice to meet you. Thanks for coming by. Little Riley is an amazing young girl. I love her spirit and her loving heart. How precious that she thinks and cares for others at her very tender age. This truly IS what Christmas is about. Thank you for sharing this, what a treasure.
blessings,
Debra

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Jenny, Riley is one amazing young lady! What a touching post, and I think she exhibits the spirit of Christmas to the nth degree. Please give her a warm hug for me and save one for you and your friends...

Merry Christmas!

XO,

Sheila :-)

Julie Schuler said...

What a great inspiration. If only we could keep our first instincts, to help and love others, for our whole lives. I hope Riley does. What a force of nature she is!

Brenda said...

I stopped in to thank you for stopping by my blog and letting me know my grandson would be in your prayers. Then I read and find there is someone I need to add to my prayers. Your story is lovely thank you for sharing. What a wonderful granddaughter you have. And beautiful also.

Amy said...

Oh sweet Riley! She is shouting Merry Christmas into my soul as well. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story of caring and hope. For I agree, with little ones like Riley coming up there is hope for this old, ragged world.

Rural Revival said...

Very sweet indeed! Isn't it amazing how much children can teach us, at Christmas and through out the year. All we have to do is listen.

Merry Christmas, and be well! ~Andrea~

Katie said...

This is so lovely! I wish more people embodied the spirit of the season like Riley. You must be a very proud Grandma.

Lindab said...

Oh Jenny...this touches every fibre in my being. What a sweet little Riley you have !! Full of heart, just like her gwamma...

Merry Christmas to all -- Linda B

My name is PJ. said...

Hi Jenny, I found the link to this post on the front porch and it made me cry...not tear up, cry - for Mike, his wife and Bob and their unimaginable challenges; and because of Riley and her enormous heart.

But it also made me think about how and when we all cease to be the 'big hearted, anything is possible' kids we used to be.

Thanks for the refresher course, Riley! Merry Christmas!!

Melinda Cornish said...

oh, out of the mouths of babes......what a little doll and this story brought tears to my eyes...arent kids wonderful!

Melissa Miller said...

Oh Jenny this brought tears to my eyes. Riley is a special young lady and very pretty too. :)

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Such a touching thing for Riley to do ..but no surprise when she sees her grandmother do so much for others. Riley has your smile Jenny..she is precious!

Hope your friend's son and husband will be OK!

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Jenny, I'm glad I clicked over here to read this beautiful story of your beautiful granddaughter. I have tears in my eyes. laurie