The blessed and surreal kind, the ones that make your breath catch and your heart swell, the kind that only come when you’ve been completely caught off guard and are left with a keen and clear sense that something far more powerful than you, than all of us, exists…
And here he was standing 3 feet tall, in front of me, beaming with kindness and joy.
But to understand you must take a little journey back with me…
My mother was a beautiful watercolor artist. I don’t think I truly understood how gifted she was until I stood in an art gallery one day as a teenager and found myself thinking how much more touching, intricate and soul-reaching my mother’s works were. She could paint spirit into the eyes of all her subjects and this was rare and raw and made it all so real. But one day, when she was in her late 60’s and teaching an art class at the local senior’s center, she shifted her sights and painted a nature scene. I never saw it, but the story goes that it hung in her friend’s art gallery, over the front desk, for short time. One day a man walked in, was caught up in the scene and asked how much. My mother said it wasn’t for sale. He was insistent and paid $3000 for it on the spot.
When I heard this, although I appreciated her portraits so, I pleaded with her to paint me a scene of a cabin, nestled in a wood with a gentle stream meandering through. We talked of it many, many times, but she died before she ever had the chance.
A few weeks ago, this story was resurrected and my sister and I began to reminisce. Although I knew it not at the time, no doubt little ears and a precious heart were listening.
Side Note Story Essential to the Whole…
Shortly after my mother died, in the summer of 2001, I traveled to Europe in the fall. I woke in a daze, tears streaming. I rose from my bed, wrapped a robe around me and stepped out onto the balcony of my room to a Tuscan sunrise over the olive tree grove. I sat, and gazing out over the rolling hills and recalled my dream.
I was in a room, talking intently with my Mommakins. We were sharing our day, talking of nothing and everything on and on. And then suddenly, somehow, I knew the time to go had come, and like I’d done so many times throughout my life, I turned to leave, she looking on as if to say, “I wish you never had to go.” This time was different, as I reached the threshold I just knew I would never see her again. I rushed back and fell at her feet weeping. I held her close determined never to let go.
She tilted my head up with her familiar, gentle hand and without a word said, “Don’t worry my Jenny Pooh, you will know me again in the spirit of your child. I will always, always, be with you.”
And with that I awoke.
This dream warmed me and haunted me for some time. I missed her desperately. Time made the ache of losing her fade and the memories of her softer somehow, but I never forgot the dream.
Months later I met my husband Todd and 5 years to the exact day of her passing, on July 21, 2006 my precious Liam Charles Maki was born.
Liam is his own joyful, peaceful, feisty and powerful spirit. And yet, every once in a while I catch a twinkle of my Momma, Lois, within him. He has a way of setting the world aside and gazing into my eyes with his soul, in adoration, in peaceful love, the way she did in moments. It can never be explained, only felt.
All week Liam had been talking about the present he was making me. He told me he needed special time set aside to work on it. He told me that it was something that I had been wishing for, for a long time. On the morning of our V-Day brunch, he disappeared, made a DoNutDistrb Sign and got busy in the room where the magic was happening.
A while later he appeared and the rolled note was set out with the others on the gift table.
His, I saved until the last of the openings…
“Liam, did you want to give me your special present now?”
“Oh, yeah mom I do.”
“Tell me about it sweetie. Is there something you want to say about what you made?”
“Well, yes. It is something you have wished for your whole life, so I knew I had to be the one to finally make it for you.”
He kisses me, stands close and hands me the rolled up paper.
I unroll it and gaze at a scene, one larger building, one smaller, with windows as only my Liam can meticulously draw them. Then to the side a bridge, trees and blue for the stream.
“Liam what is this?” I ask, half knowing the answer, but feeling like I need the words to come from him to make it all real and not imagined.
“It’s the picture you always wanted your Mommy to paint for you. She never painted it for you, so I knew I should paint it for you. I love you Mommy.”
Tears filled my heart and spilled out. I looked up to my sister who had been capturing it all on camera. We shared a look of awe at it all and her eyes filled too.
After that it was a series of hugs and kisses and moments that made the whole world stand still. A flood of memories, of hopes, of dreams, of aches, of truths came rushing, but above all, before me stood the most sensitive, compassionate and loving soul I had ever known.
Liam Charles is a little of my Momma, no doubt, but he is more somehow. He is my angel of light and love and always always makes me feel as though my life has more meaning for his having been born to me.
It has taken me three days to process and write this post, and somehow after reading this through, it still does not even begin to describe the surreal and powerful nature of it all…perhaps however you will get a glimpse and it will touch the depths of you too.
The love at work beneath all of the life, the mystery alive and moving in and through us is surreal and delightful and awe-inspiring and when it grips us full may we pause and give reverent thanks. In our diversity we may call it by different names, but its power and omniscient ways are all the same.
Thank you God. Thank you Mommakins.
As you read this Liam, I just hope that somehow you know the gratitude I feel, for your thoughtful act, for your sensitive ways and the precious love you offer me. In knowing you, I am more and be rested assured, in having you, I have been given what I always wished for. Your picture, your soul is delightful to me. I love you beyond words to the depths of my being. I may never be able to fully show you how much I love you, but I will spend a lifetime trying. Thank you. Xo Mommy