Twenty six years ago today I gave birth to this "I'm forging my own path" gal! She never ceases to surprise us with her varied interests and love for learning. It was Sara, who patiently taught and encouraged me to knit socks on double pointed needles, up until that time I had been quite content knitting on two! This was the same gal who struggled to master knitting at the age of 13 and so taught herself to crochet instead, so much easier when you are left handed :-) Soon after she rocked that challenge of the two sticks and has gone on to design her own knitting projects in the form of a tube skirt, free form round cushions on her honeymoon camping trip and a jumper for Pip complete with a monogram motif.
Sara meandered many paths in young adulthood from pottery and art, to youth ministry and class room assistant, finally settling on the more permanent and well suited path of horticulture and garden design. She always challenges me to think the best of others and " not to sweat the small stuff." She also has a very generous heart and instead of selfishly sharing her birthday solely with her beloved husband, they welcomed her baby brother along for the ride and he had an ace day in Manchester, visiting the Lego and Disney stores amongst other things.
Dave, Pip and I did our usual trip for the little flowers meet and on the way home we popped into Barton Grange to buy a last minute present for Sara! I forgot to take any pictures of the goodies but we bought a wooden painted folk fairy to hang on the door, a cute fox hand sewn ornament and an irresistible snowman Christmas jumper! Apparently, Tom had to dissuade Sara form buying one in Manchester, just in case she was given one as a present!! Little did he know :-)
Whilst I have shared the joy of remembering times past and a big hug from my littlest big girl, my dear friend Sue shares a completely different story. Thomas would have been sixteen years old today. He was born on the 9th of November 1999 and died a day later. His projected short lifespan was not unknown, as Sue discovered that he had a diaphragmatic hernia at her eighteen week ultrasound. Medical science has moved on in the intervening years and nowadays surgery can be done to repair the opening. Sadly this was not the case for Thomas and yet despite the prognosis, Sue and her husband Andy went ahead with the pregnancy. In a world where the life of the unborn is at risk and so many babies are aborted, they chose life for Thomas and in so doing he was born into the loving arms of a mother, father and the wider family.
In addition to the family visit to the graveside and a picnic on his birthday, over the years many teddy bears were bought at Christmas, Easter and Birthdays as a way of honouring his short life and presence in the family. Needless to say, the family have amassed many teddies over the years and so it was earlier in the years that Sue had the wonderful generous idea of sending a "Thomas Bear" to various friends and family members throughout the world.
And so it was early on in May, a welcomed furry friend appeared during a very poorly time in the family. I had hoped to blog about our visitor, but my time here in cyber space has been very remiss and I missed the opportunity. I knew however that one day I would write about him and Thomas and so without further ado let me introduce you to:
I cannot remember the name of the tree but Andy cuts and engraves the name of Thomas, his birth details and the words "with love" followed by a heart. The heart of that family is their love for God and that love is then multiplied many times over in the people they meet in real life as well as online.
Dear Sue, thank you for sharing Thomas with us and for your love, friendship and prayers across the miles. May you experience God's presence in a very special way today as you celebrate Thomas' birth in your family. Mother Mary, comfort the family with your loving presence, most especially during those moments of sorrow at a life not lived. In Jesus, name. Amen x