Friday, May 14, 2010

A Stone

My first child had been born four days ago with Down's Syndrome. It was our second day home and the house was quiet. He'd been sleeping for half-an-hour. My wife had laid down after what had been a very emotional and long night. She'd been asleep for the last fifteen minutes. I sat at the kitchen table looking at the little shoe box my mom had brought when she visited.

She'd left in on the counter as she walked out the door, throwing a quick, when you have some time to breathe and reflect. I had no idea what the box contained, but my mother had always been my champion and I had no doubt that this box would somehow contain the answer I was frantically looking for.

I removed the lid. There were a couple of books on top. Dr. Suess. I opened the top one and saw the inscription: 'Because all children have a future' was written in her tight script. The title of the book was 'Oh The Places You'll Go'.

I kept digging. There were two other books that had been mine as a child, a book list of my favorite books and things she would recommend we buy. There were pictures with short notes written on the back explaining why she chose to keep them and what they meant to her. My first pair of shoes. A few pictures. Her ultrasounds of me.

It was a memory box of sorts. My mother loved the idea of passing things down from one generation to the next. This was her way of saying this child was every bit as wonderful as any of her other grandchildren. It was sweet, but felt too little. I was disappointed and felt cheated out of the answer I expected her to provide.

I placed my hands in my head. I didn't hear my wife come in the room. Even during her pregnancy, she could walk through the house and I would be unaware. I noticed her presence when she lifted one of my drawings. "These are beautiful," she whispered. She smiled and continued to sort through the small papers and books.

Then she reached into the box. She seemed puzzled with what was sitting in her hand. "What's this about?" she asked. I looked in her hand and found her holding three small, flat, and round stones. My confusion showed on my face.

"My baby stuff and three stones?" I said. It didn't make sense. I took the stones from her and ran my hands over their smooth texture.

In the back of my mind a memory tumbled through the fog and I remembered a story I had made my mother read a million time. Three monks showed a village how to share the little they had to make something bigger. In the end, the villagers had opened their hearts and found immense joy after experiencing great devastation. "Stone Soup," I whispered. Tears fell from my eyes as quickly as the realization of the truth of the love for my son wrapped itself around my heart.

*** One Minute Writer ***


  1. Sweet touching story. Hope I can pass on my kids' "firsts" when they have their first baby (love that idea).

    Can you explain the end? I got lost.