Surprisingly, not everyone grants me the attention I so clearly deserve. Last week I met my third grandson, Rorin Bennett Todd. He was 48 hours old and slept through the entire meeting. I nuzzled him, talked to him, counted his fingers and toes, rubbed his back, kissed his velvety cheeks, and stroked his brown hair. He made only tiny puppy squeaks, but I know he was saying "I love you too, Grandma, and when I get big I'm gonna read your column every week."
The blessing of three healthy children and now three healthy grandchildren is one I hope I never, ever take for granted. When I consider the millions of miracles that must go right (and how often they do!) in order for a child to be formed and delivered without complications, it quiets my heart in awe. God has been kind to us.
With all these boys in the family, my perspective on Remembrance Day has changed. As a kid, I recall assembling in the Amaranth Elementary School's hallway. It meant listening to talk of wars fought by old men, wearing a poppy on an annoyingly wayward stick pin, singing Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past, reciting John McCrae's In Flanders Field, and suffering through that interminable minute of silence. Then we got the rest of the day off, and if we were lucky there was snow to play in.
Not until I was a mother myself did it hit me. It was not old men who went off to war.
One Sunday near November 11, I looked around our church at all the guys in the conscription age range, including my own sons. Why, they were just kids! I imagined this was 1940 and these guys were all going off to fight. I tried to wrap my head around what that would mean for our church, for our town, for my family. Tried to fathom the slow or nonexistent methods of communication available once they were gone. And, worst of all, wondering which ones would not make it back.
Then our daughter joined the Canadian Forces for a brief stint in high school, spending a summer in training at Wainwright, followed by a short time in our Reserve Force. We were proud of her, but no one was more relieved than I when she decided militia life was not for her. While she was there, I simply refused to consider what it would mean if another country declared war on Canada.
And today, while other grandmothers in other parts of the world welcome little ones into war-torn environments, I have lived my entire life so sheltered, so naive. So free. I will not pretend I understand it; I will only be humbly and deeply grateful.
I cannot assume this privileged life will be guaranteed for Rorin and his brothers. But for them, and for each child on our planet, I offer this ancient Hebrew prayer this Remembrance Day:
May God bless you and keep you. May God make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May God lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.