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The true meaning of love

By Stacie Chadwick

Reading between the Pines

All a mother wants in life is for her child to be happy. It’s a subliminal need fueled by emotion. A primal instinct driven by that first, curious flutter in the womb. And it never goes away.

My grandmother is no different from any other mother in this respect, even though her youngest was born with an umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. Unable to breathe, my Aunt Micki was rushed to a nurse instead of Grandmother’s open arms while doctors worked to change her color from a pallid shade of blue to something that looked more like life.

Micki survived to suffer her first seizure when she was 9 months old. It was the earliest of many signs that something about her was different.

As months turned into years, “different” became a word loaded with so much meaning that it overflowed, creating a unnavigable chasm between Micki and other kids her age.

Both Grandmother and Micki learned to find the light hidden in the shadows of stolen glances and downcast eyes of others. In those everyday moments where growth can’t really be measured, the bond between mother and daughter strengthened.

Given enough time, life will teach you that the only thing you can count on is change. Yet Micki’s role never has. She is and always will be my grandmother’s constant companion.

From my grandmother’s perspective, the world has always misrepresented her youngest child. If you ask, she’ll say Micki came into the world just as she was meant to be.

Today, the time-honored light in Grandmother’s eyes is fading. She’s feeble, and bones that used to bend under the weight of life now break. Yet, she pauses and lingers longer than most because her remaining purpose sits beside her, quietly holding her hand. Theirs is silent proof that under any conditions, the narrative of a love story can last forever.

Micki’s not a surgeon, a star, or that girl from high school who you wish you still knew. Yet, if you ask her if she’s happy, she’ll nod her head and reply, “Yes, I am.”

You don’t have to ask my grandmother the same question. The answer is obvious by the way she looks at her youngest child. The way she’s always looked at her daughter, without bias, pity or doubt. To a mother, a child is simply a child and love is just love. Micki is her life’s greatest gift. We should all be so lucky.

To read more from Stacie, check out her blog at https://readingbetweenthepines.com.

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