Benjamin

The first Mother’s Day that Peggy lived with us, she came downstairs with a gift for Kim and told her that Kim was her american mother.

It meant so much to Kim.

Peggy was one of the Chinese teachers in Shaker. She’d been living with us for six months.

A week later while I was out of town, Peggy asked Kim if she could live with us the following year as well.

What could Kim say?

She was Peggy’s american mother.

Peggy and Kim spent time together talking – mainly when I travelled. Peggy’s own parents are about our age so we always felt parental and protective of her.

Peggy lived with us the following year and moved into her own apartment during the school year after that.

She was only a couple of blocks away but we didn’t see her very much.

Kim missed her.

Peggy would visit now and then and we’d sit and talk but it wasn’t the same.

We remembered her zooming by in the morning on her way to school. No time for breakfast – just a cup of coffee.

We remembered her coming back to take a nap before zooming to graduate school.

We remembered her cooking in the kitchen.

We remembered her in her room talking to her mother in China every day.

Peggy lived in Elena’s room – although the whole time Peggy lived there we called it Peggy’s room. Once Peggy moved to her own apartment we referred to it as Elena’s room again.

Peggy got married and she and her husband bought a house on the corner of our block.

Her parents and her grandmother would come from China for long visits. Although we didn’t see them often, we loved getting together with Peggy’s family. Just the nicest people.

A year and a half ago they sat with us in the hospital as Kim lay dying.

They were there for us like family.

Kim’s chinese daughter, her husband, and her parents.

After Elena died twelve years ago today, Kim would sometimes muse about the moments Elena never lived to see.

I think about last June when Elena’s class graduated from High School.  Elena never lived to graduate from high school. Then again, she didn’t live to finish first grade.

And if she had lived? Kim wouldn’t have lived to see her daughter graduate from high school. Kim wouldn’t have lived to see Elena start the twelfth grade.

A little over a week ago I had the privilege of holding Benjamin in my arms.

Peggy and Eugene’s beautiful baby boy was born a week and a half ago.

They let me visit them in the hospital.

Peggy’s mother smiled and placed Benjamin in my arms.

I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. I walked and rocked back and forth.

It was the same hospital where Kim had Elena almost nineteen years ago.

I brought Peggy the same flowers I had brought Kim almost nineteen years ago.

I held our chinese daughter’s son.

There aren’t many “Kim would have” moments that I can truly be sure of, but Kim would have loved meeting Benjamin. She would have been proud to have been his american grandmother.

I could just be projecting.

I handed Benjamin back to Peggy’s mother, sad that I wasn’t handing the baby to Peggy’s american mother, but just so, so happy.

There is just something so perfect about holding a baby.

It focuses me on this moment.

On this child.

On Benjamin.

 

Published in: on February 22, 2018 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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