It’s been seven weeks since the February recognition and book-signing event held at LAUMC. I thought I was making progress with getting a handle on my emotions until someone requested for a personalized book today that caused my heart to flutter. I had to pause and catch my breath. Why? A friend Scott was requesting a book for himself and one for a professor of his. I know the person who will receive this autographed book. Of course I’ve known many of the people for whom I have autographed books and written numerous personal notes. Why was this morning different? The impact of all this registered in my mind knowing the profession of whom would receive the book and her influence upon those who she serves in her chosen field.
Let’s backtrack a bit. February 8th ended up to be an overwhelming and humbling experience for me. The weather was horrendous with heavy rain most of the day. For me to grasp how many people ventured out in the weather for the event, [especially one son, Dustin, who came over highway 17 from Santa Cruz and got stuck behind a six-car accident,] was humbling.
Some special guests arrived and this set me a jitter. Soon I began autographing books. I was then ushered to a table in the front and Pastor Mariellen began with her “sermon on Marian Aiken.” I didn’t have Kolya beside me to hide behind like I did during the morning worship service. I humbly and politely paid attention to her kind words. Sadly, our guest speaker, Rev. John Dodson, was stuck in St. Paul, Minnesota because of weather. A video created by Cindy Golden with video clips by C.J. Arnesen was shown. Now, it was my moment to stand and mumble a few words.
Armed with no notes and a churning brain, I was asked to introduce my guests. There was Dr. Fisher, my sister, my cousins, my niece, who was interpreting for me, nurses from Children’s Hospital, and one of Derek’s teachers who I forgot to introduce. My editor, Susan Little, and Cathi, my webpage designer and book layout person. And of course my sons. Eighteen of my sons arrived through that horrible storm. Hence I was overwhelmed, yet I felt so blessed. I had no time to visit with those who attended that day because I was busy autographing books. May I take the opportunity to thank everyone present for coming and being a part of my journey?
I definitely was not prepared for the emotions that would follow this event. For the next two weeks I felt sad, you might even say depressed. I am certainly not accustomed to having so much attention focused on me. It’s been hard for me to comprehend why others feel what I do is so special. My reason for doing what I do or writing the story I was encouraged to write by friends was not done to draw attention upon myself. Emails arrived in my inbox. Letters and cards arrived in my mailbox. All with words that brought me, and still bring me, to tears. Memories of times together decades ago touched me deeply.
I’d like to share from one letter I received from Sandy, my first social worker.
Derek was a tiny little angel that came into your life to help you develop and grow your own angel wings. Together you both opened the door for the other sons and brothers who shared in your life. For the other boys to be able to develop to their potential… to be all they could be. You and Derek surrounded them with your very special love and encouragement. Through your and Derek’s example, your family of boys has truly been blessed. Thank you for sharing all of this with the rest of the world in your book titled “DEREK”.
Yes, Derek was one little angel who entered my life in an unexpected way. Of course twenty-six other angels entered my life that expanded my experience of being a mom beyond what I ever thought would be possible.
At last, today as I autograph and write a personal note to Kathy, it has begun to sink in what others may see when they look at my life – the ripple affect continues to expand our circle of relationships. I pray our story will continue to ripple into the lives of others – encourage others to reach out, accept, and love, regardless of what a person’s challenges might be. Will you be a part of this ripple of love?