Monday Morning, February 18, 2008
I’ve written about our children; they provide me with considerable grist for the writing mill. I am, after all, a self-confessed sentimental Dad. This week was no exception. Our oldest daughter delivered one more grandchild to add to our burgeoning family. Of all the weighty issues swirling around our lives these days, little Kate took center stage.
I’m pleased to report – she’s absolutely beautiful.
At the beginning of the week, it took awhile for Kris and Ben to accept the plain fact that Kate was settled in the breach position and had no intentions to re-arrange her comfortable spot. Last minute efforts to manipulate a rotation proved to be just too risky.
So the good news is that Kate’s delivery was scheduled. It trimmed away what otherwise would have been hours of hard labor. I was there at just before seven on Friday morning when the doctor dropped by. Kris was freshly prepped for her surgery. Ben stood by, attentive, proud. He’s a card carrying, devoted, determined dad himself. That makes us kindred spirits.
I think the doc knew he was going to be working with someone very special. He looked across the bed at the enlarged woman’s dad and her husband, and I do believe he thought about what he’d be dealing with if he messed up. But his self-assurance and friendly manner made us all feel confident. The OB doc smiled and after some brief pre-op banter, he left. I’ll never forget those quiet moments there with Ben and Kris before they wheeled her into the surgical ward.
Thanks to the prayers of many and the tireless research and good counsel, Kris had a peace that only God can give. It’s hard to put into words the pride of this father in his daughter; the amazing person she’s become.
A “c-section” is in the “major surgery” category. So just a short time later while Kris lay post-op on the hospital bed, she worked hard to smile and appear to be in the celebratory mood she knew was real. But she clearly showed the residual signs of the high impact passage she just crossed through moments before. (The photos capture it; curbed smiles checked by sharp discomfort.) The drugs and the trauma to her body took their toll. In spite of all that, Kristyn was, from the first moments after delivery, an incredibly beautiful Mom.
I heard her say under her breath, “Oh… if I could only escape this body…”
But after a long, well earned nap, the heaviness of the medications wore off, and the benefits of all those marathon runs kicked in. She bounced back. The laughter and hugs and tears all flowed easily as all of us welcomed Kate.
We walked into the room, all of us, Dad (the Pied Piper), the three siblings (two brothers and a sister), Grandma and Grandpa, as Kristyn lay waiting, propped up on pillows. The children squealed to see their Mommy again. And all of us stood around the infant crib and there surrounded by Plexiglas and a hand written label filling in all the essential stats wrapped tightly in a white blanket was their new little sister, Kate. Their eyes were wide. They all reached out to touch her soft cheeks, her pink nose. The introductions were made; and the two boys pleaded to hold the little bundle while seated on the rocker. Dad’s video camera captured the moments.
And me. I just couldn’t stop looking at Kristyn, the woman who delivered all four of the rascals now filling the room with giggles and questions and territorial claims (“It’s MY turn to hold her.”).
And I held Carolyn tight beside me.
She had her eye on Kristyn, too.
* * * * * * *
So on this Monday morning, you’re in full agreement. The leadership role will inevitably take an occasional hiatus. The personal stuff trumps the business. The people in your care need you.
There was a time, I’m told, when family was readily sacrificed in the pursuit of someone’s definition of success. Even spiritual leaders believed that devotion to a heavenly cause legitimized neglect of family. Certainly the pursuit of business achievement all too often meant prolonged absence on the home front.
But on this Monday morning, I’m here to tell you that there is no better place to be. We are leaders, you and me.
And maybe the most important way for us to lead is in that place where the heart grows warm; and the moments that last forever have a chance to get our attention and make their mark.
Copyright 2008 Kenneth E Kemp