It was January of 1932 when Sonny was born and died on the same day. Pearl held him as he breathed his first, and his last. It had been a hard labor and Edie was exhausted. Now she was a mourning mother. Lysander was not to be consoled; his first-born son now lifeless and turning blue.
Edie had no choice but to let Pearl handle the preparation of his tiny body and all that went into calling the undertaker and having a small service. I’m not sure where Sonny’s body was laid, as they were in Bethune at the time and his marker is now in a nearby town where they later moved. But the marker is there, and there is where his brief day on this Earth was recorded.
That same year the young couple became pregnant again. Edie’s pregnancy was unusual from the start. Gaining weight early in the first few months, Edie’s four and a half-foot frame became increasingly and alarmingly large. She seemed all baby; indeed she was. On December twenty-second of 1932, Edie and Lysander became parents of fine healthy baby girls; the twins were nine pounds each; it is a wonder Edie didn’t die during childbirth; I have no idea what her body must have gone through during her pregnancy and during labor. Edie’s favorite phrase was, “Life is hard.” She certainly knew that from experience.
O Father, Bless The Children
Author: John Ellerton 1886
O Father, bless the children
Brought hither to Thy gate;
Lift up their fallen nature,
Restore their lost estate;
Renew Thine image in them,
And own them, by this sign,
The very sons and daughters
New born of birth divine.
O Jesu, Lord, receive them;
Thy loving arms of old
Were opened wide to welcome
The children to Thy fold;
Let these, baptized, and dying,
Then rising from the dead,
Henceforth be living members
Of Thee, their living Head.
O Holy, Spirit, keep them;
Dwell with them to the last,
Till all the fight is ended,
And all the storms are past.
Renew the gift baptismal,
From strength to strength, till each
The troublous waves o’ercoming,
The land of life shall reach.
O Father, Son, and Spirit,
O Wisdom, Love, and Power,
We wait the promised blessing
In this accepted hour!
We name upon the children
The threefold Name divine;
Receive them, cleanse them, own them,
And keep them ever Thine.
Lysander immediately fell in love with his girls Dafnie and Nellie. His devotion totally eclipsed his affections for Edie. They had no more babies.
In that day and time the church was the center of community life. Lysander, oblivious to the church service would elevate the girls in turn high into the air supporting them by their little legs. They would giggle loudly during the service as Lysander could be heard gleefully calling out, “Whee!” Edie was mortified.
The girls became the center of the couple’s lives. Work was a means to care for these precious babies. Lysander’s father had long passed and his mother was banished and was who knows where. His only family became his Anky Becky and Uncle John. They were poor farmers living on a poor farm; the girls adored them. One of the more colorful experiences there the girls climbed onto the wagon. Lysander and Uncle John were laughing and smoking pipes as they shared stories. The girls got hold of the reigns, must have yanked it playfully between them, when the wagon took off; luckily Dafnie and Nellie were thrown back into the wagon bed; Uncle John took off on foot; Lysander hopped on the nearest old mare and began the chase. His heart in his throat, and having caught up with the wagon, Lysander found the girls giggling together as they rolled about with the motion of the wagon. Disaster diverted, Lysander scooped up the girls, left the wagon and horses, walked back to the house, and announced it was time to go home. He had enough excitement for one day.
Ankie Becky packed them a lunch of fried chicken, potato salad, cornbread, homemade pickles, two mason jars of sweet tea, two huge slices of pound cake and two huge sugar cookies for the twins.
The young family drove away; only then was the story recounted to Edie. Anky Becky and Uncle John came to visit the family in Bethune next time; Edie needed a reprieve from the last farm visit.
Before I got married, I had six theories about bringing up children. Now I have six children—and no theories. ~Author Unknown, c.1946
You will always be your child’s favorite toy. ~Vicki Lansky
If I had my child to raise all over again,
I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I’d finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I’d do more hugging and less tugging.
~Diane Loomans, from “If I Had My Child To Raise Over Again”