The Winding Path to RedemptionPosted on March 6th, 2012
Redemption doesn’t always show up when planned.
But it’s there — watching, waiting for the right moment to turn our greatest loss into our biggest gain.
Even when it comes in the form of an orange and white stuffed animal.
Let me explain….
Celebration Gone Wrong
Two years ago, my wife gave me a card where Pooh Bear told me I was going to be a dad. I stared at the card like a lottery winner. I was floored with excitement.
We went to the LA county fair the next day to celebrate. Two twentysomething kids celebrating the reality of having their own at the county fair. It seemed fitting.
We rode rides. The sun shined. Our good friend Becky gave us fried churro funnel cake with a mound of whipped cream.
It was a perfect day.
I even found my touch at the carnival games — trying to impress my wife like we were fifteen and on our first date. After successfully throwing a rubber ball in a sideways wicker basket, we excitedly surveyed the long line of stuffed animals, finding an orange and white stuffed dog that looked like a keeper.
With dog in hand, we walked back to where I’d set down my wife’s backpack ten seconds before.
Her bag with our money, her wallet, and our car keys — the only keys we had on us. The other pair locked inside our house thirty miles away.
Needless to say, it was a long freaking night. Our celebration popped like a balloon shot with a Beebe gun.
The next day I grabbed that orange and white dog by the ear and went to the trashcan. I didn’t want to be reminded of how much that stuffed animal cost me. I dangled that dog over his end, but stopped. Throwing it away didn’t feel right. I put it in a box and packed that terrible memory away.
Flash-Forward a Year and a Half
Our baby girl now a reality — an amazing, wonderful, sleep-deprived reality, at eleven months old still waking up three to four times a night. Our nerves and bodies breaking like POW’s being tortured by sleep-deprivation.
However, on one glorious night to our wild, incredible, amazement, after lots of tears by both baby and parents, she slept through the entire night. With our video baby monitor we could see after crying and crying she finally grasped something tight in her crib, laid down, and fell asleep. She’d found her sleep angel.
When we walked into her room the next morning, she was sitting up in her crib with a big smile, lifting above her head the angel. I picked her and her sleep angel up, hugging both tight — the irony of what I was holding as pronounced as the big smile on both our faces.
There was my baby girl, and that orange and white dog that I won at the fair.
The stuffed animal that I won when celebrating her.
The stuffed animal that had cost me so much.
The stuffed animal I almost threw away.
The stuffed animal that was now priceless.
You never know how redemption will come.