Just days before Hank was born I sat in my office at the seminary.
I remember staring at my giant, swollen ankles and feeling Hank’s kicks and pokes and tiny hiccups.
I wondered what he would be like.
We had waited a long time for this tiny boy, and he was truly a miracle born out of some of the most difficult times our lives.
Amidst the excitement I was weary of the change.
I felt a little sad to leave behind such a wonderful era.
I was nervous that I wouldn’t be enough or do enough for this tiny boy.
In the middle of my anxiety I glanced at a sticky note I had placed on my computer screen just days before.
“Let’s Go Grow”.
When it was time for Hank to come, that little phrase brought me courage on the way to the hospital and comfort through delivery.
Let’s go grow.
When we left the next day our family had grown.
So had we.
As I write I’m snuggling my sleeping one year old boy.
Today is Hank’s birthday.
As I look back on pictures and sweet moments from this special year the little phrase comes to mind again.
Let’s go grow.
Hank started walking this week. His tiny, clumsy steps grow more confident and steady every day.
First steps are scary. Hank is so brave.
Let’s go grow.
A year ago today our lives changed forever.
I had no idea the healing and help that would come with this tiny boy.
He makes Jake and I better.
He helps us grow.
Hank is a little young for birthday wishes so I made one for him.
My wish is that he’ll grow. That we’ll grow.
Happy Birthday sweetest boy. Love you most.
I heard a story once about a young woman who lived an inconvenient life. She put her own plans on hold and worked long hours to care for and raise her younger, orphaned brother. She was afflicted with a terminal illness and requested the company of her bishop in her last moments.
As she talked with him he held her hand.
As the story goes, they were, “rough, hard, work-calloused”.
She asked him the question, “How will God know that I am His?”.
In response he raised her wrist, “Show Him your hands”.
I remember playing and doing yard work outside with my brother and sisters when I was little. On the way in I would always look at my hands. Sometimes my dad would ask to see them.
He always celebrated a little dirt under my fingernails or the little starts to callouses from swinging a baseball bat.
5 years ago tomorrow, Jake Topham proposed to me.
Through happy tears all I could muster was a "mmhmm!"
A little up Parowan Canyon Jake pulled over and led me through the landscape lined with candles.
Back, away from the road in a secluded spot, hung a little swing with our name on it.
He held my hand and gave me the most beautiful ring.
That was one of the happiest days of my life.
I still wear it every day.
Show Him your hands.
I wonder if He looked at mine today what He would see.
A callous on my finger where my pen rubs from journal writing and thank you notes.
I wonder if He would see texts or emails sent to people I love.
Would He notice the Expo marker stain on my wrist where it slides across my whiteboard?
Would He see hands that do dishes and bath time? Maybe hands that do the actions to “Baby Shark” and “Five Little Monkeys”?
Would He see fingers that turn pages of scripture?
I wonder if my palms show time spent snuggling my sweet boy.
Would He see hands that lift hands that hang down?
Hands that reach out to those who struggle or feel alone?
Maybe He would see five years of holding hands and helping and cheering Jake on.
I hope He would see that I’m His.
In the scriptures the prophet Isaiah says that sometimes we might find ourselves thinking, "The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me."
The Savior's reply is sweet.
"Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.
"Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." (Isaiah 49:14-15)
If we were to see His hands today, we would see that we are His.
When I show Him mine, I hope He'll see that I chose Him too.
My name is Maddie Townsend Topham and I am a happy wife!