Sitting at my desk today, coffee mug at hand, I can see them still. Running, laughing, leaping, darting here, wriggling there. All those children…

I’d told his story before in a column. How he’d been so sick when he came. How we’d prayed and God healed, and why ours and not others’ babies, I couldn’t explain it at all.

Looking at the card that had come, the kind doctor’s face shining on the front, we decided it was time. He was six now, Little was. Just this fall, the Class of 2025 had gone to school, and a new season had begun. Too, our boy had prayed the prayer that really matters, asking Jesus to be his Lord and Saviour for time and eternity. His love for Christ was true and sure, and this was a part of his story.

We told him again how he’d come too early. How he’d been very sick, but the Great Physician, He’d sent him one with skin on, a nice man who’d helped him get all better. Told him that God, He’d been watching, and He had a plan for his life. And off we went to the alumni reunion at the HealthWorks museum.

Standing at the bottom of the slide, watching for Little’s sneakers to come sailing down, I saw her. A young mother stood beside me, an infant strapped to her tummy. Up the ladder was her husband with a matching infant strapped to his. And down the slide came – not Little, but a tiny bottle rocket in panda shoes. Which, I noted, were on the wrong feet.

Turning to her, I smiled. “How old are your twins?” I said, offering Baby Isaac a finger.

“They’re four months old,” she said. “And her? She’s two. And that one there, she’s three. They’re mine.” I stood, mouth agape, looking at this cheerful, brave-spirited mama, her with the four tiny souls, ages three and under.

“She’s a miracle baby,” she continued, pointing at the “bottle rocket.” And she explained how they’d taken her early because of the dreaded Rh factor and the shot that didn’t work. How the numbers, they’d exploded, and she, she should’ve been dead. But she wasn’t. She was deaf, that’s all, and the implant behind her ear told that story.

Oh, she was a spunky one, the little mite in her panda shoes. God had a plan for her, and her parents were grateful.

Turning around, then, we saw him. There he came, Dr. Okanlami, bending low before a young boy in a wheelchair. Speaking gentle, smiling sweet, he knelt by that chair, parents hanging shy in the back.
And then it was our turn. We introduced him to Little. Told how grateful we were. Told what a difference he’d made in all of our lives. We shook his hand, looking straight into his kind face and said the words that seemed too small: “Thank you.”

And here is a fascinating followup: On the day the column sharing Little’s story was published, I contacted the media department at Memorial Hospital, wanting to share it with them and one more time, to say, “Just – thank you.” The manager of the media department was thrilled to hear about it. This is part of the email I received from her after she read Little’s story:

“What a beautiful moving tribute to an amazing man and your wonderful family. I read it with tears in my eyes, from the perspective of the other mom in your story. Dr. Okanlami also cared for my little boy, but sadly he did not live to play on swing sets. But without Dr. Okanlami’s expert care and loving hands, we would not have been given those amazing 5 months with him. Thank you for sharing your story.”

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