Grandma Rocks, by Nebraska Portrait Artist Tim ONeill, a 30×45 mixed media painting on canvas.
This particular painting is near and dear to my heart. The story behind Grandma Rocks has many layers and really could fill a small book. I will present the Cliff Note version here.
All babies are miracles, some more than others. The bundle of joy in this painting is my youngest daughter, Elise. Allison and I wanted children but like many couples had difficulty. We had Josh and Amber from my previous marriage and Noah who we were blessed with through the gift of adoption. (Cool story there also). Anyway the good Doctors told us we would not be able to have children, as you know in many cases a simple adoption will fix things in that area with a large success ratio. Anyway we adopted Noah and had been trying to move back home. Moving to a smalll community was a big bonus for us but most importantly we wanted to be around my parents and have the kids around Mom and Dad as well.
We moved from Colorado back home and immersed my older children in a whole new way of life. It took some getting used to. Josh went from having a class of 1,200 kids in his 8th grade class to…35 the next year in 9th. Just a small adjustment. Kids are resilient though and he soon came to really enjoy his new school and friends. Josh is a really outgoing kid, big smile, positive and upbeat and a gifted athlete. We really enjoyed going to his games and watching him play sports and just “be” in his element.
The community he went to school in is 12 miles from home. In Nebraska kids start driving early on school permits, in our case since he was 14 he drove himself to and from school. Josh had an out of town basketball game one evening. The evening of his game Josh got off the bus and hopped in his car to come home, it was his 16th birthday. It was after midnight as he began his 12 mile trek home. He made a brief stop at his best friends house to grab some of his clothes and then hit the highway. Between his school and our house he hit a Black Angus cow that was in the middle of the road. It was dark, no moon and the cow was turned sideways. He suffered only one injury. He broke his neck. No cuts, scratches or bruises to speak of just a C-5 fracture that nipped the spinal cord.
The agonizing months that followed were almost unbearable as we watched our son teeter on the very brink of survival. We were certainly blessed in many ways during that ordeal, Josh survived. I saw a majestic resolve within him while in the hospital. While there are many things I remember about our stay at Craig Hospital, one marks a turning point for me as a parent. That was when I witnessed my 16 year old consoling a young (30 something) Doctor who broke his neck a few months after Josh. I knew then Josh would be ok.
After months of being in the hospital Josh was released and we came home. Elise was born directly after that chaos, she bounced into the world and brought with her a beacon of hope and became the embodiment of all that is good and right within our little world. She represented an emergence, a special healing that said okay lets switch to the positive again, to life and to living.
The impact and the timing of Elise’s birth is hardly imaginable. This painting captures that whole story for me. Allison’s mom is the Grandmother in the painting and I wonder as I study her face what communication is going on between them?
As for Josh, he got back in school right away and worked his fanny off to be able to graduate on time with his class. He went on to finish his first two years of college and is currently deciding if he is going back now to finish up or wait for a bit. He has a special bond with his sister.