I believe that the life in everyone is from God. God provides life to newborn babies and when that baby eventual dies, that life returns to God. In that way, though a person dies, his life lives forever. This applies to all life in everything that is living. It took me a lifetime to understand this.
Anne, my wife was trained by the government in the Netherlands to help distressed and tired women, who advised her after they heard Anne was going to get married and move to Canada, to refrain from having children for a few years because she was so young yet. Since we believed they had the best in mind for her, we decided not to be parents for a while after we were married, but still wanted sex.
We sincerely tried and for a while used what was then called the 'catholic system of having sex' - to have intercourse only on days when Anne was infertile, which had to be calculated by using the calendar and since Anne was very regular, that worked – for quite a while, though too long for the family in the Netherlands, because we received a letter from an uncle in Holland asking when that baby was going to show up, or, if we needed uncle to come over to give Lex some instructions.
Uncle Johannes was not needed, Janice was born about two years after our wedding, and two years later appeared our second daughter, Deborah. Those two lovely girl were enough for us, especially since we had a boarder in our house as long as we were married, but our knowledge about sex had not much increased, so we tried that frustrating way of desiring sexual activity without pregnancy again.
One night Anne was not sure if the time was right for our activity and checked the calendar in the kitchen, from where she shortly after happily returned with the OK-sign. The next morning she was shocked to find the wrong month showing on the calendar. Though we were hoping for negative results, Anne was sure that the thing 'not hoped for' at that time, was going to be, as 'in our family one only has to look at us and we are pregnant,' and she was right – number three was on the way. Anne had consulted the wrong page (with wrong month) on the calendar. It appeared that our sweet oldest daughter had ripped a page off the calendar, showing that actions taken by us not always resulted in the desired results.
The nurses tending Anne ooh-ed and aah-ed about the newborn – 'he looks like a young lion,'
and when we named him Leonard, Len, as we called him, they wholeheartedly approved.
“He even looks like a little lion,” one remarked.
Len, as a baby, never cried, which did concern us after awhile, isn't a baby supposed to cry?
Anne consulted the doctor about this, who laughed and congratulating her, said 'Anne, you hold the perfect baby boy in your arms.'
What concerned us even more was that he did not make any sounds, not even when he was at the age he should start talking, but then one time, when we went out for a drive on #5 road in Richmond and passed over the the old Fraser river bridge, long since gone, he looked down and surprised me by clearly saying 'water,' and from that day on he talked, not much but to our utter surprise he not only talked but said difficult words we not normally used, for instance I took him often with me in the truck to the city where we passed some front-yards growing monkey trees, having of course a Latin name as well, which I forgot. Len's eyes hooked onto them calling out the Latin name, once he heard something he did not forget it.
One time when I came home from work, without looking up from what he was doing, he welcomed me by calling out 'Hi dad,' for the first time. What a happy welcome.
At every house we lived in I started a tree-house, which Len then altered, added a story onto it, demolished all or part of it and enjoyed himself working out his own creation, he was never bored. Once a month I took him with me to the bank and after the two of us party-ed at an Italian coffee- house where the proprietress, a voluptuous grandmother took him with her in the kitchen helping her carry out our orders – a giant piece of apple pie for each of us, coffee for me and chocolate milk for Len.
We had no problem getting him to school, where he met his buddies, which he missed in our own household, as we received only one boy with our three daughters, but Len with his great memory had problems keeping up with his classmates, and for the first time in his busy life was bored. To fill time he sharpened his pencil, he sharpened and sharpened until the pencil was gone. And then he sharpened another one. And another. He came home with a note asking for for one of us to see his teacher. Anne went and was told that her son had destroyed school property. The teacher, very punctual, had already made up a sales slip – so many pencils at so much a pencil.
Anne never told me where he could stick that slip, but took Len to our up-to-date doctor who was as skillful as he was wise, and referred her to the only specialist at that time in Vancouver seeing children with dyslexia.
“Your child is a typical dyslexic,” was the specialists diagnosis, “very intellectual but his brain refuses to act the way the majority of his classmates does, and there is, so far, little to cure that condition.”
He went on to say that many people with dyslexia had overcome the handicap to raise far above doctors and specialist, like Einstein one of the greatest scientist, which didn't impress Len much, but when he heard the name Leonardo da Vinci added to the list, he said 'that's my name' and I knew that he would never forget da Vinci.
We had kept the tradition of bible reading after the evening meal in our family and afterwards we discussed about what had been was read, and I was surprised that Len remembered so much, one time I ask him if he heard a certain part right and looked it up – he was right.
I took it very hard when my mother died only two weeks into her vacation in Canada. I returned with my father back to Holland to take mom's body home. Anne was going to follow with our four children, and two weeks later when when they were ready to leave for the airport they couldn't find Len, he had taken off with a friend. I don't know how they finally found him, but he made the plane in time.
Once in Holland, he had a great time with Anne's brother Henk, who took him to the field and let him drive a tractor. Forgotten was the school with reading and writing, which Len was not able to muster, the fresh Dutch weather combined with the care of his uncle Henk gave him the the time of his life.
My father wanted to show Len the heather-fields in which he had grown up in so I drove him and Len over to his familiar heather fields. It was hot and after a fair walk father was tired. He wanted to to take a nap, right there, in the heather-fields, as they used to do during lunch time in the olden days when they were clearing the heather from the land to make it suitable for farm land.
Laying himself comfortably on his back on the warm sand of an old rabbit pathway through the heather, he soon slumbered away, my son and I were sitting nearby the softly snoring old man (who at that time was not even 65, come to think of.) Len, being bored busied around, too loud and irritating for my father, who, half asleep told Len to 'go catch a rabbit for goodness sake,' Len took off and the quiet of the heather-field returned, but not for long, as we heard Len cry “I got one!
We were astounded to see Len turn up holding a rabbit against his chest as if it was a pet dog and my father, huffy to miss his nap, shook his head and crawled onto his feet
“My grandfather used to shoot rabbits with a gun,” he said, “and my father as a teenager snared them and landed in jail for it, but my grandson beats them both, as he catches them by hand.”