If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll be very aware that elephants came to have a special part in Elijah’s life. It seemed that they just kept turning up! From babygro’s to blankets, from wrapping paper and cards to things that we had bought before he was born , (not really even realising that there was an elephant on them!) , gifts that he received from friends and family, and indeed presents that we were given from strangers – so many had a little elephant on them somewhere.
After a while we began to comment on their frequent occurrence, and soon elephants came to have a special significance for us with our precious little Elijah! He was our very own baby Eli – phant! My husband bought me a charm bracelet for our first wedding anniversary and we have been adding to it ever since, with each momentous event! Each of our babies have a charm on it …. and of course Elijah is no different. In the mayhem of June and July I had kinda forgotten about my bracelet and what Elijah would have – but Ben hadn’t and he produced the most gorgeous elephant charm.
Shortly after this I couldn’t believe it then when a good friend, and very talented artist, Aly Harte, gave a little sneak preview of one of her latest paintings! It was elephants! I wept when I saw it. It was so beautiful, so perfect, and for me perfectly captured the relationship between Elijah and me. That playful, impish baby with his teasing yet oh so adoring mother.
I boldly got in touch with Aly and asked if she would let me know when they were being released and if she would keep me one! That kind girl, gave me number 1 from the collection and it sits pride of place on my bedside table.
Aly went one step further and around Christmas time got in touch to say that she would like to donate 20% of profits to Children’s Heartbeat Trust, a charity so dear to our hearts. You can read more about the print here.
Since then I have had so many people get in touch to say that they too now have the print in their house, they tell of how it reminds them of Elijah’s story, or of how it reminds them to make the most of each day, of how it reminds them that God always has purpose, or that it reminds them to be thankful and to never take for granted the little one in whose bedroom it hangs. And that, that fills my heart to bursting.
In August time I decided to google elephants … I was convinced that there must be some sort of message for us in the symbol of the baby elephant. And this was the very first thing that I came across …..
“There is no greater love in elephant society than the maternal bond between mother and calf. In these early years, the calf is under the constant watch of his or her mother and knowledge vital to survival is imparted day to day. To observe the relationship between mother and baby elephant reveals a profound level of care and tenderness that is second to none in the animal kingdom.” http://www.allthingselephants.com/blog/maternal-bonds-in-the-elephant-realm/
Well you can imagine how the tears flowed when I read that. Some may think I’m crackers and perhaps you would be right, but for me it was confirmation from God that me and my little boy DID have a special bond, our relationship was unique and second to none and I was not to doubt that. You see I had been struggling with how things had worked out in those early days. It bothered me greatly that I missed out on skin to skin contact, that I didn’t get to hold Elijah until 1 week had gone by. It troubled me that I had to go home and leave him under the care of the doctors and nurses, it was distressing and heart breaking and utterly destroying. But in that beautiful image of the elephant God reassured me of that great love, of the maternal bond, of a cord between God, Elijah and I that no one could break. And so for me, elephants will forever have a special place in my heart. They will always remind me of our precious boy.
Someone recently reminded me too that elephants are often used symbolically on occasions because of that phrase, “an elephant never forgets”. And I love that thought too … that our wee man will never be forgotten, whether it be through people seeing an elephant and thinking of Elijah, through having a piece of art in their homes, or just by reading this story … may our baby boy never be forgot.