“Let There Be Light,” July 9, 2019

Children are born to bring light into the world. They bring other things, too –worry and fear and hopes and dreams and total exhaustion.

But mostly, they bring light.

I was reminded of that recently by my grandson. But I learned it from my brother. My mother was always busy. She worked hard to put food on our table. I knew having a baby would give her less time for me.

So when she brought him home from the hospital and plopped him in my lap, I said, “Can’t you give him back?”

“No,” she said, “he’s staying.”

That’s when it happened. I poked his belly and he grabbed my finger and refused to let go. He was little, but he was strong — so strong it made me laugh. And suddenly the room filled with light. I don’t mean it seemed to do that. I mean, for me, my brother made the world a brighter, better place.

Is that hard to believe? Look around you. The world is ablaze with people who shine. You just might be one of them.

Months later, we learned my brother was blind. Doctors said he would never see. But they didn’t know Joe. All the things that he would never see with his eyes, he saw clearly with his heart and his soul. He made me see them, too. He still does.

When my children were born, I knew the moment I held them that they were a gift sent to shine light in my life. More than anyone — even more than my brother — they each in their own ways have brightened my days and taught me things I needed to know.

Sometimes those were things I never hoped to learn: How to put someone else’s needs and wants before my own; how to forego sleep, food, friends and personal hygiene for more days than I care to admit; how to hold a screaming toddler for a dozen stitches in the ER, and not fall apart until we got home and he was sound asleep.

They taught me patience and perserverance and humility and how to pray long and hard, like I had never prayed before.

But mostly they lit up my life.

They still do — they and the people they’ve married and the grandchildren they’ve given me. They light me up like Christmas.

That is what children, young and old, are meant to do. No matter how we know them — by birth or adoption or teaching or coaching or just being a good neighbor who doesn’t yell if their baseball smashes your begonias — children shine light in the lives of all who care for them. Some of them keep shining forever, even when they’re old.

My 7-year-0ld grandson, Henry, is a very old soul.

“Nana,” he said recently, “want to see my stick dance? I made it up myself.”

“Sure,” I said. “Let’s see it.”

“First, I take a stick,” he said, “and I throw it up in the air.”

He grabbed a stick, flung it high and danced around to catch it. When he missed, I bit my lip to keep from laughing.

Three times he tossed it. Three times he missed. On the fourth try he caught it and beamed.

“Did you see that?” he said.

“Yep!” I said. “You caught it!”

“But did you see what it did?” he asked. “Watch me again.”

I watched him two more times. But all I saw was a little boy making his nana stifle a laugh.

Finally, he explained. “It’s a special stick,” he said. “When I throw it in the sky, it brings light down to the world.”

A hummingbird darted by and zig-zagged around his head.

“I don’t know about that stick, Henry,” I said, “but I think you’re pretty special.”

He gave me a hug.

“I think that’s why I’m here, Nana, to bring light into the world.”

I looked in his brown eyes. He was serious. I nodded.

“You surely bring light to my world,” I said. “Throw it again.”

So he did.


  1. Hi Sharon, Beautiful article, capturing the Wonder, Joy, and Brightness that is a Child! Thanks so much for writing, sharing, and reminding us all of the power of the simple and the sublime in the eyes and mind of the young! I posted a poem, Children Bring Light, on my Facebook Page, PoetryThatWorks and it was written, pinging off of this article of yours, which I read in The Reading Eagle and saved from summer 2019. Not sure if posting my poem here is appropriate, but happy to do so if that would save you clicks in finding it! Cheers and All the Best and Happy Grandparenting, Parenting, and Thriving!

  2. Kate Sciacca says

    “That is what children, young and old, are meant to do. No matter how we know them — by birth or adoption or teaching or coaching or just being a good neighbor who doesn’t yell if their baseball smashes your begonias”

    By being a good neighbor…. yes, our neighbors across the street were just that. Retired, they chose to live in a family neighborhood (not a retirement neighborhood) so they could continually enjoy children playing, running, riding bikes and growing up. One day I had a knock at the door…it was the dad who lived next door to these great neighbors. “Thought you might want to know that the boys hit a ball through Bernice’s window…. she’s planning to fix it without telling you… she doesn’t want the boys to get in trouble…”

    Sure miss those folks, and those days.

  3. Joy Dunne says

    How can I get your wonderful columns delivered to my email mailbox? I was introduced to your writing by a dear friend, Snadee Turgell. She lent me a copy of your book.

  4. I just love this. For so many reasons!

  5. Sally Merrill says

    My grandchildren truly light up my life too! I got to spend a day with them last week, just the three of us, with nothing special that we had to do, just things we wanted to do! We played and went to lunch and went shopping for them to each pick out a little something special, and went for snowballs with our favorite flavors! My grandson took a selfie of us with my phone to remember the day and we all have the biggest smiles on our faces! My smile was one I haven’t seen very often during the past few months since my husband passed away unexpectedly. They bring the light back into my life when I spend time with them! Thank you for another wonderful story! Your grandson, Henry, is an amazing light in the world!

  6. Peggy Brown says

    Oh Sharon, so wonderful to have your light back in my life! We recently connected at Cowgirl Winery where your husband was playing. Like a nerdy fan I approached you and emotionally spilled my story of sharing your Herald articles with my mom. You were so gracious and kind and I fell in love with you all over again. My youngest has been shining her light as she has been with me since my new diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. She makes me laugh and keeps my meds straight, but I worry about her, and her brother. Sorry for rambling, just wanted you to know how much I appreciate you and your writing❤️

  7. Nancy Rambo says

    Always love your stories

    My son Brandon died of a heart attack on April 4th. He had a cardiac arrest. I don’t think he ever knew what hit him. He was only 45 years of age

    Three days later they took him off machines and he was an organ donor (kidneys, corneas, heart valve, skin and bone too)

    He left also a lovely wife and young children

    Others now see and no longer need treatment

    After a few weeks I mentioned to her, what do you think of redecorating your bedroom? She paused….next week she told me that she felt it would help her

    Her mom and sister were visiting and furniture was painted and moved, a new bedspread, and so accessories. Thanks for sharing that suggestion

    I miss my son terribly. But he’s continuing to help others as he did where here on earth


    • Kate Sciacca says

      May you be comforted in your deep sorrow. I have seven sons, cannot imagine what it would be like to lose one. May you and all those dear to Brandon be blessed with many Simons to help all of you carry this very heavy Cross. God’s Perfect Peace be with all of you.

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