Original Story — A Special Child

I’ve been working on this story a long time.  I think it has merit, but no one else seems to like it.  Any comments?



Every Mother Thinks Her Child is Special

(But Mine Really Is)

By Bob Welbaum


March 6, 1989

Dear Diary,

Finally, some good news!  I’m pregnant!!  After all the tests, the romantic weekends, the prayers, it looks like William and I are going to have a child after all!  Now I just have to be careful and follow all the rules.  No chances!  I don’t want a miscarriage like my sister.  The way things have gone, this might be our only chance.

I also called Mom & Dad and they are thrilled, of course.  I thought about waiting a bit, but then Mom would start figuring out dates and ask why I didn’t tell her right away.  At least now all the gentle hints and probing questions will stop.


June 5, 1989

Dear Diary,

I’m so excited!!!  Had another ultrasound exam today and it’s a BOY!  That’s exactly what we were hoping for!  And best of all, everything looks normal. William and I are so happy, and we both have our fingers and toes crossed that everything continues to go well.  Time to think about boy names.


June 7, 1989

Dear Diary,

I talked to Mom & Dad today and told them the good news about having a boy.  Would you believe they’re starting to suggest colleges?  They already have him pegged for an athletic scholarship, just like his dad.  But I just want a normal, healthy boy.  We’ve got a long way to go before he’ll even start school!


August 22, 1989

Dear Diary,

The strangest thing happened to me today.  William and I have been discussing names for our soon-to-be baby.  Since this is our first and may be our only boy, we want to get it right.  And it’s a lot harder than I thought it would be!  We could just name him after his father – another William – nice, but it would have to be William III, since his father is actually William, Jr.  That sounds terribly snobbish, like a king of England or something. I could name him after my father, but with both my parents dead, where’s the fun in that?  William’s father?  What kind of role model would an ex-con and druggie be?  William agrees — the less contact with him, the better.  Name him after a famous person?  The founding fathers?  George, Thomas, and Benjamin sound old-fashioned to me.  Hey, he might be president himself someday!  So we decided to give it some more thought.

So it’s two o’clock in the afternoon and time for my reading break.  Well, I no more than grab the paper and sit down on the sofa than I nod off.  And I’m dreaming of a place that’s high on a mountain and looks like a temple of some sort, or maybe a palace.  I’m standing in a courtyard surrounded by these tall marble columns.  Then I see a  little boy, just old enough to walk, coming toward me, dressed in this loose white garment, kind of like a sheet only tailored.  He has blonde hair like mine.  When he is about ten feet away, he stops and says in a surprisingly adult-sounding voice. “Hermes.”  I look at his expressionless face, and when he doesn’t say anything else, I say “What?”  He speaks again, “Hermes.  My name is Hermes.”   Then he vanishes and I’m wide awake.

When William came home, I wasn’t sure whether to tell him or not.  But my curiosity got the best of me, and since he is a history teacher, I thought maybe he could think of an explanation. So right after “How did your day go?” I told him the complete story.  He listened intently, and as soon as I finished, he smiled slyly.

Then he just stood there with this dumb smile on his face, so I asked, “Do you think it means anything?”  His answer floored me.  “Did you ever study Greek mythology?”

“No, I was a biology major.”

“Then you’ve never heard of Hermes?”  I gave him one of those ‘this is not the time for games’ looks, so he stopped smiling.  “Hermes was the messenger of the ancient Greek gods.  The gods were thought to live at the top of Mt. Olympus in northern Greece, which would be why your little boy appeared in that setting.”

“So in my dream I’m channeling some god from ancient Greece?”

William gave me a condescending look like he thought I was crazy, but it wasn’t worth arguing about.  “I’m sure you’ve read about Greek mythology sometime in your life.  You just don’t remember it.”  Which doesn’t explain why I would remember it now.  Or explain the name coming to me.

“So what about the name?”

His smile returned.  “You wanted David.  But maybe our son wants Hermes, for whatever reason.  Unusual names are in vogue now.  Tell you what, why don’t we name him David Hermes?  The middle name will be our little secret!  If anybody asks, we can always make something up.”

That’s why I married him, I guess.  Still, I hope this was just some kind of weird dream.  It has to be!  I feel silly even writing it down.  Have to lay off the pickles before bedtime, I guess.


November 8, 1989

Sorry I haven’t written lately, Diary, but giving birth is hard work!  David is the most beautiful, most perfect little boy ever!  Things started to happen two days ago, two days before I was due, actually. I was ready for a good night’s sleep.  I always seemed to have problems finding a comfortable sleeping position.  I usually woke up and started over at least twice every night.

Except tonight was different.  I was so exhausted I laid down and went right to sleep. Normally I can’t remember my dreams, but I do remember this — the little boy in the funny outfit was coming toward me again.  Then he stopped, gave me a bit of a smile and announced “I am ready.”  Then he was gone.

I awoke with a start, then realized the sheets were all wet.  My water had broken!  I immediately yelled “William, the baby’s coming. Time to leave.”

Everything after that is a blur.  Into the car, to the hospital, pain, push, bright lights in my eyes…  Then I saw him.  I’ll never forget holding him for the first time.  He seemed so tiny, so delicate, and yet… His eyes were open, and he wouldn’t take them off me, all the while I held him. And was that a smile?  It looks like all of our prayers have been answered!  More later, I’m out of energy now.


November 16, 1989

I think we finally have a regular routine now.  I’m really surprised things are going so well!  None of Mom’s worries have materialized, so she went home yesterday.  We’re calling the baby D.H. for short and he’s been very calm.  Those big eyes are taking everything in and he hasn’t had a bit of trouble adjusting to home.  What’s more, he’s sleeping almost through the night.  Things are going so well, William is going back to work tomorrow.  I just hope it continues.


August 14, 1990

First steps today!  D.H. is a bit ahead of schedule and seems like a very bright boy.  He seems interested in everything!  I know I prejudiced, but he really seems special to me.  Of course, I have nothing to compare him with, but he seems to be doing so well!


November 7, 1990

Happy first birthday, D.H.!  William and I kept this low-key, just us and Mom & Dad.  I told them not to go overboard, but of course they brought enough stuffed animals to fill a zoo!  D.H. seemed pleased, sitting in his highchair, looking all around.  Of all the toys, he seemed to like a cow the most.  Oh, and a bright red bird.  But the important thing is he was very well-behaved and everyone had fun.  We are all very proud of him!


November 22, 1990

Dear Dairy,

Not a good day.  D.H. has a cold!  After all I’ve done to shield him, all the care I’ve taken, it finally happened.  Oh well, I guess sickness is inevitable.  I guess I should be happy he went this long without any problems.  But still, it makes me feel like I’ve failed him.


May 17, 1991

D.H. said his first words today.  Yes, it was “Momma,” I made sure of that!, but by the end of the day he was putting words together to make like a sentence.  Like “Momma do” and “I did it”. Pretty basic, but it impresses me.


November 7, 1991

Dear Diary,

Today was a very interesting day.  We had D.H.’s second birthday party.  I kept it low-key, just Mom & Dad and a few of my close friends.  No kids his age, so no clown or entertainment, just ice cream & cake and some gifts.

What caused the excitement was the gift Mom brought.  It was a whiteboard with magnetized alphabet letters and numbers.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her, but I think she’s way ahead of us – he hasn’t even started on the alphabet yet.  But I didn’t say anything, we unwrapped it, acted grateful, and I let him play with the letters as we talked.

So everyone had left and William & I started cleaning up. As I was taking some dirty dishes to the kitchen, I happened to glance at the whiteboard. “Oh, look,” I told William, “I think D.H. actually spelled a word.  D – E – L – P – H – I   How cute!” And William dropped his trash bag.

“Do you know what Delphi was?”  I told him I thought it was a word, that’s all.  “It’s in Greece.  In ancient times it was the site of an oracle.  People would come from all over to have their futures predicted. Some even thought it was a way for the gods to speak directly to the people.”  All I could think to say was “That¢s quite a coincidence.”  William got a glazed look and mumbled “Yeah. Coincidence.”


March 28, 1992

Dear Diary,

I thought I was losing my mind, but today I found out who was really to blame.  For the past week, my keys kept disappearing.  Like I remember laying them on the table, then a half-hour later they were gone.  I would hunt all over for them, then there they would be, right on the table!  It was driving me crazy!!

Well, today I just happened to catch D.H. in the act – the little scamp was grabbing and hiding them.  Then I guess he would put them back, although this time he didn’t get the chance.  I made sure he knew I was upset, then kept him in his playpen for the rest of the afternoon.  What really concerns me is he didn’t seem very sorry.  Why would he do this?  Is he still too young to realize what he is doing?


April 16, 1992

Dear Diary,

Today was a beautiful spring day. So about 2 pm I took a lawn chair, a book, and D.H. into the backyard to enjoy the weather.

I put my chair under the old oak tree, pulled out my book, and turned D.H. loose. (I figured as long as he didn’t try to climb the fence, he’d be okay.) It wasn’t about 15 minutes later than he came toddling up to me and yelled, “Momma, we go.” I stared at him. “What?”

“We go,” he repeated, then took off, fast as his little legs would run, straight for my rose bushes. Whoa, those are my pride and joy.

“Stop right there, young man!” I took off after him, and almost caught him when behind me I heard a sharp crack, a whoosh, and a crash.

I turned around to the shock of my life. A branch had broken off the oak tree and had landed right on my lawn chair. I looked at my son. He simply smiled up at me and repeated. “We go.”

I told William the whole story as soon as he got home, and he believed every word of it. Something special is happening here with D.H., but what does it mean?  Is this child telepathic?  Is he really a living link to ancient Greece in some way?  Or is all of this some sort of weird coincidence?


April 17, 1992

Dear Diary,

We have to talk.

William and I sat down tonight and thought long and hard about D.H.’s behavior this past month.  How he hides things with no apparent remorse and how he saved me from the falling tree branch.  What’s going on with him?

Then I remembered those strange dreams I had before he was born and how his middle name was picked.  So William hauled down one of his favorite books, the one on Greek mythology, and started reading.

Hermes – Son of Zeus, the ruler of Mount Olympus, and Maia.  Had the ability to move freely between the mortal world and the gods, so he acted as the gods’ messenger and linked them to the mortals.  Reputed to be cunning and quick-acting, he had a reputation as a teaser, both for his own amusement and to protect mortals.”

Well, that would explain a few things.  But our son as a kind of mythological god?   I simply refuse to believe anything so far-fetched.  And no one would believe me if I did!  It’s impossible!!!  Isn’t it?


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