Friday, June 16, 2017

On grandmothering


  This is Philip. He is my first grandson. He was born 2 days ago, and I had the privlege of being there to witness his entrance into the world.  Of course you all know what people say about being at the birth of a child.
Its a miracle
         This is all true, but Philips birth was not the most memorable part of the day for me. Somewhere shortly after he was born and the doctors and nurses were able to determine that all was well, they left the room. It was semi-dark and quiet. No more monitors beeping or electronic sounds buzzing. Philip was crying and his very new parents were introducing themselves to him. I sat back intentionally silent, and tried to keep myself still and as invisible as possible, moving only to capture a photo now and again. Their voices were sweet and full of emotion as they said his name to him and whispered words of love and calm into his tiny new flesh. They answered  him in sing-songy voices and gentle touches and breaths as he called to them in that primal language of cries.

        I have done this with my husband ten times now. I have heard Freds voice rise and fall to the new face of a son or daughter. I have whispered I love yous over and over to fresh ears. But I never realized that it was in those moments that a family was born. It comes after the birth, and before the utter exhaustion of newborn life. It comes in a promise we make to these tiny fragile little creatures who depend on us for every single thing.

       I saw this on Wednesday with fresh eyes in my own son and his bride. It was so striking. I felt as if my soul was lifted along with them as I witnessed the love shared between them and Philip. Andrews eyes filled with tears of joy and Rachels closed as she kissed his newborn forehead over and over. They drank him in and nestled him close to their hearts. I was keenly aware of how powerful the love they now held for him actually was. The words of Song of Songs came to my mind:

                                               For love is as strong as death
                             its jealousy unyielding like the grave
                                  It burns like a blazing fire
                                      Like a mighty flame
                             Many waters cannot quench love
                                 rivers cannot sweep it away
                                     ( Song of Songs 8:6-7) 

           I witnessed the birth of a family. The flicker of this powerful force as its tiny embers were being blown on and kindled in the sweet voices that now shelter it. I had hoped to be a help to Rachel as she labored and delievered her first son. Instead, she and Andrew were a help to me. They allowed me to see  the past from a new perspective; conjuring the births of my own children and those precious first moments I have shared with my husband. I found an incredible gratitude in my heart in seeing this new generation begin again that tireless work of being a christian family. They will take the flame and pass the faith. The faith we sheltered in our hearts for them in those first moments of their lives is now shaping itself into a new hope for the age that they are called to.

       I am a very new grandmother. But this new role seems to be  filled with  promise.

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