Opening my eyes on mornings is usually a challenge but not this particular Saturday. There was a joy filled afternoon waiting for me. For the very first time I was going to hold my new great-grandson Holden.
Peering out my bedroom window, all I could see was white. I don’t how much snow and ice had accumulated but neither the sidewalk nor the street were visible and the trees were bowed in the weight of the snow. In short, it was the very kind of day I like to look at from the comfort of my recliner but never do.
But this day, I did not care in the slightest what kind of weather day it was. I was going to get in the family car, go up the mountain, with help walk into the home of our newborn baby and fill my arms with Holden.
The family sat me down on the sofa and Rachel, my granddaughter and new mother, appeared, holding her child. She simply walked to me and handed to me this beautiful brave little miracle.
It took a minute to find the exact position he needed to feel safe and adored. Propping a pillow under my arms so they were sturdy under and around his tiny body we two settled in to properly meet and bond.
I just sat there as the world went away. There was conversation all around the room but we two were the only ones I heard.
Literally, I memorized his perfectly shaped face and head covered in blond fuzz. My mind went back to 2 weeks ago. He was still living inside his mom’s body while she was struggling to keep him there as long as possible.
Because of very serious complications, the doctor was forced to lift him from his safest home and do everything medically possible to help him to breathe and suck and drink and all the other things necessary to survive.
As I watched Holden, he scrunched up his face and looked like maybe he would cry. Do you suppose he remembered those frightful days? Did he want to get out of there? He didn’t have one thing to do but kick and feel the inside of his mother.
But she wasn’t doing well either. Did he know this? It leads me to a question I keep having as I look at him. What DO babies know at birth? Before birth? Right after birth, as they feel air, touch water, see light? That’s a lot for him to absorb.
Sometimes I feel babies know everything. After all, haven’t they just come from the universe, from God? Do they arrive with a purpose? If so, do they know it?
I see Holden open his eyes. He looks right at me but can he see me? They say not. So why did he smile? Or did he smile?
Oh my, what is this I’m holding so close? He already has a mom and a dad, indeed a whole family. He has a lovely home, nourishment, two dogs to grow up with and his own safe bed to dream in.
This little boy went from a human being potential to a human being. He will learn to function in a very different world than what we, his family, know. I bent my head low to smell him, to connect his blond fuzz with my white fuzz.
The longer I hold him, the more completely in awe I am of how a new person is created. How love between two people can come together, resulting in a being that has everything they need and most of the time those things all know what to do and when. How can that be?
Do they somehow learn the basics in the womb? Does this really mean that humans create humans? So, when does the soul come into it? Is that the God part of us? I believe so.
You know, I felt like I never wanted to put him down. Have you ever kissed skin as soft as a newborn’s cheek? I don’t know a comparison. And, there’s one more question I have for Holden. I just wonder who in the long run is the teacher here and who is the listener?
Of course, babies have to be taught, guided, learn by example all the rules of life on this planet. But I’m not talking about that part of raising a baby to adulthood. I’m asking a far deeper question.
A feeling of humbleness came over me. I had no idea what was really inside that precious little head of his.
He is a miracle if I ever saw one. He is poised to start his place in God’s circle of life and we the family stand ready to help him get there. The question is the mystery, the mystery is the miracle and the miracle is the baby.
Jean Brody and her husband Gene lived in Salida previously, and were a beloved part of our local community, with continuing local connections.