One year

Edith was born with the sunrise.

I write that sentence and giggle to myself. It sounds so idealistic, a bit too sappy sweet, just the way you might think a rose-colored-glasses sort of person would look back at the moment she became a mother. But it’s true.

I labored through the night, in the dark, with only a string of Christmas lights providing a glow in the corner. I walked and squatted and leaned over an exercise ball through the late hours of night and then early morning hours. I ate a banana, tried to forget about the pain and focus only on the task in front of me, even laughed with my mom through a few contractions.

I pushed in the dark, my eyes closed most of the time, drifting in and out of subconscious, exhausted sleep for a minute here, a minute there. And then there was a baby, a little person placed on my chest. They opened the blinds and the sun was rising over the tops of the buildings, filling our seven-story room with new light, new life. There was a sense of relief, but more than that: the world was new. There had never been a morning like this before. There had never before been a morning with this firstborn Lacy daughter in the world.

I asked over and over again what the baby was. The midwife forgot to announce it and must have assumed we already knew.

“It’s a girl!” I finally heard.

My mother said the obvious shock on my face was funny to see.

So we named her Edith Grace and suddenly our family was three.

It is a strange feeling, looking back on a day—a minute in time, really—that changed our entire lives. The memories hint at pain and blood and ice packs and eyelids that literally, not just figuratively, would not stay open; but they are not those things. They are of resting in the hospital bed with a sleeping baby on my chest, of Dad changing his first diaper, of the first night with a baby in the crib next to the bed, looking at her, wondering how I was going to be able to keep another human alive.

And although the memories continue, sadly they are not as distinct. They are memories of getting to know this little girl, of learning her and studying her and praying desperately every night for a little more sleep.

We go for walks, run errands together, play on the living room floor, read the first three pages of a book before she is off again looking for something new. And every night we are relieved to crawl into bed, hoping for a few hours of sleep before she reminds us that she’s still here, just down the hall, too close for us to fall back asleep. The days look much like this, over and over again. But the delight that we found in this life, in her life, is nothing we could have expected and nothing we have ever known before.

I am often struck by just how useless Edith is. We gain nothing considered of profit through her. She doesn’t do my dishes. She doesn’t grade my students’ papers for me. She doesn’t even feed herself at this point. But precisely because she has no use assigned to her by this world, therein lies her value.

But God chose what is foolish in the world in the world to shame the wise…

Two 24 year-olds with a few thousands to their name, two years to go in graduate school, two jobs, college debt, and many question marks ahead of them have a baby. Edith is our foolishness, our irresponsibility, our inconvenience, our hospital bills, our new budget category.

But she is our glory, our wonder, our laughter, our amazement, our joy, our love. She gives life. She is life.

And it is very good.

Happy almost birthday, little girl.

2 thoughts on “One year

  1. Greg Wilhelm

    Irenaeus said “The glory of God is the living man.”
    If we keep that in mind as we live with others including our own children…. magnificently useless as they may be at times we see wonder, hope and future… which result in happiness and contentment.

  2. Pingback: Two Years – Inessential Beauty

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