“And I realized when you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know.”—Mitch Albom
“Becoming a mother makes you the mother of all children.”—Charlotte Gray
I could hear her squalling, yet the door remained closed. It was that tiny cry that seems cat-like—the high-pitched sound that only an infant can create. Immediately, my heart hurt, and my arms yearned—even though I knew she was safe, secure, and soundly in her mother’s direct supervision. It was pure maternal instinct that longed to provide comfort to the grieving, unseen newborn.
Catching the eye of my brother, Scott, I could see the tension across his face. Only moments earlier, he had knocked, asking to enter, but instead had been told to wait outside in the hallway while the photographer finished her work. He seemed filled with both joy and anxiety. Joy at becoming a grandfather; anxiety-ridden hearing his concealed granddaughter cry for the first time. Who knew hospitals had an official photography session for newborns? Much had changed since Scott had his own children 20-plus years ago.
Gratefully, the photographer finished; politely speaking to us as she pushed her black velvet covered cart passed us. By this point, my mom had also arrived, so she and Scott entered the hospital room first.
Passing into the room after them, I took in the scene. Hugs were shared with all present. Meanwhile, in front of me, was a young lady, my niece, Lydia, looking quite fatigued, but still radiating pride, love, and joy as she carefully dressed her firstborn child, a beautiful baby named Luna. Lydia talked softly and sweetly to her unhappy baby girl who was clearly not pleased with the current situation. Luna’s limbs writhed in protest within her tiny, but tall hospital bed as Lydia carefully placed each of her extremities into a cozy pajama-type outfit. Once in the security of her mother’s arms, however, all crying ceased; an audible sigh could be heard as Luna nestled into loving comfort once more.
At the base of the baby’s bed were Luna’s inky-black footprints. Lydia immediately pointed out the size of Luna’s feet to Scott, her father, laughing at the way Luna had inherited big feet from both sides of the family. Scott listened and laughed along, but both he, and my mom, Luna’s great-grandmother, could not pull their eyes away from Baby Luna.
Luna was indeed beautiful. Yes, I know, everyone believes this about his or her own children and relatives, but really, she was exquisite. Long fingers and toes; a head full of black hair complete with a swirl at the back of the scalp. Animated lips, face, and eyes that moved about in the full, curious methods of newborns forming the type of expressions in which one begins mimicking in return and/or uttering baby-talk expressions in sing-song voices, such as, “What?” “What is it, Sissy?” “What do you think?” “Oh, yes, I know, I know.”
Hours before Baby Luna was born, I sent my niece a text stating that both her pregnancy and her birth were the two sacred and specials moments when a woman is blessed to help God in the miracle of life. Feeling the baby grow inside you; caressing your belly; and talking to her throughout those nine, seemingly long, months, mother and child begin building their God-given bond. Those months feel so extraordinary, and they are; but nothing compares to birth.
Personally speaking, one of the most hallowed moments of my life occurred when my doctor, before even cutting the umbilical cord, gently placed my own daughter, Madelyn, onto my chest and in my arms. I remember my husband, John and I, crying tears of unrelenting joy at the miracle of her birth as he leaned in placing a hand upon her back. That was a long ago June moment—18 years, in fact. Now, Lydia, and her partner, Bradley, have experienced it too. And, in that hospital room, I recognized the look on their faces—one of pure awe, pure devotion, and pure love. It was truly beautiful.
And so, one weekend, I proudly watch my daughter address her classmates at her own high school graduation. Seven days later, my niece gives birth to Luna. “So it goes like it goes and the river flows/And time it rolls right on/ And maybe what’s good gets a little bit better/ And maybe what’s bad gets gone.” (Lyrics from an Academy Award winning song from 1979 as I began high school.)
I am entering a new phase of motherhood as Lydia is only just beginning. My daughter will become more and more independent from me over the next few years as Luna will become more and more dependent upon her mom. I will now need to pray for God’s guidance and protection of my daughter’s newfound independence. Meanwhile, Lydia must pray for wisdom in her newfound role as a mother.
However, Lydia and I have one very strong, common bond: love. We will continue to offer our girls unconditional love; never ceasing to be amazed at the miraculous growth of our daughters as one daughter spreads her wings to leave the nest, and the other daughter grows while in the protection of her parents’ nest.
Thus, even with all the worldly chaos, birth is God’s way of reminding us that true good still exists. Our daughters, Miss Lydia, are proof of that goodness. So, if you ever wake up feeling defeated by an unkind comment, a shattering headline, or a negative attitude, turn to that baby girl; rest assure that hope exists as you gaze into her eyes; know that miracles do happen as you feel her warmth in your arms; and know with confidence, each time you tenderly kiss her head, that love wins. Love always wins.