One day, I had this baby. He was just a little thing with a whole lot of hair and a round face. I was nervous. I was scared to death in the middle of the night at that hospital, while my baby slept in the bassinet beside me because I had never been a momma. And now here I was, completely responsible for this intricately formed, tiny human being.
But the music played on the CD that I had brought and in the night I cried through my fears and into God’s comfort,
“God of all I am, You are the Great I AM,
holding all the world inside Your hands.
Maker of all I see, Your love has captured me,
More than all the grains of sand that fill the sea,
You think of me.” (from the Praise Baby Collection)
Deep down, I had mostly always wanted to be a momma. I had played it a thousand times as a kid. I had my little dirt floor playhouse out back, and my scarves and my table made from a plastic crate and I baked mud-cakes all afternoon and took care of my “babes.”
But, in real life, it was scarier. My baby cried, starting at 10 at night, and wouldn’t stop till at least midnight. I hadn’t been a momma long enough yet to figure out which cry meant, “Tummy ache” and which one meant, “Feed me!” and which one meant, “I’m scared,” and which one meant, “Good grief. I need a nap!” So, we freaked out more than we should have and we were exhausted.
But, one thing I did have down, right from the get-go–I knew how to enjoy my kid.
I’d lay on the bed for the longest time and just watch him sleep. I’d hold him lots. I’d sit at the table and bounce him there on my lap and stare into his blue eyes. We stretched out in the yard together on the soft grass and he played with his feet while I looked up at the sky.
I’ve had a few more children since. And I’ve figured out which cry means which thing. For the most part. And this eight year old kid has stretched me and awed me with his curiosity. He’s asked me the funniest questions. Like, “Does God have to cut His fingernails?” And “Is heaven inside or out?”
He’s more emotional than most. He comes by that quite honestly since both his momma and daddy have been known to laugh hysterically and bawl like a baby all in the same day. So, we still pause a lot and talk about heart-matters. Like, what it means to forgive and how feelings can be so tricky, and how to keep loving when you don’t feel loved back, and how to bless someone when you’d really rather curse them instead.
We named him, “Gideon”, which means, “Mighty Warrior” and he’s taken the meaning of his name pretty seriously. “Momma,” he said. “I can’t figure out what to be when I grow up, since my name means Mighty Warrior. I mean, on the one hand, I want to be a Ninja, so I can fight bad guys and protect people, but on the other hand, I’d like to be an inventor because I like thinking up new things to create.”
We assured him he could probably be both?! The first Ninja inventor ever, perhaps, and we got him Ninjago Legos for his birthday, so he’s already combining the best of both of those worlds.
A friend, with a couple little ones mentioned to me just last night that she felt so lost sometimes and didn’t know what to do with her kids. “Just enjoy them,” I said.
I guess I’ve just always had that in me. That they are only with us, for just a little while. We might as well pause and watch them run across the yard, and gush with wonder at the life and energy and delight that they are and bring.
Because one day, you’re cradling your newborn. And then on another day, not too far away from that one, you look up and suddenly he is eight.