Published July 20, 2012
A week ago Tuesday, I heard the first cries of my daughter.
She was 10 days early when she arrived with long fingers and a full head of dark hair at 6:16 p.m. People tell me that won’t be the last time my life is turned sideways by a child.
|She’s called “Bean” by loved ones. Her given name is Mae.|
Rewind 20 minutes. I was cooling my heels in a waiting room at Piedmont Hospital, Atlanta, as my wife was taken care of by the hospital staff for the birth. Two thoughts came to my jumbled mind before a nurse directed me to seat on a stool by my wife’s head.
“Truly you have formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works.
R. I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.
My soul also you knew full well;
nor was my frame unknown to you
When I was made in secret,
when I was fashioned in the depths of the earth.
R. I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.”
I recalled hearing it at Mass and it stuck with me. My wife and I often spoke in awe how unfolding away from our eyes our cells merged and a small person was “made in secret.”
The second thought that filled my thoughts, in addition to concern for my wife’s well being, was the chain of events that brought me to standing in a hospital gown with blue booties.
I thought of my father waiting for my arrival. My grandfather waiting for him. My great-grandfather waiting for him. That long line of men whose names are lost in the fog of history, but whose decisions and dreams shaped my life. And that is only half the family tree. While the men waited, the women did the hard work.
We are not here by ourselves. We stand on the shoulders of those whose names we never know.
Now, I admit I look a bit awkward. But in my defense, it was the first time in memory I ever held a baby that weighed less than six pounds. Even my cats tip the scales at 10 pounds.
Thanks be to God.