I remember where I was when I found out he was coming.
His mother pulled me aside after church and whispered, “I’m pregnant. Seven weeks.”
I hugged her tight, willing my excitement to somehow transfer from my heart and brain and arms into her so she would know–really know–that this news was an answer to prayers I’d said for her and her husband for months as they waited for this to happen.
I remember where I was when I found out he was here.
A text from his aunt popped up on my phone as I stood in a friend’s living room celebrating the impending arrival of another dear friend’s baby. It was five days after I turned 30. I’ve always considered him my belated 30th birthday gift. Because this child is–without a doubt–a complete gift in my life.
There’s something just get-you-in-the-gut amazing about watching your friends raise their children. Seeing them parent, parenting alongside them, and watching their (and our) little people grow into who they are. It’s not always easy and is pretty much always messy, but I try to do what James tells us: “Count it all joy…” Because…man, what a privilege to witness such things.
I mean, think about it. You’ve got this friend–or friends, in the case of the little guy I was talking about earlier–who you love and enjoy so much. And then they have this little baby who has parts of each them–either through biology or bonding–BUT ALL WRAPPED UP IN ONE PERSON.
I can’t not be completely in love. I don’t stand a chance.
I am the parent of an only child.* But that doesn’t mean I have one child in my life. I carried one, gave birth to one, and am currently raising one, but I am blessed to have so, so many to live life with and to love fiercely. Even though they don’t live in my house, they live in my heart. They’ve burrowed into it and made their marks, and I am forever changed.
(Happy birthday, Grey.)
*I don’t like to say “I only have one child” because that somehow implies that parenting one child is easy. Maybe it is for some people; it depends on the child and the parents. My point: you don’t know how easy someone’s parenting life is until you’ve spent time in his or her brain.