I got to hold a newborn the other day. Swoon. Now, don't get me wrong. I've never been that girl that oooohs and aaaahs at every baby she sees. I'm not the first to run up and ask to hold somebody's baby. Usually, while my other friends are all but fawning over any baby in proximity, I am looking from afar like, "Nice baby." Things are a little different now. I am excited about our son. Sometimes just seeing a baby makes me tear up. My hormones are telling me, "Must hold all the babies!" So, my friend had a baby, and I held the sweet, two-week-old bundle.
As I was holding the baby, I noticed a few things. Of course, you always notice that newborns are tiny and perfect in a soft, pink way. As a mama-to-be, though, other things stood out to me. For one, babies are heavy. Even though this sweet girl was so little, after holding her for a few minutes my arms were tired, my back hurt, all I wanted to do was sit down. The problem was that she wasn't a huge fan of sitting down. Or of me sitting still. The second I sank back into my chair she seemed to notice and let me know by squirming or fussing. I'd have to rock her or get up and bounce her. It was kind of a reality check. Perhaps my vision of sitting on the couch watching Netflix for hours with my son snuggled sound asleep in my arms may have been more idealistic than I'd realized.
Also, apparently babies cry quite a bit (who knew?). Every few minutes baby girl's face would contort and I'd know the storm was coming. She would make the saddest, loudest sounds. Instead of tossing her back to my friend and running for the hills, I thought I'd give comforting her a try. After all, I'm going to be caring for one of these full-time very soon. So when she started to wail, I'd stand up and bounce her or rock her and whisper things like, "Shhh. It's ok. You're ok." She'd calm down and soon be a cute, sleeping baby again.
As I comforted her, I wondered what she was thinking. This baby's needs were met. She was fed. She was changed. She had on clean, cute, and temperature appropriate clothing. She was well taken care of. This baby had nothing to worry about. Yet she still cried periodically for seemingly no reason. Was she uncomfortable? Scared? Sad? Perhaps she didn't know how safe and how loved she was. Even though nothing was really wrong, every once in awhile she needed someone to encourage her.
I started thinking about the many times throughout the years that my own mother has done this very thing for me. After a hard day at school. Before an important wrestling match. Even now, there are times when I call my mom crying. I can't tell you how many times since becoming a teacher that my mom (a fellow educator) has been my solace after a rough day. Now that I'm experiencing pregnancy and anticipating parenthood I often find myself calling on my mom for help. She always knows just what to say to help me feel better. I suppose she's had 26 years of practice. Ever since I was a wee babe. It's as if she's whispering, "Shh. It's ok. You're ok."
When I think about it, I feel overwhelmed by beauty of the adventure that I'm about to embark on. Yes it is going to be extremely difficult. Probably tougher than I know. But God is gifting me the privilege of sacrificing myself to meet the needs of someone else. I will wear myself out loving someone who gives me nothing but spit-up and poopy diapers in return. Sounds a lot like the gospel--sounds a lot like Jesus' unconditional love for us. Not only this, but I will have the mission of comforting and encouraging this little person through the years. I will be able to calm and soothe him with just my touch or some gentle words. Perhaps, someday he'll be calling me from college or his job or when he's having babies of his own and just need to hear, "Shh. It's ok. You're okay." Motherhood, what a beautiful calling. A sleepy, messy, beautiful calling. I am grateful that it's going to be mine.