God is in the details.
as a child i did not day dream of being married or having children. oh, there were times i played with a plastic, hard-headed betsy wetsy, feeding her flour and water paste, pretending she was crying, wrapping her up tightly in towels and tucking her into a shoe box for naps. but i was easily distracted by the apple tree that needed climbing, out in the empty field across the street. a pad of newsprint and a chunk of charcoal could captivate me for hours. by age 14 and without my consent, i was “junior mother” to six younger brothers and could change a diaper with a kid hanging on my leg. i could cook dinner for nine, make my own clothes and get to my job at the mall by 5:30pm.
my dreams back then were about survival and escape, freedom and travel and adventures, going to far away lands, living a wild life of mystery, or even a life in the middle of nowhere, a solitary, quiet life. maybe a life in a stone house with several long haired cats, a sturdy easel and a garden with rambling roses and changing cloudscapes.
but then. In a moment, something began to shift as an unknown, unexpected sense deep within me recognized something new and different, something sacred was about to unfold. my daughter was going to be a mother. over time, friends said there was nothing to compare with the experience of being a grandparent. i thought it would be just like having my own children but i could send them home when i was done.
i watched as her body changed, as her moods swung, as she decorated, nested and packed an overnight bag. for months i watched my own woman-child, that soccer loving, creative force, expressive, extroverted, people magnet as she waited to deliver life. i was filled with expectation and excitement. more for this than the births of my own three children, because what i didn’t know then, i know now. anticipation built for this new little life, for the miraculous process of birth, for the new relationship that would unfold.
i met them at the hospital for the long labor, overwhelmed with gratitude. i slept in the nook of her room, held her hand, rubbed her back, caught the eye of her husband too many times to count as we drew breath together and waited.
in that moment of first inhale, of new life, birthed from tears and work and sweat and breath and ache, of crying out from love, from connection, from fear it may never end, to the realization that she had wailed her first cry, she was swaddled in warm flannel and held to her mother’s breast to have each finger counted, each hair smoothed.
i tenderly watched from my window seat as mother and father welcomed new life within their own world of love and awe, with tears on my cheeks and a full heart aware of sacred space and time.
a tiny bundle, my only daughter’s newborn daughter, little Dot was nestled in my arms and my body began that gentle rock, forgotten over the years. at that exact moment, the very instant she opened her eyes and looked at me, time stopped. i was alone with all who had gone before me.
i whispered and cooed and told her the secrets of this new love, this unexpected tender love, my love. how from this day and until the day that i died, i would always and in every way possible, love her. i committed to her in that private, sacramental moment, my promise to hold her in my heart, to release her into her own journey with the assurance of acceptance. it wouldn’t matter how or where she lived, how far she travelled, what she did, the choices she made. i gave her my vow. i would always find her, always search for her, always love her.
grand-baby-girl eyes, newly born, revealed my grandmother’s eyes and her grandmother’s eyes, the experiences, the wisdom, the strength, the creativity, the tenacity of generational wisdom, the lineage of the ages.
at that sacred moment a tiny baby full of potential, unknowingly prepared just by being born, changed my life forever as i saw myself reflected.