Thursday, May 20, 2010
All three of our kids sleep in the same room. Mister had his own room in the original design. But the original design did not have a baby sister in it, and that major addendum has been cause for a few significant adjustments.
When I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant I shook my head. The first few shakes were filler shakes while I lined up the real issues in my mind that warranted a tense and ill-placed laugh. Mostly I was just so glad that this unexpected baby had waited long enough for us to be matched with the adopted son we had been praying and dreaming about. But then there were all the issues of timing. Would our paperwork pass through the court system in time for us to bring him home before the long Ethiopian New Years holiday, the one where paperwork and babies get jammed up for months? Those would be telling months for the secret we had not planned on keeping. Then there was the issue of traveling in a malarial zone. I was informed that if I was bit, I would survive but wee bitty baby would not likely be as lucky. “Well,” I said, to my passport-less international travel partner, “If you want in this family you better hope we don’t get bit because I am not choosing one of my babies over another, so I guess you just have to come along.” And I told God, as I drenched myself in repellent, that the rest was up to him, as if he did not know.
Once Mister was home safe and perfect and adjusting well, I invested my worries in his upcoming transition to ‘middle-child’. As I would rock and sing to him my heart would break over the thought of him having to share my lap. I could bring myself to tears thinking of having to divide this special time with someone else. What made this emotionally asinine was the fact that he was not an only child. He was already sharing his mama with the three-foot bully whose shadow he gladly wore like a jacket. But I worried anyway.
Then she was born. Nine pounds of greedy love wrapped tightly in the generic hospital blankets that receive all babies born there. Hours later, Mister walked right into the hospital room, found a seat on the couch and held out his hands. We handed him his baby and he held her carefully and sweetly for the better part of an hour. I had woefully underestimated both the soul of my son and the hand of God in my life.
I have been studying them lately. Storing up in my heart the manifestations of love and bonding between the children, which I am charged to facilitate but really have no power over. And now that Peanut is mobile and primitively communicative the moments are even sweeter. Especially between brother and his baby. She feeds and delights his soul in ways that I never could and stares into his bed, making pterodactyl noises after naptime, thinking she can rouse him from the crumpled pile of boy-shaped blankets. “Brother is not in there,” I tell her as I lift her from her crib. So she wiggles out of my arms and waddle-stomps off to find him. I steal a kiss as she goes, though I know it was not intended for me.
Tonight they three went to bed at the same time, which is unusual. So, the baby stood at the rail of her crib, with her cubby arms crossed and supporting her chin, forcing her ample cheeks to scrunch around her nose. And the kids on the bunks faced her as she held court, puckering her lips and blowing kisses. “Ear ou go. Nie-nie. Ear ou go. Bye-bye.” And I watched his face. And the light in his eyes. And I prayed with my whole body that these three live long and in each other’s company.
“Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.” Psalm 28:9