I sit in the pink semi-darkness of the growing dawn staring into the beautiful eyes of this tiny boy. I am overwhelmed. My breath catches, an ache in my throat, a sob of joy and fear. Fear of the future and joy for what it holds for him.
He stares directly back at me. Wide eyed and happy to be here. Oblivious to the clock. He simply longs to be snuggled, or fed or have his dirty diapers changed no matter if the sun is rising or setting. I am a member of the religion of late sleepers; professing not to rise before 7 a.m. unless absolutely required. And here I sit before dawn wide awake, happy to be required.
This baby is learning the love so many have for him. Loved for simply being who he is. Simply because he is ours. God has blessed us with this perfect gift. I arrogantly steal a phrase from the Gospel of Luke for this child, “And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.” Luke 2:40. I say a brief prayer of forgiveness for my arrogance, asking the Lord to bestow these things reserved for Jesus to this baby, too.
I imagine a future filled with joy, adventure, and success. I also see the pain of being a child in the world – discipline, mistakes, disappointments and I want to take all of them on myself to keep him from any manner of pain. I know that’s not my place, but I would take it a million times if I could.
I see him learning to walk, talk, run, read, blow out candles on birthday cakes, giving hugs and kisses.
I picture him riding a bicycle for the first time and joyfully calling out, “Look! I did it!” Carefree, laughing and running to his dad’s outstretched arms.
I envision him making friends and doing crazy boy things. Digging in the dirt, tasting the dirt, putting the dirt in his hair. Then, washing him clean in a big bubble bath while he shoots imaginary dragons, sinks pirate ships or slithers through the water like a crocodile.
He leaps off the couch in his Batman cape, in his Superman cape, in a bath towel fashioned into a cape. His mission is to save the world from ‘the bad guys.’
Peals of laughter fill the air as he races through our home being chased by his dad – a not so scary monster. A game of hide-and-seek won by no one.
Reading books. Piles of books on the couch and an endless stack before bedtime. Singing nursery songs that turn into Disney tunes that turn into Pop, Country, Heavy Metal, Classic Rock; the music styles he endures because his parents love them.
Christmas with heaps of presents – too many for one little boy, but he’s got a huge heart and shares willingly with others – a trait that can’t be taught but is part of this personality bestowed by God.
Imagining his teenage years squeezes my heart with the anxiety of letting go. Teaching this carefree boy to drive a car and venturing out on his own is exciting and frightening. What will his interests be? I want him to see the world, but selfishly I don’t. I ask Blessed Mary to watch over him always – especially when the driving part comes.
Who will he fall in love with? I already hate those girls who may break his heart. Will he have a wife or go down a different path? What will his career be? His favorite food? His favorite movie?
This little boy will change the world. Has changed our world already. I have hope that I will be around to see him grow up. We never know how our story will play out. God has his plans. Selfishly I don’t want to miss a minute of it. So, I pray often to his guardian angel:
Angel of God, my guardian dear,
to whom God’s love commits him here,
ever this day be at his side,
to light and guard, to rule and guide …
Thankfully, I am blessed to see this baby grow up. Each time I look at my son, Travis, I see those baby eyes gazing at me in the semi-darkness. I see my little boy shed tears of disappointment, and his beautiful face beaming in triumph. I see the many years we have been blessed with him in our lives.
We still have laughter echoing through our home. Travis has brought his sense of humor, caring and love to us each day.
I smile because I’m here with him as we look at his child together in the semi-darkness. Remy is a culmination of a lifetime of dreams. A baby becomes a boy becomes a man becomes a dad. I thank God I can share in this new life and the delight Remy holds for his parents. I understand their fears, joys, and expectations. I hope I can help calm those fears and enhance those joys.
Remy has changed my perspective on my life, too. It’s a different view as a Mimi (grandma). Now, I don’t fear for his future, I rejoice in it and know that he is in capable hands. He is blessed with awesome parents and a massive extended family to guide and support him in all ventures where his heart leads. But especially he is in the amazing hands of God. My assurance comes from Jeremiah: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Remy has a future, loads of hope and I believe God will prosper him in his own time. Right now, though, I just get to hold him in the semi-darkness as we stare into each other’s eyes.