All because of one tiny baby less than a week old.
And it made me think- what if we treated every baby like the miracle it is? I'm not saying that every baby needs a parade and press conference or anything. But what if we were this excited every time a friend told us that they were expecting? What if the world embraced the pregnant mother of five rather than rolled its eyes? What if your local church congregation smiled and cheered when babies were blessed during their services rather than used it as a time to clean beneath their nails or try not to doze off?
Because the thing is, they're all miracles. Every. Single. One. If you look at the amazing series of things that has to go just exactly right in order for a baby to be conceived and born is awe-inspiring and humbling. The most exacting human engineer in the world would have an excruciatingly difficult time trying to duplicate the process, and yet it happens every day all on its own. Somewhere along the line we've lost sight of how incredible and beautiful this whole process of life is and allowed it to become mundane. Common place.
I look at my son, sleeping soundly in my bed, and I watch him breathe in and out. In and out. In and out. I imagine the muscles necessary to expand and contract his tiny ribs, the tiny air sacs in his lungs filling with oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide, imagine the dark red blood in his veins becoming a bright, cherry pink as it fills up with fresh air. I think about his blood circulating through his tiny system, getting cleaned and filtered, taking nutrients where they need to go, feeding his brain. And all the while, his lips make sleepy sucking motions while he dreams of milk and mama's arms and the Heaven that he knew before coming to our family, blissfully unaware of the beautiful miracle that he really is. Unconscious to the fact that his mommy and daddy prayed him here, obsess over every little hiccup and cough and sneeze, examine his poop like there's going to be a test on the contents of his diaper, agonize over decisions from whether to use cloth diapers or disposable and what vaccination schedule to use.
And he dreams on. This little person who is so full of potential, who could grow up to cure cancer or play professional soccer or be an accountant with three lovely kids in the suburbs- he doesn't know yet that he's a miracle. That he's amazing. Right now, he's excited about finding out that those hilarious things kicking around are his feet and better yet, they're attached to him! He's excited about seeing the patterns on mama's dress for the first time, about being able to grab things whenever he wants to, about that funny thing that his tummy feels when daddy bounces him on his knees. He's learning to laugh and he's learning to squeal with delight. He's learning that hunger and sleep aren't the only feelings that he can feel. I hope that he learns that laughing is better than crying but that it's also alright to cry, because that lesson will serve him for the rest of his life.
I stare at my baby and I know without being told that he's a precious miracle, sent here from Heaven, and given to me to watch over. To keep safe. I know without having to read it in a parenting book that that is an enormous and powerful responsibility. My body wakes without an alarm every two hours in the night to check on him, to watch him breathe, in and out. In and out. In and out. Without having to be reminded, my soul covers him in heartfelt, desperate prayer with each of his tiny, unthinking breaths.
And then I remember: this is the case with all babies. Every mother. Every father. Every parent is enchanted by their child's sneezes and is certain that their child is the most amazing child ever to come to Earth. Every parent is terrified of messing it all up and is delighted by silly things like their baby learning to stick their tongue out. Every parent tears up when their baby cries inconsolably because of colic and when they take their first step, whether it be across the living room or into their college dorm.
Every baby is a miracle. Every. Single. One.
When did we forget that?
And what can we do to fix it?
How can we, as a people, recapture the magic of parenthood, of being the village welcoming its newest tiny member?
Because it's there, deep inside of us. I know, because I've seen it in the last couple of days on the news.
The magic and the wonder and the delight.
Every baby deserves that because every baby, someday, will return to the Palace of the King and inherit the birthright that is theirs and theirs alone from their Father. Every baby is royalty. Every baby was "fearfully and wonderfully made."
Every. Single. One.