Not for a mother's love. It can't be described, or explained, or even remotely communicated.
And he is our lastborn, our perfect-seven final ending, our little 'Koda. Prayed, sought, worried, ached, suffered; and God made it abundantly clear, my pregnancy-torn belly was done bearing children. "There are to be no more big brothers." Such a strange, obtuse phrase, spoken quietly into the noisy-hum of my laundry-occupied-mind. Even before Nekoda arrived, even before we knew he was to be that final boy.
I breathe him in. Inhaling everything baby and simple and pure. I can't hug him tight enough. But already, he squirms to get down, to explore and experience. Ready for more than what my arms alone can offer. I snuggle him close, any chance I get, cherishing these last first moments of his babyness.
It was a bitter-cold Sunday morning. I was too miserable to venture out, so Kevin led 'home church' for us; my Mom played hymns, six children gathered 'round. I bounced on my labor-ball, full-to-bursting with the seventh to stretch my skin and my spirit. By noon I told Kevin this would be the day. By two we called the midwife. Just after four I settled into the lavish warmth of our jetted tub; willing the life-gift of labor to progress, and yet willing the relentless pressing-pain to subside.
The house was warm and cozy, family waiting to hear the rejoicing of baby's first cry. Upstairs in the small space between bath and bed, I wrestled with God, wrestled with Eve's cursed original-sin-pain. So short a time, that feels so horrifically-eternal-long. I'm desperate to hurry it along, and yet staggeringly scared of the impending pain, clenching-tight in unwitting delay.
The sin-squeezing, life-giving, grace-grip of those last 30 minutes of labor: each contraction bringing me ecstatically closer to the point of delivery, each contraction bearing me down helpless-deep in His suffering-shared Miracle of life. I cry out in final agony-burst of pressure and pressing...and my cry is transfered to baby, bursting forth with breath and life and his own agony of entering this world of sin, beauty, pain, grace, love.
And now a year has passed.
I've hurried it along at every turn, and now cling voraciously to these final weeks of nursing, the last first moments of his standing-alone-unawares, the tiny body that still rests so easily against my hip, under my chin. What a gift a child is, what a treasure to savor, to linger over...so swiftly passing.
Why do I do it? Why do we all?
We hurry through life, missing the grandeur of simplicity before us.
"...when the baby is finally born..."
"...if only he would sleep thru the night..."
"...it'll be easier when he can eat solids..."
"...he'll be happier when he can finally crawl..."
"...I'll have time for that when the baby is weaned..."
On and on, we strain and strive for what's yet-to-come, and miss the right-before-us gift of life and love and last first moments.
My last first birthday.
Are there any last first moments you need to slow down and savor?