There is something magical about visiting the family birth center at night. Of walking into a room through a door wide enough for a gurney to pass through, and pressing forward into the comfortably-lit, temporary sanctuary for new parents.
When I arrived, a grandma and two uncles were on their way out the door to go get dinner. I spent the next four hours in companionable ease with my best friend, Sarah, her husband Mike, their two-year-old daughter Catelyn and the newest member of the family, Caleb Frederick:
I should’ve taken some pictures last night when I was visiting, photographs that would’ve showcased this six-pound, perfect little person in all of his three-day splendor. Photographs without the mystery white, hospital-applied protective goop on his brand-new eyes. But instead I chose to sit in the chair beside Sarah’s bed and — for the first time in my life — soak up the giddy new-parent pride and wonder that was emanating from both of them.
I chose to watch Catelyn lean against her Momma with her eyes glued on the DVD player, fingering small chunks of the banana mini morsel bars that I had brought with me to share. To imagine that her two-year-old mind was finally coming to terms with the fact that her life as an only child has been forever changed, but maybe — just maybe — things would be okay.
To wait for those precious moments where Caleb would start to awaken from his quiet slumbering. To note how he seemed to really wake up and follow Catelyn’s voice when she was around, and to imagine what kind of siblings they would be to one another.
It was too sweet a moment to interrupt with the abrupt staccato of flashes from my little camera, and as I drove home I realized that I wasn’t sad that I don’t yet have a photograph of me holding the tiniest and most adorable living human I have ever seen. Rather, I was glad that my memory of those four hours would have a full perspective and peripheral vision, rather than having been narrowed by a viewfinder and a lens.
Welcome to this world Caleb — we’re so glad you’re finally here!