On my husband’s side of the family, we had a new reason to be grateful this Thanksgiving – our newborn niece – who was exactly 7 weeks old on the holiday itself. She is a beautiful and tiny little cherub, with long fingers and long legs. It was fun to speculate about what she might do with her life, and to study her face, trying to discern whom she most closely resembles.
The immediate family ate dinner together, and my husband’s large extended family joined us for dessert. Many had not seen the new princess before. Something happens to a person when they “meet” a newborn, especially one in their family, for the first time. Their face noticeably softens, tension drains from their shoulders. They stop moving and often fall silent for several seconds. Scientists say women’s pupils dilate when they look at a baby’s face.
I think staring into the eyes of a newborn we are meeting for the first time is awe-inspiring on a deeply subconscious level. Newborns are people in their purest possible state. And it just might be the closest we can come to seeing the face of God.
I looked around the room at all of those people and for a few minutes saw babies everywhere. We all were, of course, just like my niece. And someone took care of us, however well or imperfectly. The people who brought us up did their best to love us, and they were babies once too, loved by imperfect people.
Some of us are blessed to be parents to babies now growing. I am humbled every day by the realization that I make tons of mistakes, and that while I start out with the best of intentions, and I love my kids so much it hurts sometimes, there is One far greater who loves them infinitely more than me, and He proved it by dying for me on a cross. He alone, of all babies who grew up throughout time, did not have the stuff inside that makes me do things that leave me knowing I’m guilty, or ashamed. Thank goodness for Him, because He forgives me for messing up, and can show me how to try again, and how to love myself and my babies better the next time.
And there’s another thing I’ve learned from Him, but also from watching parents here whose babies have gone to heaven heartbreakingly young. And that is, that a living parent NEVER stops loving their baby. In fact, love never ends. I am so thankful for the assurance I have in knowing that. Because I too am a baby. And my Father is the Living God.
“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
as long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.”
― Robert Munsch, Love You Forever