I don't remember much about my brother being a baby. It's unusual actually. I was eight when he was born, plenty old enough to remember moments from that time. No, I don't remember Andrew. I remember when Audrey was tiny, sixteen years ago this month. I remember the outfit I wore to see her in the hospital, the white bow in my hair, and even the candy I ate while Mama was in labor. I remember walking to visit Emma when she was first born. I was only two, but the giant parking lot and my tiny feet are vivid in my mind, as well as the Halloween Oreos I nibbled on in my mom's hospital room.
No, Baby Andrew slipped away. We always joke that the three of us girls were always playing, and his routine of sleeping and eating was too boring for us. But it really is true! To a 8 year old, a 6 year old, and a 2 year old, a sleeping baby doesn't seem too thrilling. I blame our fun for my lack of memories of a tiny boy.
Tonight though, somehow a memory slipped through. It was almost like a whisper of a moment, like a feather I needed to catch before it blew away again. There he was-tiny baby Andrew, in our bathroom of all places. Wrinkled and red, he looked like we had just given him a quick sponge bath. He was so young that he still had the stump where his bellybutton would eventually be. I've always found that little clip so fascinating, like a marker to where life flowed in and out of his little body. A hooded towel, my mom's favorite for all babies, wrapped around him, and suddenly he was in my arms. Little eight year old me was in awe...and tonight, I remembered that feeling. The feeling of holding a new life and wondering at it. The feeling of a warm, damp, tiny baby that shares your genes, your home, your life. The feeling of pride and responsibility. The feeling of home that I feel when I hold a baby, the purpose they bring to me. The feeling of fear that something will happen, and they will fall, and you will break them. The feeling that feels so perfect in my heart, like it fills me up in a way that nothing else could.
As quick as the memory slipped in, it was gone. But it left behind the wonder I felt as I looked down on him. It's that wonder that I want to hold onto. The standing-in-awe-because-life-is-precious wonder that is a gift from God. That is what I want to hold with clenched fingers for the rest of my life.