Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The feeling of holding a baby.

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.


  1. Anna, your words are so beautifully written. As I sit here reading tears fill my eyes because I hold in my arms a beautiful gift from our God,. I cannot believe that he is already one month old. Thank you , Devona

  2. I am sad sometimes that you do not remember Andrew as a tiny boy. I am sad that I cannot recall my brothers at that sweet age but I enjoy what I do recall...Tommy going barefoot so much that Mom scrubbed his soles with Comet cleanser, Vance dressed in a rabbit suit and singing before an audience, Ellen drumming and singing alto to music by think you and your siblings are sometimes strange??

    But I do remember so much of...bathtime! Yours and Emma's and Audrey's and Andrew's. Singing about God's grace as I washed your hair and enjoying the smell of baby shampoo; reading to Emma-in-the-tub about the discovery of Tut's Tomb (she swore she wouldn't like the book but she said, "Don't stop now!" when I tried to); washing Audrey in the sink until she was two years old and her regrets at my stopping that; holding Andrew, towel-wrapped and damp, after each and every bath as I sat on the toilet seat cover until his legs reached from my lap to the floor.

    God has blessed me with a good mind and lots of wonderful memories. When I think that I am letting go of some of those moments due to fading memory, I am struck with no desire to write them down but to enjoy what I have and to enjoy the ones I'm still making with the four of you.

  3. I don't remember when Andrew was a baby but I do remember bath time with him and splashing each other with giggles, while mom sang God's grace to us as she poured water over our heads into our eyes (it always seemed to calm me down after the freak out of hurting eyes) I also remember thinking mom was crazy for not letting me take baths in the sink anymore even thoughI had to cram my legs in there everytime. I loved bath time so much and I love it when i get to give baths to the kiddos i babysit and see their wonder at the water and their joys of splashing :)
    I love reading your blog, dear Anna. Please don't ever stop writing. I love you.-Audrey


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