1116 1116_ () 1116 1116 Weekly column

I took Henry to the doctor last week for his first round of shots. At his check-up, the nurse weighed and measured Henry, and then plotted those numbers on a scale. The verdict – Henry is short and chunky. Just right for snuggling!

I have been amazed at how much I love this baby. Of course that sounds ridiculous – the world is filled with mothers who love their children. And I have four other boys. I know what motherly love feels like – I feel it all the time.

But there is something so sweet, so pure, about the love of a newborn baby. A baby is so easy to love. With a baby, there are no discipline actions to deal with, no issues from the day to discuss. I sing sweet lullabies to Henry and he doesn’t notice if I’m off key.

Henry is at that age where he will stop eating for a moment and stare up at me and smile, milk running off the sides of his mouth. His loving grin reminds me what it’s all about, sweet moments of quiet beauty, of appreciating the joy of new life. I soak up every bit of love he has to offer.

Baby Henry invites love so freely. And he receives it from us all. When I sit to feed him, at least one of the boys will come over and kiss his head, almost every single time. It seems they can’t help themselves. They are drawn to him.

A new baby seems to bring out this love and tenderness in everyone. I enjoy my vantage when people want to see Henry; I stand and hold him while they lean in and smile and coo. Henry is a very sweet and cute baby (to be sure!), but I think what draws people in is simply the beauty of this new life.

There is an interesting exchange people like to have with a pregnant woman. It goes something like this: Boy or girl? You don’t know? Well, as long as the baby is healthy, that’s all that matters.

Of course, a pregnant mother prays for her unborn child, for his health and wholeness, for a safe delivery. But I started to realize, after several of these exchanges – but what if it’s not? What if things don’t go smoothly? Is that really all that matters?

The truth is that with God’s grace, it would still be okay. A baby’s health is important, but it isn’t all that matters. What matters is Life.

I have watched women walk through the very scariest childbirth circumstances, the kind a mother prays against. “Be with me, Lord,” we pray, “spare us from that.” But what we don’t always remember, what these women have learned firsthand, is that in the midst of that, there is incredible grace. And there is the beauty of life.

I have known families who must walk through those situations we dread. Some have babies born with severe health problems, babies who will struggle physically their whole lives. Some will give birth to a baby that cannot live, a child they usher into the world knowing they will soon usher that baby back up to heaven.

And in the midst of it all – there is God. And there is the beauty of life.

As we celebrate Respect Life Sunday, we think about life in all its forms. We pray for all those babies that will not experience the joy of Life because of the sin of abortion.

But we’re also incredibly grateful for all the babies that will experience life – those babies who have health of body; and also those precious babies that may suffer on earth but draw us closer to Christ through their beautiful health of spirit.

These babies remind us of the thin veil between heaven and earth, of the incredible gift of life, and that in the midst of it all, there is God. 1116″>


A Load of Laundry

1115 1115_ () 1115 1115 Henry loves me so much. He knows how much I enjoy doing laundry (I really do. I’m not being facetious.) and he wanted me to have a fun-filled Friday. So he pooped all over everything in sight.

His room is now stripped bare — no sheet, no mattress pad, no pad on the changing table, no extra clothes laying around anywhere. It’s all in the washer. Henry is left to huddle on the floor on the one blanket he has not pooped on, seeking solace in the company of friends.

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The (soccer) gods must be crazy

I just found out we will finish the soccer season with a bang — four games on Saturday. At least it’s Saturday and not Tuesday. Otherwise you’d be dragging me off the field after I collapsed into the fetal position.

Things I’ve Said Today (not to Henry)

“Yes, son, I think you have pooped at least a thousand times since you were born.”