"My whole life has turned around,
I was lost, but now I'm found,
a baby changes everything..."
Faith Hill's "A Baby Changes Everything," is a beautiful song. But it's the title that makes me smile tonight. I can't help but remember a more recent Christmas -- than the one Faith is singing about -- when a baby changed everything.
A year earlier the son we were making plans for adopting was still warmly nestled in his mom's tummy. She lived with us those last months of her pregnancy, and Christmas Eve found us all at the kitchen table looking forward to his birth only a few weeks out.
His birth was beautiful. We all loved him. When his mother decided later that winter to parent him herself, I understood. That doesn't mean that I wasn't shattered and unsure of how to go on. It was a very long year -- full of heartache, surrender, prayer, and healing.
By autumn I was able to breathe again without worrying that I'd exhale a sob. It was a step. Yet I knew I had a long way to go before I was whole inside. My younger sister had become pregnant earlier that year, and I'd been truly thrilled for her when she finally told me. It was a milestone in my healing. But I wasn't sure how I'd feel when I saw her with her newborn son in her arms.
He arrived on the night of the winter solstice. And since my husband and I had plans to fly home to Colorado (from Boston) that Christmas Eve, I knew my "growth in grace" was either going to be authenticated, or it was going to crumble into a heap of tears. I remember how nervous I was during that flight. I prayed with all my heart to be truly free of envy, sorrow, heartbreak -- the crushing ache of empty arms.
Our flight landed and we were whisked off to meet the entire family at The Brown Palace. On that drive -- through the glittering streets of Denver -- I prayed, "Let every heart prepare him room..." I wanted my heart to be as wide open and accepting as a manger.
And it was.
I remember that night as a benediction. The "amen" on a year of healing. I saw my sister with her son in her arms, and I was filled with delight, joy -- a pure un-adulterated bliss for us all. I was free of any sense of wishing it were me. I held my nephew, not wanting him to be my son. I looked at my sister -- a happy mommy -- and was filled with awe, respect, love. It was over. I was genuinely whole, healed, happy.
That Christmas was one of the most beautiful in my life. There was no promise of a baby in the future, we weren't on any adoption agency's list for consideration, there were no hints of impending motherhood -- but I was pregnant with joy. I was filled with gratitude, overflowing with peace.
My sister was thoughtful, tender, and generous letting everyone cuddle, coo, and snuggle their baby. Every chance I got, I happily held her son and delighted in him -- as his aunt.
I look at photos of my nephew today -- an amazing man, a husband, a devoted son, a wonderful brother, a kind and loving citizen of the world -- and I see a beautiful infant boy in a tiny little tuxedo romper -- a baby, who changed everything.
with so much love,