Monday, April 23, 2012

A Babe in Arms

Even as Mother descended into dementia, she wanted to become a volunteer at the church nursery or the hospital's intensive care unit for infants. She longed to hold a babe in arms. That is surely one of the greatest joys in being a grandparent.

Parents, be they step, foster, or loving aunts and uncles, remember tiny fingers holding tightly to one proffered pinkie, its warmth comforting, its touch velvet.

They remember the featherweight of an infant lying upon their chests, relaxed, breathing effortlessly, one heart speaking to another.

They recall the dewy glow upon skin untouched by sun, wind, or cold.

They summon the faint scent of clean, pure snow wafting from a heart untroubled.

They imagine delicate lashes resting upon full cheeks, tiny nails so delicate, so perfectly shaped.

They follow a baby’s gaze, sharing first discoveries and recovering their capacity for wonder.

They marvel at life itself, strong enough to thrust itself into existence, fragile enough to be wounded by coarse cloth.

Yes, a babe in arms is one of life’s finest joys, especially because, as grandparents, we know how fleeting such moments are, and unlike parents, we now know better than to rush through them. We are not called to careers, routine, chores, or futures. We are called to joy alone, and we open our arms for it.