There is something about babies that just melts me. I'm the dad of seven. And in our extended family we have within the last few weeks had three more little ones join us, with another two on the way very shortly. Seeing photos of these little ones (all on FB; thanks very much techo-geeks who make all this possible) brings tears to my eyes. It's silly, really. These aren't my kids, or even my grandkids, but they are my niece and children of my nieces and nephews. And they are just amazing.
Over the years when my own children were born, we went from steel delivery tables to remarkable birthing suites. We watched with awe as the technology of disposable diapers moved from plastic-bag-with-padding-in-it to something that holds more liquid than a small camel. Our car seats evolved from the Bobby-Mac "barrel" design (I felt like I was strapping my child into a space craft) to five-point restraints in seats that doubled as strollers.
But in the end, it's the babies! All the fingers and toes and eyelashes and little pudgy knuckles and poofy hair that would rub off in the first few months. It was apgar scores and calling the help from "our friends in the neo-natal unit" when #2 wasn't breathing right (he did just fine after all) and bilirubin counts (and "the lights" for some). It was giving my wife space to nurse and then sitting with her when she nursed so she wouldn't feel alone. It was my son who didn't want anyone to touch him or my daughter who only wanted her mother to touch her, or others who didn't care who held them. It was anticipation fueled by the picture book A Child Is Born that couldn't even imagine the real thing, and it was the amazement every time that these babies are so small, so new, so fresh, so helpless.
When my first child was born, my mother said to me as she left after spending a week with us (my wife's mom had been there the first week), "Don't worry. You'll do fine. Just follow your instincts." I told her my instinct was to call her!
We stumbled as parents every step of the way. Our children taught us over time as much as we've taught them. And they continue to do so. They are still amazing in so many, many ways, continuing to surprise and delight us, even as many have entered adulthood, and some have chosen paths we would not have imagined for them.
But they all started – we all started – as these little tiny helpless bundles of new life. I consider myself fortunate to get to see it happen over and over again, and to remember what a blessing this life is, and what a blessing these little lives are in our world.