If I had to rate all of God’s gifts to us mere mortals, the ones that reassure us of His love and presence in our lives, surely one of the top proofs of His countenance would be the privilege of holding a sleeping baby.
It has to be the reason those closest to the opposite end of life reach so eagerly to touch the wispy-haired head of a newborn and bend to kiss a sleepy infant’s brow. This is proof of eternity.
Those so nearly sent from God are dear to us as we rock them and care for them and sing our lullabies to ease them into humanity.
Feeding a baby and watching his eyes as he finds our own with such earnest concentration is pure magic. We hold a baby and feel his weight in our arms. He trusts implicitly, sinking into sleep, eyes flickering, trying to keep our face in focus, ultimately, sweetly losing the battle.
As a mother, there is always some mundane task waiting: endless baby laundry, dishes overtopping the sink, diaper pails to be emptied. But to hold a sleeping baby is such a peaceful, intimate moment, and to break that bond seems almost heretical.
We live for those fleetingly perfect moments, hugging our precious gifts just a little longer, knowing that in a month she will be proudly fighting to hold that bottle, in a few months there will be a sippy cup sitting on her high chair.
As a grandmother, holding a sleeping baby is a nearly perfect experience that brings such sweet memories with it.
We can sit for as long as we choose, comparing the cleft chin so like his brother’s, the long fingers of his daddy, the nose of her mother when she herself was in my arms in what seems such a short time ago. Our first two grandchildren were presented to us six weeks apart, and it was a magical time. But each grandchild who has come along has been a miraculous tie to eternity.
The last two were born just 20 minutes apart, twin boys of our daughter and her husband. I’ve been happy to offer a lap, two hands, and a couple of shoulders for the four months since they’ve been in the world, a definite perk of retirement.
And in return, I’ve been blessed to hold a baby, sometimes two, as they smile and coo at me and their eyes slowly close.
Yesterday, I carried a sleeping baby up the stairs to his crib and peeked around the corner to my daughter and the twin she held nestled asleep on her chest. She smiled at me, and I felt a surge of pride and love that was as perfect as they come.
To hold a sleeping baby feels so close to being cradled in our Maker’s arms. I can’t believe that is a coincidence.