In a literal sense, I have never given birth. I cannot identify with the excruciating pains that I have watched laboring women push through – desperate determination etched on their clenched faces. When I “visit the midwife” I have always been at the other end of the bed, coaching.
It is partaking in glory to watch a new life slide into the world, to lift a naked baby into the trembling arms of the powerful woman who just gave birth to a destiny. My lips have quivered many times with joy, watching that mother glow like an angel, the father proudly doting.
And after all that tearing pain and the gruesome process of giving birth, my heart has always jealously longed to be on the other side of the delivery. I want to do that – all that bloody, wrenching mess – because I’ve seen the wonder of the gift. And when woman give birth, they are born all over themselves. I want to experience the mother’s rebirth.
So I go shopping and buy adorable dresses and sun hats and bloomers for my friends’ little girls. I scout for digger books and dump trucks at yard sales and thrift stores. I help plan baby showers, I rejoice in their news, and I baby sit as though I really was the “nanny of Meadville” as Rachel says.
My heart has labored long for your children. I have prayed for them and my soul has wrestled with God over their lives. When I change their diapers and I coo at Jazzy-girl, tickle Gia, or talk to your toddler sons about trucks and diggers, my heart breathes heavily for them, laboring. Longing that they will grow up to know, to love, and to worship God.
When I hold or cuddle your child, I endeavor to love him as though he was my own. I pray that the short spans of time they toddle and run through my house, or snuggle sleepily on my couch, I pray that the life I pour out would be blessing poured into them.
I wrestle with my humanity, sometimes too quick to snap and too slow to bless, too selfish to listen, too busy to stop, and I ask Him earnestly to live in me and through my messiness.
I am not sure I always do the best job with your littles, but if you have welcomed me to be part of your mothering in a small way as a babysitter, you have opened a world to me that I might otherwise never experience. You have allowed me to feel, though in part, the joys of giving birth to mother love.
Thank-you Joe & Leah, Phil & Laura, Roman & Carrie, Jim & Lisa, and Les & Andrea.