Dear Baby B,
Welcome to our world. The call from your parents this morning was a welcome one to me. A time of waiting, over.
It was a long day yesterday as I knew your parents had gone to hospital—in the doors as two, preparing to come out as three.
It was a day of vigil. A holding-my-breath kind of day.
It was a day of quiet waiting. I was at the lake, and I walked and walked. Looked out at the water. I dreamt of who you would be, how your birth will change your parents, how you will change me. It was a day of quiet worry—I just wanted you and your momma to be safe and I’m very aware of how things can go terribly wrong.
The waiting was over this morning when your mommy and daddy called me. Your dad was holding you like he was born to cradle you. Your mom looked both tired and deeply, deeply pleased. Their gentle smiles told me everything I needed to know.
You are here. You are safe.
I exhale. Deeply.
B, you have been born during a time that, in the Christian calendar, is called Advent. Advent means “to come” (In Latin, advenire).
Advent is a time of expectant, contemplative waiting.
The four weeks before Christmas are solemnly and joyfully celebrated with lighting of candles, readings and prayers.
It is a period of waiting for the Christ-child. A time of reflection. A chance to explore our deepest longings and become aware of our deepest needs. It’s a recognition that something—Someone—is coming, but is not yet here.
In many ways, B, you get born into a world that has been waiting since your conception. About 9 months ago, the world went home and stayed home—and we started waiting for a time of viral spreading to be over.
Advent–contemplative waiting–is a way of life for humankind these days.
The world has been waiting for a cure, a vaccine, a way out of a world wide pandemic. We shape our lives around the not yet of this pandemic’s end.
The world sits vigil. We wait. Expectantly. Hopefully and hopelessly. Meaningfully and meaningless. Messy. Beautiful. Laughing and crying. Mad and sad and kind. All of it.
We remind ourselves to breathe—because we find ourselves holding our breath. Waiting does that.
Waiting is hard, baby B.
You’ll learn that soon enough. You’ll wake up and be hungry, and your momma won’t be able to run up the stairs fast enough for you. Your momma will hear your wail—it will be loud and earnest. Your belly will be empty and you will want it filled—immediately!
It’s so hard to wait when you really, really want something.
And yet, you will learn. You will learn how to wait.
I remember when your daddy was hungry as an infant. It wasn’t too many weeks when he would slow or even stop his wails when he heard me coming. Although he was still hungry, he could hear my footsteps on the floor. Those footsteps told him I was coming. He was hungry, but I was coming—and so was lunch. My baby would hear my voice, “I’m coming, Pooker” and his lusty cry would still.
My little Pooker trusted that the sound of footsteps meant that the waiting was almost over.
The hope of what was coming was, for a time, enough.
Today—the day of your birth—we can hear the distant footsteps of the vaccine, coming.
It’s not here yet. No one has gotten it in our country—but the first COVID-19 vaccine has been approved in Canada. The first folks in Britain received the vaccine yesterday. It will be a long time—months—before most of us get the vaccine, but it does feel like we can hear it coming.
We have hope.
It is hard. We are soooo hungry for the end. But the country has hope.
Our collective global exhale is on the horizon.
Thanx, B, for coming—for reminding me that although waiting is hard, it ends.
Thanx, B, for joining our world. May the waiting and the longing, the joys and the sorrow, the laughter and the tears create a rich existence for your time here on this planet.
With buckets of love,