Sunday's Thought ( for Baby Lani's First Sabbath)
It was snowing some in Sitka by the sea on your first afternoon, and the lights were off up on the second floor hospital maternity ward, or as the sign says in Tlingit, the Place Where Babies are Born. We were groggy and awe filled from your 2:40 a.m. arrival and the long night before, which may be why I later wondered if I was dreaming when your Great Auntie Tanya floated into the room, all smiles and light and boundless praise. To me, she declared I must be your sister, I was too young and beautiful to be a grandmother (honestly, I was not looking my best. Watching your daughter in labor adds ten years to your life.) To your mother, who was a bit puffy around the eyes and tired to her marrow, she exclaimed that she never looked more lovely, it was impossible, Auntie Tanya said, that she had just given birth-- impossible! She looked gorgeous-- as if she’d never been pregnant. To her nephew, your father, she said oh Nels, oh Nels, oh Nels! How lucky we are! Then she asked to hold the beautiful, perfect, wonderful, miracle baby girl-- quickly scrubbing her hands (Tanya is a nurse) -- and then lightly, reverently, she lifted you from your mother’s arms and pressed you to her heart, whispering tidings of love and joy and peace, as she waltzed you around the room. I have wondered how those grubby shepherds had been convinced to hike down the mountain and greet the new baby Jesus, the Messiah no less, without so much as a shower or shave, and now I know. That angel who insisted they go must have been related to Auntie Tanya, she must have been a Tlingit, Filipino, Norwegian angel from New Archangel, earnestly lighting their hearts on fire with the magic, wonder and joy of it all. Of course we are all welcome. The world is so beautiful, Auntie Tanya cooed as she swayed with you in her arms-- you are so beautiful, we are so beautiful. Life is so beautiful. Isn't it wonderful to be here, now? Thank you. Bless you. Thank you.