Three months old. Lately when she wakes up at 5 a.m. and it's just too early to get up yet, I go in and bring her in bed with us. She relaxes immediately with her arms thrown over her head, snuggles in and sleeps a while longer being near us. When she eventually opens her eyes in the morning, these are her happiest moments of the day. Laying between me and her dada, she looks up and finds the ceiling fan and flashes a big, gummy grin, arms and legs waving in excitement. She starts talking to me and ducks her chin down in this coy way that I can't resist. Eyes bright, cheeks warm. I smother her with kisses. Her name, Ada, means happy and noble.
Pause life here. Just here.
This is love, definitely love.
Recently I was riding in the back seat of a friend's car on the way to hang out with some of my favorite people. We left the babies home for the night, which hasn't happened too many times yet and still feels strange to me. My friend was driving and talking with her daughter on the phone. She spoke a blessing over her: May the Lord bless you and keep you, may he make his face shine upon you and give you peace. It was such a tender and beautiful moment that I felt like I was intruding on something very precious just hearing her speak these words to her child. There is a lot of love, a lot of love in the voice, in the words.
Again, today I was reading another friend's writing and she said she prays this same blessing over her daughter at night. I've seen both of these friends fight for things they care deeply about, fighting and holding on desperately to promises of blessing and hope when the season is dark. It may seem strange to say it this way, but such raw trust is so moving. It helps me remember what matters, and there is nothing shameful about it. It is why they take the care to say such a blessing with their small ones. It somehow reflects the glory of God in a way not much else can.
Ada's middle name, Amani, means “peace” in Swahili.
We now say the blessing together. Me and the baby girl.
There is this, now. Just this. It may all be messy and confusing, but here we are together. With the love that almost doesn't feel like it gets to be chosen, but rather has happened to us. Irrepressibly, much like grace.
When I feel this love it is easier to remember who we are and what has been given us.
May the Lord bless you and keep you,
May he make his face shine upon you
and give you peace.
He has and he will.