Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Desmond James, Welcome to Planet Earth

Desi technically arrived on planet Earth Wednesday night. That's when he took his first breaths anyway.

I was suprised by his thick head of dark, almost black, hair.

Six days later, he is opening his eyes, and he looks like a little Mon-Chi-Chi clinging to Mari's or Maricel's shoulder.

Yesterday I had a fever, so I couldn't touch him. It was a travesty, because I can't get enough of him. He's tiny and chubby and quiet. In fact, he slept through the night last night. That's a trend I would love to see continue.

So last night I just lay down on the bed and watched him sleep. My sister recently said in an email that she could just sit and watch a baby sleep. It was so true last night. Infants are amazing. They are so tiny, so new, so helpless, and so fragile. I found myself watching Desi's blanket to make sure it kept rising and falling with his breath. I stared at his tiny face, the veins in his tiny eyelids, and his mini-spasms and sneezes. I could've watched all night.

Why are babies so enthralling? Part of it is the miraculous nature of human life. We're reminded of it when babies are born, and when loved ones die. How do eyes work? I mean, really. How can light be interpreted by a brain to create a picture. How can "pictures" be stored in a brain? How does one cell know that it's the edge of the liver, and the next cell knows that it is fat? And look at those tiny fingers! Amazing.

Also, a baby's life feels tenuous. Between SIDS, an undeveloped immune system, and myriad potential problems that a baby's body may not be able to handle, I feel myself willing Desi to be strong, to keep breathing, to keep feeding, etc. If we can just get him to a point where we can warn him of dangers, maybe I'll feel more secure. But then he'll be running...

And then there's the dependence. This miraculous creature is 100% dependent on me - OK, on mom; but kind of dependent on me helping out mom. This is a massive responsibility. When accepted, it is a wonderful and purpose-inspiring task. My life is now going to be directed to helping this kid survive and get worldly and spiritual tools to thrive. When the responsibility is rejected, it is a tragedy. Children do not choose to have parents; but parents most definitly choose to have children (even if by negligence). Rejecting parental responsibility can result in destroying or scarring young lives. Desi is blessed. Not only are his parents looking out for him, but he has strong support groups of family and friends.

A baby also represents potential. What will this kid do? What will he like? Will he be smart? Will he have a keen spiritual understanding? Will seek political position, a cozy desk job, or an adventurous job as a safari tour guide in Mozambique? Who do I know that he will be able to marry in a couple decades? What will the world be like in a couple of decades when he is grown?

All these thoughts ran through my head as I lay on my bed - watching, but not holding - Desi, as his little blanket rose and fell with each sleepy breath.


  1. The amazing thing is that the love for these little ones doesn't grow old, it just grows. Tell little Des that A. Becky loves him, and kiss his adorable big cheeks for me when you're feeling better.

  2. You've covered the spectrum of thoughts I had, for sure. It's amazing to see something that has a clean slate and limitless potential. For me, it's been 9 months of not wanting to miss a day. Coolest thing on Earth, no?

  3. Just found your blog, so happy to see all are well! Congratulations on the little one (any chance for a few pictures?)! And just in case, I have a baby girl who needs an upstanding young man to marry in a couple of decades. Check her out here: www.smeltzerfamilylife.blogspot.com