Today we celebrated the last first birthday in our little family. Our youngest turned one! Having celebrated four other first birthdays before hers, I was all too familiar with the feelings that come with the passing of the first year on their first birthday and today was no exception. Only this time it was filled a bit of sadness, knowing that I will never again feel the joy of giving birth to and holding that precious newborn on my chest again. Seeing pride in my husband’s eyes that I only saw after child birth or taking in the smell and touch of the infant’s skin and seeing his/her eyes look up at me for the first time. It is truly a miracle and a most precious gift!
All sadness aside, it was also a very happy and tender day! Being able to wake up to her smiles and laughter, seeing her explore new skills and the interaction and bond between her and her siblings. Exploring new foods (she’s still toothless so I’m having to be creative to expand her diet) and seeing her reaction to each gift she got to open. I do believe she is the first kid I’ve known to actually savor a gift when she gets a new one, where as my other kids shred the paper and hardly see what they got before they’re ready to rip into another one. *sheesh.
I felt so blessed to be able to share her special day with her and with all of the friends and family who have helped us celebrate her year of life! One thing that I love, or find amusing, about first birthdays is the stories that come out. You get a group of moms together and you are bound to hear each woman’s labor and delivery war tales! It’s guaranteed. We can’t help it. I think we each crave to relive the experience in some way just to get back that sense of pride and accomplishment. To relish in the amazement of what happened and how crazy and chaotic it seemed in our eyes at the time. To have survived such immense pain and somehow walked away with this living, breathing human who now turns our hair grey, wipes snot everywhere and doesn’t seem to stop eating!
On our drive home tonight after an outing with friends to get some late night ice cream with the birthday girl, it got me thinking about other birthing stories and one in particular. Mary’s. The story of Jesus’ birth was obviously written by men because they leave out all of the good bits. All of the chaos and crazy moments. Luke is probably the most detailed account I know of and even he didn’t mention how long she was in labor, how many times did she have to push, was she allowed to eat during labor, who all was in the “room” at the time? Details man, we women want details! Then you have John who paints it as a very poetic scene full of Light and Glory! I’m pretty sure he would have been the husband to make sure the aromatherapy candles were going and she had all of her creature comforts to make labor as picturesque as possible.
But, seriously. What was it like to give birth to the son of God? A baby who was God incarnate? Did He allow her to still experience the labor pains that he cursed Eve and all of her descendants with? Did Joseph cut the cord or even know what to do once Jesus was delivered? Did Jesus even form inside a womb like everyone else with the placenta and chord and sac, etc? Did Mary have hesitations about giving birth to a child that she knew was not completely hers and Joseph’s? I imagine it being almost like a feeling a surrogate mother has when giving birth to a child that she knows one day will have to part from her.
How was it for Joseph? Was he ridiculed for dragging his poor wife across the desert when she was ready to pop any day now so he could go pay the bills? How could he not plan ahead and reserve a hotel or a friend’s place to stay at? Why did he move so far from home to begin with? What about the rumors that may have been floating around that it wasn’t even his child that she was carrying? I’m sure satan was trying to poke his stinky nose into even this miracle somewhere…he has a nasty tendency to do that. Also, where in the world did he find Mary her sushi and venti Starbucks for her first meal?! (Ladies, you know what I’m talking about!)
Child birth in itself is crazy and marvelous! The life of Jesus and his whole purpose in being is mind blowing to begin with. Without knowing everything about his life from beginning to end in full detail only adds to the wonder and awe of the miracle. Seeing as it is not how we enter into this world that defines us, but rather how we leave it. In Jesus’ case, it was all about the beginning (the Conception) and the end (the Resurrection). Seeing as Jesus is God and God was and is the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega, the creator and destroyer of all, it seems only fitting that the life of Christ was started with the word also. From there on we simply stand in awe of his life and how he lived it, rather than focus on the details of how Mary brought him into the world. She knew and the writers of the gospel knew that those details were not the important part.
The important part is how we live our life for God. How we expend our life for Him and what we leave this world as. This, I believe, is why there is a bountiful description of the last few days and hours of Jesus’ life found in the bible. He left this world with nothing left to give of himself. Pretty amazing that someone entered this life so simply and left with such an earth shaking and painful, but JOYFUL, death. Yet here we are, trying to remember our lives (the lives of our children) in the opposite manner.
I still love child birth stories! It truly is quite an experience that is never the same for each person. What would it be like, though, to have an even grander story to tell of a death? To have our exit far surpass our grande entrance?Tags: Beginnings, Birth, Birthdays, Death, Endings, Jesus, Labor, Stories
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