Saturday, November 16, 2013

He cries alone

Psalm 111:1 (NIV)

Praise the Lord.

I will extol the Lord with all my heart
   in the council of the upright and in the assembly.
Isaac can be very loud. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, least of all me, since I’ve walked this road three times before. But for as much as I expected the noise, what I couldn’t guess was how unfazed the older brothers would be when the new arrival is screaming from the bottom of his toes.

To be fair, he seems to save his most curdling shrieks for the middle of the night when only he and I are awake. We’ve not yet had the whole family in the van for much more than 15 or 20 minutes at a shot, which means I’m holding my breath for our first cross-state drive to see Kristie’s family. But even around the house when he can get sort of ornery, the big boys just don’t seem to care.

Believe it or not, this guy can get pretty worked up.
The thing is, I’d be pretty understanding if they were bothered. Infant crying can be incessant and piercing, and I don’t recall Jack, Max or Charlie requesting another addition to the family. Yet so far they’ve displayed preternatural grace under pressure. They’ve almost always been patient when the baby’s needs have to come first. They haven’t shown a shred of jealousy. And when he cries, they take it as some sort of fact of nature — this from children who sometimes act personally insulted if it’s raining outside. Jack knows when it’s the right time to pick up Isaac and Charlie tries to kiss his head to make him feel better.

At the risk of jinxing the whole darn thing, the big boys’ reception of Baby Four thus far has exceeded my grandest hopes. I was steeled for the worst-case scenario, but their acceptance and understanding is making this transition into our new normal somewhere between tolerable and downright fun. I don’t even recall praying for this kind of blessing, but I’m certainly expressing my gratitude for whatever’s been making it possible.

Perhaps if I had more sleep or a shorter to-do list I could mine some deep truth from the way our big brothers have adapted. Surely there’s something almost primal about the familial bonds and they way children have almost a better sense for human nature than adults. But mostly I’m happy to still feel like this is a house where love reigns.

It’s not all sunshine and roses. Bath time is a nightly war, homework is a daily struggle and there are days where everyone’s attitudes could use a drastic improvement. But at the same time, we all seem to have made room in our hearts for the new guy, and that’s why it already feels like he fits perfectly. He was always supposed to be here, even before we knew it was time.

I don’t claim to understand how these things work, or even have a good handle on explaining how they feel, except to be thankful to God for these many blessings. Life can be absolutely wonderful, and when those moments wash over me, I try my best to remember the source.

A prayer for November 16:

Lord, thank you for simple gifts in overwhelming amounts. May the works of my hands and the words of my mouth be sufficient to give you praise in gratitude for the opportunity to delight in the wonderful people I count among family and friends. Thank you for allowing me to feel loved, and help me share that joy with others. Amen.

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