Through the eyes of a child
With a minor sonic yelp on Tuesday of last week, Julianna Grace Whitney Lightcap joined the household as the newest full-fledged member in good standing. She’s smallish but likeable – grunty, with a thin mat of dark, wispy curls, and quite the sleeper. She fits neatly into folded arms and can be put into just about any position – the Summer 2007 model, complete with that new-baby smell. Only this one didn’t come with a warranty, startup procedures, roadside assistance, GPS, OnStar, seat warmers, AAA or a manual. Just the kid.When we were first-time parents, I’m sure it showed on our faces everywhere we went, and total Texas strangers (mostly grandparents, I gathered) were more than willing to share their wisdom, photos, and statistics, and to best us, right there next to the tortilla stand in the grocery store. There was usually something a little darker about those who still had children at home: “Just wait until he starts crawling, then it’ll all be over.” Then, once he was crawling, “Just wait’ll he starts running around the house, then you’ll wanna send him back.” It went on like this; it still goes on like this; I’m still waiting for the end to come.
With baby number two, though, we’ve pretty much been left to our own devices, which is generally fine. In the care of a small, self-appointed cadre – two parents, one grandmother, a good friend, and a more-than-wonderful midwife named Julianne Guy – she’s been birthed, bathed, fed, changed, checked over and burped, not to mention photographed from every angle. Oh, and her brother likes to poke her (lovingly) to see what she’ll do.Everything about Annie is a sacrament and a reminder of the closeness of grace and glory, and holy presence. Pick her up, cradle her against your shoulder, and you’re at the altar of the Almighty, the breath of angels beating out strange patterns on your neck. Watch her pull an array of faces in her sleep – the rubber-faced vaudevillian, the dour librarian, the savvy salesman – and you get a sense of the breadth of humanity. Move into her range of vision, allow her eyes to become fixed upon your face, and you experience the rare moment of being gazed upon by another without a stitch of judgment. This alone is worth the cost of admission.She sleeps close by at night, a little magnet inside of her exuding its influence on my spirit. I fret uselessly in the blue light of morning over future years in the making where she’s dating or in college or otherwise out beyond my feeble reach.
There is nothing else like this anywhere; there just couldn’t be. I should be preparing to have my heart broken … oh, a million times ought to do it.I had long heard the daddy-daughter relationship was a special one, and I’m only just past conjecture at this point. All I know is that this is good, this is right.I beg you, flock to this where you can find it. The newborn teaches us dependency, intuition and wonder. In the prophet Isaiah of my faith tradition, a little child leads the movement toward peace. It is, Isaiah writes, a matter of inevitability, that if we are to learn freedom from war, it will only be accomplished inasmuch as we are able to see its futility through the unburnished eyes of the smallest and weakest.
I guess Annie’s not coming with a key remote is worth the risk of falling in love all over again – of being changed enough myself to want to change the world a little.The Rev. Torey Lightcap is Priest-In-Charge of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Glenwood Springs, (www.saint-barnabas.info). They have two children and live in New Castle.
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Imagine Glenwood and The City of Glenwood Springs is slated to host a virtual town hall at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 11.