October 15, 2014

Life {31 Days of Five-Minute Free Writes}

On a May evening when I was twelve years old, a phone call prompted my parents to usher my younger sister and me out the door for a two-hour drive. My older sister was at full term expecting her second child, and had gone to the hospital in labor. We arrived there, too, and we waited. I went in to talk with my sister as she lay in the hospital bed. I went out to the waiting room again. More family arrived. More waiting. I think I slept.

At last, a door opened and a thrill came over the family-filled room; the baby was here! Yet more waiting followed that news. I waited while nurses performed various standard checks and procedures. I waited while the grandparents held her. I waited while other relatives older than me held her. It felt like I waited while everybody else in the whole world held that little one.

Finally it was my turn.

Though I was young, this should’ve been routine. In the six years leading up to that day, I’d been at the hospital for the births of a younger sister, three nieces, and a nephew. This time, though, exhaustion or maturity caught up with me.

As I marveled at baby Lily’s feathery eyelashes and cuddled her warm, impossibly light frame, awareness flooded me. Here was a being who didn’t exist just nine months before. This was not merely a fragile tiny body, but an everlasting soul. In my arms I held eighty or ninety or one hundred years of potential.

Down the face of a preadolescent aunt who rarely cried, tears spilled without reserve because of the beauty and gravity of life.

This post is part of 31 Days of Five-Minute Free Writes, an exercise in writing a timed, prompted post every day during the month of October. For me, it's a challenge to move beyond prideful perfectionism, to write more freely, and to share more openly. 

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