Miracle on Perryridge Road

Ever seen a miracle? Five beautiful babies have been born right before my eyes, each bearing my own family name and placed right into my arms. I’d say that’s a miracle. Baby William James—called Billy Boy by some—joined us in July.

The Big Lad came out the same way the rest of them did—kicking, carrying on, and looking like an Irish potato. There’s a family resemblance. Once, I would have said he takes after my dad. Now I have to own it—he takes after me.

The birth of a baby is a beautiful thing, though not without anxious moments. The build-up is intense, like a Cape Canaveral countdown or a World Cup shootout. When the moment comes, the release is exhilarating.

I’m a mush, so I weep. It slays me every time.

Hail Mary, full of grace, bless this child and pray for us sinners—today, tomorrow, and until the end of time. Under the hot medical lamps of the delivery room, happy tears and swirling devotions meet the hospital aroma of green soap and foot ink in an epic sensory bouillabaisse, a true life event marked by baby’s first hungry cry, a moment you know will flash before your eyes at the hour of your death.

I love it so much that I always want to do it again right away. Maybe that’s why labor and delivery nurses seem so happy with their jobs. It’s hard work, always challenging. But at the end of it all, a baby is born. Wonder of wonders; miracle of miracles.

Of course, there can be tragedy in a delivery room. I’ve seen enough of death to know that life—and living, and babies being born—is the far-superior option. For the righteous, something glorious awaits in God’s arms. Let’s not rush to get there, shall we?

Billy Boy’s stay in the hospital was peaceful. No one tried to speak to him about global warming or Donald Trump. Time stands still for a newborn baby. Nothing matters but mommy.

What kind of world awaits our miracle? One shudders to think how low humanity might go in the next 85 years. I was born in 1973, the season of Watergate and of Roe v. Wade. All in all, not an auspicious time to debut. Things turned out. They often do.

Young Billy’s homecoming was marked by celebration. Luckily, our Clara has all the baby-crazy instincts you’d expect in a 12-year-old girl. It’s nice to have an extra pair of hands handy. She even changes diapers.

Along with the uplift came upheaval. The new arrival altered the delicate balance of our family system.

Our Sally—called Little Sal by some—isn’t quite four. She’s taken the new arrangement hardest. The love for her new brother is there, but the commitment to peaceful coexistence isn’t—not yet, anyway. It’s a textbook case of sibling rivalry. She has been displaced.

Expression is the need of our souls. Though Sally can’t quite find the words, she has found several new sounds. These sounds are dreadful sounds, trembling sounds, the kinds of sounds you hear at the edge of the forest during a full moon.

Little Sal has regressed. So what? It happens to the best of us. One step up, two steps back, and all that jazz. I can’t say I’m operating at my peak these days either. With sleep patterns and eating habits on tilt, my tongue is sharper than usual and my temper shorter than ever.

I firmly intend to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. In the meantime, I rejoice in all that is good and great about the family way.

Keep an eye open. Miracles happen every day.

billy-boy

From the September 2016 issue of Fairfield County Catholic, published by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, CT

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