Adoration of the Child
Gerrit van Honthorst
Ina May, later on in the book, talked about adoring babies, in the sense of the Adoration.
I have thought about that so often. I remember when I had baby Hank and my close-knit hippie community came to visit me, everyone so incredibly respectful and how they welcomed that baby with such love and even honor. I thought about that word then. Adoration.
And I, myself, spent hours in adoration of my baby as he lay on his back watching the dancing patterns of shadow and light on the walls of our rooms, cast from the tree outside as it moved in the breeze, as he nursed at my breast, as he slept beside me or in my arms.
This happened with all of my babies. I will make no excuse for thinking of them as worthy of adoration while at the same time, believing fervently that all babies are worthy of such.
And now, with my grandchildren. The same.
We went to lunch again today- Lily and Gibson and Hank and Jessie and Gus. We went to Fanny's so that we could eat outside and see May. And it was so delightful. When Gus needed feeding, Jessie fed him, when he needed changing, she put a pad down on the grass and she changed him and May and I knelt there on the grass and watched this most mundane of activities- the changing of a baby's diaper with nothing short of adoration.
We praised his perfect baby body, his fingers, his toes, his feet. We touched him and marveled at his perfection under the sweet blue skies of October.
Of course all of this is a trick of nature, of evolution. The more people who come and meet the baby, who bond with the baby, who love the parents of the baby- the better the chances of the baby's survival.
I know this trick and yet, I am as completely enchanted by it as if it were nothing but a miracle, which of course, it is that too.
Lily is proving to be very good at getting her nephew to sleep.
Uncle Hank adores him too.
And Gus seems very comfortable there in his uncle's arms.
We are a family who adores babies in every sense of the word. We note all of the signs of his changing and growing. He already seems more aware of the world around him, taking it all in with those eyes as dark as eternity. He had a hearing screening today and we rejoiced in his passing the test with flying colors. We cheer when he burps, when he manages to get his hand in his mouth, and yes, even when he poops.
We love each bit of him, each completely normal and miraculous human bit of him.
And we cannot stop kissing him, touching him.
And why should we?
And as they grow, we celebrate each and every milestone. The first words, the first steps, the learning of letters and numbers, the found ability to pretend and create stories in their own minds. All of it is a damn miracle and we are aware of that and call us ridiculous or whatever you want to call us.
We love babies. We love children. Together we form a strong and unbreakable web of love and support for these children.
Here. Lily sent me this this afternoon.
Owen is learning to ride his bicycle. Can you hear him chanting, "Keep going, keep going, keep going!"? He has already internalized the words we would be telling him. That message- keep going!
And then he falls but he falls well and does not hurt himself and all of us are so very proud of him.
I do not believe in telling children that they are "the most" anything. Smart, special, amazing, talented, whatever. We may think our own babies are all of those things. I would hope that parents do think those things about their children, but we don't have to burden our children with these tags.
But what I do believe in is telling children that they are as loved and precious and as cherished as any baby ever born on this earth. And of course, as with almost everything, words without actions to prove them are meaningless.
And thus- we come together to adore them. Not to spoil them, not to turn them into little twits who suffer from self-importance or entitlement, but to allow them to be the spirits and humans they were born with all of the potential to be.
Jesus, Buddha, Gus, Owen, Gibson, you, me.
That's what I think.
Yes! All of this, all so true and spoken(written) so beautifully. I wish you would submit this post as an article for publication in Parent magazine or similar. This needs to be spoken to all parents. Funny, I was going back through your early posts last night and read that very early one about the Gaskins and thinking how revolutionary and empowering their book was. The whole world of babies seems very far away for me now. My son has really and truly left the nest for good and I think I have been grieving it. He is lovely just the same and I am happy for him but oh, how I miss him.ReplyDelete
I never have met a baby that was not intoxicating, addictive. AWESOME in the AWE sense of the word.Babies be like crack! I do not remember Steven Gaskin saying that, I read their books before I thought babies were cool...vowed to never have any...Glad fate had it's way with me or my life would have been so selfishly hollow. I love what you have written so much. and I REALLY love that little baby's head! Heart bursting good!ReplyDelete
This, like your babies, is perfect in all all ways.ReplyDelete
that swirl indeedy!!ReplyDelete
So beautifully said.ReplyDelete
You can never ever spoil a baby with love....ReplyDelete
You are so right Mary . Every word is true. Babies are magnificent. My three boys as babies slept in my bed and were breast fed for quite a while. Attachment parenting is natural to me .ReplyDelete
I wish all parents and grandparents felt this so deeply. Sadly, some don't.ReplyDelete
Beautifully put!! The world would be a wonderful place indeed, if this were the normal way of things.ReplyDelete
So important, that distinction you make about pure praise and attention without the poison of comparison, i.e. "the most".ReplyDelete
Owen's chant immediately channeled for me the Little Golden Book: I think I can, I think I can.
Owen rode a long way, it's hard to ride a bike on grass and that swirl! GailReplyDelete
I think my first step in my rejection of christianity was when I realized the religion thought everyone was a sinner, born sinners, even new born babies were sinners. I thought how can a baby be a sinner, a fresh new born who hasn't done a single thing be a sinner. my acceptance of the religion went downhill from there.ReplyDelete
Invisigal- That book really did change a lot of things and yet, so many things in the birth industry (because that's what it is) need to be changed still. I am very lucky in that almost as soon as my nest got empty, the grandchildren started coming. I don't think I'll ever actually have an empty nest.ReplyDelete
Linda Sue- I think that childbirth is just fascinating to many, many people. Even animal birth fascinates a lot of us. It's just natural that it should. Such a wonder to be present when a new life emerges.
Joanne- Thank you, sweet woman.
Big Mamabird- Isn't it just precious?
Angella- Thank you, sister.
ain't for city gals- Nope. You cannot.
Leisha- I think it would be for most mothers if they weren't culturally taught that it's not.
Elizabeth- Adore YOU.
Steve Reed- Maybe it's a genetic trait!
Desiree- I think we'd all be a little happier, at least.
A- Thank you for getting both of those things. So much.
Gail- I know! He's really learning fast!
Ellen Abbott- Same here, woman. Same here. Babies are sinners? I do not think so.
Denise- XXOOXXOO back to you!
Yes to all of it. Except I think you're too easy on those who would call it ridiculous. But I suspect in your heart of hearts you're not that easy on them.ReplyDelete
Mwa- Well, I know for certain sure that not all people feel this way about babies and that's okay. We are all different, but this is the way I am, the way my children are. And I know it's not ridiculous.ReplyDelete
Lovely message, so important.ReplyDelete
I was going to remark on the perfect swirl of hair too, it's like a Van Gogh painting.
Awwww, that swirl on Gus' head! Adorable.ReplyDelete
Tell me that you kiss that swirl every single time someone else is holding him?!ReplyDelete
Too many twits out there who feel entitled. The Millenial children seem to be the ones praised to the roof. What goes up must come down. Such is life. Love is good though. And you certainly give that.ReplyDelete
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