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.