It all began the day I got the news. Opening a box containing a pacifier has its effect. The news arrested my unrestricted, youthful perspective and changed everything. The emotions, thoughts, excitements, realities and anticipations occupied me. This news came on its schedule, not mine. With much to do, preparations to be made and only a few months to accomplish them, focus consumed me. Anticipation weaves and suspends and shortens time.
Parenthood had always been a possibility though it was distant in my mind, an idea without reality. Now, it was coming, and I had no control over it. Reality intervened. As the months passed, and summer changed to fall’s color montage, and then, morning’s frost, Christmas approached.
Living in Ohio at the time, the news prevented wintering at home in the South. This news, this wonderful, exciting news, possessed expectant elements filling itself with an unexpected twist, the type where God speaks to a listening ear. I learned I was going to become a father to not one child, but two – twins! My sister joked I had made a double bogey instead of a hole-in-one!
In the coming months, I experienced the entire emotional spectrum – fear, hope, worry, forced patience, and motivation, along with sheer joy. This birth would change my world, but change can be the best of things. Life’s complexity peered at me, but clarity sought to sooth and calm me. The future, forceful and potent, exposed new possibilities and responsibilities and happiness. Permanency and fulfillment hovered over me.
Time passed and all that encompasses birth marked the days. A late January due date meant time to get past another Christmas season, checking another marker off the list before the birth. Plans made, we were prepared. A scheduled C-section made it easier.
Clichés are truthful conclusions repeated. Something about “best-laid plans” made me realize when they involve more than one person, even when not yet born, the more seem to be making plans of its own. So, on a cold, snowy, Ohio Christmas morning in 1985, with the wind chill at 25 below zero, at 6:30 a.m., my son turned in his mother’s womb and the twin’s birth began. That best-laid plan detoured in a tick of the clock. At 9:40 and 9:41 a.m., my son and daughter arrived, the first present we opened Christmas morning. Expectations are sometimes unexpected.
Now, some 37 years later, reflection and perspective offer insight. Moving toward means moving away. We said hello to parenthood and goodbye to youthful indulgence.
Anticipation fills the mind with imagined joy and dread until reality chooses. On Christmas morning, 1985, birth declared the intersection of faith, hope, and love. If our worry came from a wrong perspective, our love emanated from a correct one. This intersection set the stage for parenthood as we passed the threshold to a newfound layered and cherished dimension to life. We added one more cherished dimension on February 6, 1990.
Christ’s birth, accepting grace, means moving toward and away.