You're not yet a year old.
On the cusp of it, yes. Here we are, you and I, peering out over the precipice. You, perhaps a little more anxious than I to leap forward, are eager and wide-open-bold-ready to the coming change. But here I stand, caught in the middle of being overjoyed to watch you grow but, at the same time, glancing over my shoulder and wishing with a nostalgic ache that you could maybe stay little a bit longer, love?
I remember when you were still inside my body and curving out the shape of my skin. I stumbled upon this concept of 'baby wearing'. Without even having experienced it yet, I feel in love with the idea. In no time at all, our first carrier was on it's way and I was anxiously checking tracking numbers multiple times a day until it finally arrived.
I 'wore' you for the first time the day after you were born. How strange it is now to think about me wrapping you up next to my chest when, just hours before, you'd been dwelling on the opposite side of it.
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It quickly became normal for us. Anytime we were out and about, either me or my husband carried him close; away from germs, away from strangers' nosy touches, away from anything or anyone who might bring him harm.
Call me the new, overprotective mama. I don't care, I know my heart. And while I'm sure I'll become softer on the edges, and a bit more relaxed when it comes to keeping my baby safe as the years march on, my fierce instinct to protect him won't diminish. But here's where we meet a crossroads of sorts. Part of my role as his mother is to protect him, but I'm also fully aware that I'm not able, or even supposed to, keep him from every danger he's sure to encounter as he grows.
That truth terrifies me.
I know the kind of world he's growing up in and it keeps me up at night. Before he was even formed inside me, the thought of how harsh life can be made me question whether or not to even bring a child into it's existence at all. It's a fallen, broken and bleeding world. The darkness is yawning thick on the edges; pulling, coaxing, waiting. Sometimes I can feel it pressing in on my chest, laughing at my feeble attempts to breathe in it's cloaked presence. It's a struggle to lift my eyes; a fight to remember that, despite it's seeming victory, evil as already been conquered.
You see, once upon a time, God came. He entered in to the chaos, the muck, the ugly-mess of it all and things have never been the same since. Because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross, we can walk in the light and fear no darkness. We simply have to choose the way, the only true way, of laying down ourselves low and humble to receive the love of God.
We don't have to be afraid because, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to of with punishment and whoever fears has not been perfected in love." 1 John 4:18
So, we'll hold him close as long as he needs; wearing him through all that life brings him in this season. We pray for God's Holy Spirit to guide him, and daily ask for wisdom to prepare him for the time when he'll enter the world on his own. Our hope for him is simply this:
May he be strong enough to admit his weakness. May he be humble enough to repent of pride. May he be gentle enough to conquer evil through the fierce, unwavering, untamed love of Jesus Christ.
"The world is rated R, and no on is checking ID's. Do not try to make it G by imagining the shadows away. Do no try to hid your children from the world forever, but do not try to pretend there is no danger. Train them. Give them sharp eyes and bellies full of laughter. Make them dangerous. Make them yeast, and when they've grown, they will pollute the shadows." -N.D Wilson.
Breanne Rodgers, The Village Journalist