My niece is in the delivery room. Her mother is holding one hand and her husband is holding the other. She’s in pain. So much so that my mother, her grandmother, left the room to catch her breath. Her voice was shaking on the phone. That feeling, that heart-in-your-throat feeling, passed through the phone and I know with absolute certainty she’d do anything to take that pain away. The first-born daughter of her first-born daughter, dealing with all of the anxiety and pain of bringing her own first-born love into this world.
My heart right now is wrenched up so tight in my throat for my sister. She’s always been the strongest one of us three. And she has to take all of that strength and be a pillar for her daughter. Sitting next to her, listening to her little girl cry. She’s no doubt trying to channel all that pain from her daughter’s body from that little hand she’s holding into her big, strong heart. I remember when it was her, bringing Lisa into the world. I was a kid, too young to really get it, but I remember how beautiful and exhausted my big sister was when we were finally allowed in the room. And how thrilled my brother-in-law was. And how peaceful and tiny my niece looked, swaddled up in the nursery.
It doesn’t seem like two and half decades. Not one bit.
And then there’s her husband, Patrick. He’s fresh from Afghanistan, just in time to be a father. Thank god, all the gods, everywhere that he’s here today. His little boy gets born here in a matter of minutes and he gets to be here for it. In times like these, in a world like this, that’s such a blessing.
I’m sending all of them all the strength and hope and love I can muster. I just got a text message from my mother that Lisa is still pushing. She’ll be done soon. Done and exhausted and thrilled and overwhelmed by the beautiful, amazing, newest member of our tribe.