Twice in the last few months I've had to deliberately steer away from the moment to wrestle back tears. Once was in May, when my son got just a bit choked up himself when he read his grandma's obit aloud at her funeral. And the second was yesterday, when I saw my new grandson.
The first is explainable, I think. I had to gut it out because it's never been easy for me--nor for any parent--to see kids hurt, especially their own, even when the kids aren't kids. I sat there in church and yawned awkwardly because somewhere in me I felt the hurt in him. It wasn't so much his grandma's death that tore me up, it was his grief at his grandma's death.
Yesterday's stuttering is not so explainable. It had nothing to do with grief. We walked into the hospital hallway, where a wall of glass was all that separated us from a baby boy born no more than two hours before. He laid in a plastic basket, naked as a jaybird, here and there a tube or wire. I can't begin to describe how perfect he looked. My face arched into awful contortions.
I suppose it's fitting--death and life; nothing could be contrary, yet more elemental.
I'm still not sure what drew yesterday's brew of near tears, but it has to be something like awe, sheer awe. There's a new baby, and it belongs to my daughter, my son-in-law, and their two darling kids. My wife claims it too, I'm sure, as I do.
I just couldn't believe the beauty of that child. If I was any younger, I think I'd have said, "Like, whoa."
Awe at life itself. Just life. What a gift.