Confessions memoir

Ducky: Transitory Thoughts On My Son’s Birth (Final Week)

Baby Beadle Day #36:

We are nearing the end. Seriously, we are a mere day or two away from being able to take Declan home. They promised us Monday, but he lost 55 grams. they promised us Tuesday instead, but he lost 5 grams. Amidst the frustration, I decided to cut my hospital wrist band in faith, and even as Lauren and I walked out of the NICU, through the lobby and out of the entrance, we stopped to look back. Lauren seemed confused because she had stayed at the hospital all day, was extremely famished and wanted to leave immediately. I simply told her that today, once again, we make the conscious choice to not see the hospital as his home.

I know that doesn’t sound like a big revelation but whenever you have spent over a month in a routine that feels more normal than normal life, it is easy to accept the abnormal as the always.

So when we cut the wristband, whatever they may be, we recognize that we still need the band to get into some places, but we are taking a step to accept a higher reality. Let’s face it: life is hard and full of chaos, pain and suffering. But if we are not careful, we accept these as reality and the goodness in life as the exception to the rule. We end up with a Schopenhauerian perspective that sees joy as the pain in life and pain as the joy in life. I know it sounds confusing, but that is the risk of philosophical discourse.

No, no, no, no and no!

Joy, goodness, peace and rest are the ultimate reality and everything else is the exception to the rule. This is why we enter the chaos: creation. So we held Declan today, and whispered in his ear that he is gaining, not losing, weight. We then left to grab dinner. It was a wonderful dinner, as I was able to indulge in macaroni-and-cheese for the first time in a while. The 10-year old within me was overwhelmed with cheese and goodness. After we arrived home, and I cleaned up the insane amount of dog poop off the ground, we were able to finally relax. Later on in the evening, my mom contacted us to let us know that they were visiting Declan in the NICU and the nurse had told them that Declan had gained weight.

I suppose reality is creeping back in. Boom…

Shalom,

Jon

 

 

Baby Beadle Day #37:

I don’t know exactly how to lead into what I am about to say with some sort of quirky introduction about how my day began, so allow me to be blunt: The Doctor called Lauren tonight to tell her that Declan will be coming home tomorrow!

After weeks of waiting and praying, Declan is finally able to deprive us of our sleep. This means I will have a better reason for the dark circles under my eyes.

These updates will continue for a few more days, and I promise to spark the mundane with the miraculous all around us.

That is all.

Shalom,

Jon

Baby Beadle Day #38:

Insert the scare quotes…

From day one of finding out that Lauren and I were going to be parents, there have been a few things I knew I would immediately look forward to doing once our son was born. One was to have the chance of throwing him up in the air, and do the “superman.” If you are unaware of this, I pity you. Also, I would look forward to having a conversation with him. Since none of these things will be happening for a long time, the other hope I had just took place: Declan laid on my chest as we both took a nap together. His breath, and my breath. Who knew that my son could snore so loud? I supposed this to be a preemie thing but I have been out of the womb for over 26 (soon to be 27) years! Start the lawn mower son…

After finally taking Declan home from the NICU this afternoon, he immediately began to cry and didn’t stop for what felt like hours (but was actually 30 minutes). If you were to ask me a year ago if that would have aggravated me, I would have wholeheartedly agreed it would be better for Lauren and I to wait at least 5 years before becoming parents. In what seemed to be a hilarious twist of fate, Lauren proved my plans were “hilarious” by throwing up all over me in a plane from Egypt to Turkey, just under 8 months ago. But when I heard my son crying, especially considering all we have been through these last few weeks, I loved hearing every scream. It is not that I am weird, it just felt as though each noise a supplication and each tear a grateful declaration.

As he lay on my chest, we try to sync up each heartbeat. This is, of course, impossible. Declan has tiny lungs which cause him to take around 5 breathes for every one breath I take. Nevertheless, we are experiencing the same pulse. I can’t explain it, but we are in agreement, in spite of the fact that I can breathe deeper and longer. Now I know I have made many cheeseball assertions about God’s character because of our experience with Declan, but think of it this way: what if every breath were not measured on their merit (faster or slower) but measured on the attempt to sync up with God, the very breath of creation itself?

Lauren and I aren’t on an airplane at this moment, since it has been nearly 8 months since we have been able to travel out of the country, but we feel the rush of entering into an experience we haven’t quite understood or read the fine print on. Even looking at Declan in his bed, he is incredibly smaller than the length of his mattress. This is absolutely terrifying! But that is how we seem to like it. We are entering the chaos.

Neither of us feel like glorified babysitters anymore and Declan, although very comfortable in my arms, squirms every chance he gets in order to adjust to the world he has found himself in.

We also find ourself in a world. Each of us, trying to judge what was the right thing to do and what was the next step in the process of existence. If we are honest, most of the time we feel like we are creatures crawling in the dark, feeling our way through the earth. That was then, but what about now? But then this God, whom most of us know very little about (if we are honest), becomes one of us. God entered the chaos, without apology, in the person of Jesus. He made a Way for a different kind of creature. Not one which has all the answers, but one who is unafraid to engage in the questions with grace, love, tenderness, courage and mercy.

I know I long for the subversive ministry of the Nazarene to permeate everything I do; from my political views, to washing the dishes. Declan longs, but I’m sure he doesn’t really understand what he longs for. And really, that is like me. I so long for something more and for more things to make sense, but understanding is not always the purpose – glory is the purpose.

Insert the scare quotes, please.

Shalom,

Jon

 

Baby Beadle Day #39:

If there is one thing I find fascinating about these last few days, it is the diversity of people and backgrounds who have been asking to serve us in some capacity. We have had friends from Anglican, Charismatic, Evangelical, etc, backgrounds, volunteer to bring meals and help us with anything we needed. It’s all so overwhelming, the moment of realization that it all has finally begun, but this community (communities?) we have been apart of, and the one we are presently engaged with, is demonstrating the power of the Kingdom life to us every day.

After I woke up this morning, Lauren was finally able to go to sleep. Staying up all night was something we both did (Lauren more than me) because Declan makes noises in his sleep that sounds oddly similar to choking. Of course, this is what babies do when they sleep, but I felt so bad for my wonderful wife.

I, on the other hand, took off to work in the morning and felt like I had walked through a sand storm and had come out the other end still covered in dust.

In spite of the terror and joy we felt, I needed some time alone with God. What I did was get in my car during my lunch break and practiced becoming more aware of God. Don’t worry, I also read the Bible! While I was praying it was immediate when the presence of God filled my heart. Peace felt like a garment and fresh courage approach my door. I’m still opening that door…

As soon as I got home, Lauren had me change the first diaper that I have ever changed of Declan’s. He didn’t like it, and the feeling was definitely mutual. As soon as I was done, Declan retreated back into the protection of his eye lids and Lauren quickly fell asleep as I held Declan. And there we were: Declan, Lauren and my dog sleeping together. It was somehow moving and I’m not sure what exactly to say about it.

I suppose it is clearly beauty.

Shalom,

Jon

Baby Beadle Day #40:

As a little family, our first trip outside of the apartment was to the ever illustrious, Target. It wasn’t that brave of a thought, until we actually began the process of leaving, driving and walking through the store. It took us much longer to get where we were going, but the truth was that we loved every minute of it. Walking down through the parking lot produced a soundtrack in my head, reminiscent of a dad who takes the mundane and makes it seem like walking on water. In truth, I understand why the smallest moments can seem so big, because they really are as big as we imagine them. I can’t explain it, but having your own son makes you feel like going deeper into what seems to be insignificant, like going to the store.

We bought this bathing tool called the “Bloomin’ Bath.” It’s a giant sponge that looks like a flower and holds the baby comfortably in the sink by soaking up the water. I think my goal was to keep him as comfortable as possible, but when we put him in the sink, he cried with more of a shrill I had ever heard before that time.

I think the same thing happened with God. He destined us to live in His version of comfort, a presence-driven life. But like my son, we open our eyes, and without knowing what we are looking at we break down. Covered in dried vomit, milk and poop, we don’t understand we are being cleansed and we shriek like we are dying. Maturity is learning to receive.

It has been a terrifying and joyous journey. Thanks for joining us by reading, sharing and talking about these posts with others. I’m sure I am done with these posts, unless you guys want more. But even then, I’m not sure what else I can right about in this vein. Time would fail me to share the stories of all of the people who read these and cried, felt inspired and came to faith in Jesus.

Day 40 is here and we are not sure what else to do, but move forward.

Shalom,

Jon

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