Copyright 2014 by Ralph Couey
"Babies are such a nice way to start people."
There are so many wonderful things about the birth of a baby that it's difficult to sort through that blizzard of emotions. But no matter how many births a person is a part of, somehow that sense of wonder is never lost.
She became our 10th grandchild, counting one given up for adoption and another who, after six difficult months, went to live with God. It was the latter experience which has taught our entire family the most important lesson about the value and sanctity of life.
Sophie Kim, as her parents have named her, arrived on a hot and humid Friday evening, all 7 pounds and 19 inches of her. Her appearance was the culmination of a fast-paced series of events, that began with the onset of contractions while she was at the pool with her first two kids. About 5:00, she called our son, who against all odds was mere minutes from home. A neighbor came over to watch the two kids, and Robbie and Yukyung jumped in the car -- all right, crawled in the car -- for a risky 35-mile drive to their assigned hospital in Fort Belvoir. Being Friday, and at the beginning of the tourist season, and in the middle of the DC region rush hour, I did not give them good odds to complete the trip. But complete it they did, arriving just before 7:00. Less than an hour later, Sophie emerged into our world.
This morning, my wife and I drove to the hospital, albeit at a more sedate pace, bringing along the first two kids, 7-year-old Diana and 3-year-old Ian. Once there, their sense of wonder at seeing their new baby sister was something to behold. Ian's persistent question, "How did the baby come out?" went largely unanswered. My cryptic response, "The same we she got in there" was far from a ray of light as far as he was concerned.
Cheryl, exercising the Grandma's Privilege, was the first of us to hold the baby. As I watched, her eyes softened and her face was illuminated by a gentle smile. She was in her element. She was born for this moment.
I watched as she explored little Sophie, looking into her face, arms, legs, fingers, and toes, searching for, and finding those distinctive genetic markers identifying her as one of us. Knowing how important this time was for her, I withheld my impatience until she finally looked up and with a big smile passed her over.