Despite the presence of a cheering section, despite Kendra and I being on our best behaviour, and despite all the methods we employed to encourage our nephew into the world, he would not come. It was with heavy hearts we released Eleanor and Wade to the operating room for a C-section. This time when Kendra and I sat down to wait, there was more worry than enthusiasm.
There would be no united sisterhood welcoming baby Carter into the world (you may be thinking this was for the better). There would only be a cold, sterile, medicinal operating room. Naturally, this did not sit well with me.
We paced, impatiently waiting for the moment we had been focused on all day. And then we saw him. Pushed in a baby cart by his proud Daddy, lay a darling dark haired boy. Love in an instant.
Completely smitten, we followed Daddy and the nurses through the steps of weighing, measuring, and washing. Oblivious to the fact that perhaps the rooms were too small for all of us, we squeezed into corners happily snapping pictures with our phones. Joyously we called out weight predictions, and exclaimed on the sheer perfection of his little body. Though the day had seemed long for us, it must have felt like an eternity for the nurses. There was a sheen of relief in their eyes as they wrapped up little Carter, and sent us off to the next unit. Their labour was over.
For us, the long day had also come to an end. A beautiful baby had been born. Mother was doing well. A family had grown. Kendra and I drove back to Eleanor’s house exhausted and fell asleep almost instantly. Coaching a child into the world was one thing. Coaching parents to keep the baby alive in the world, was another. Tomorrow would be another full day.
Well rested and ready to sprinkle our wisdom and experience on the new family, we bounced into Eleanor’s hospital room early the next morning. As she was the sister most in love with babies, able to love even the scraggliest of children, we expected to be greeted with a Madonna and child type scene.
To our surprise, Eleanor seemed rather out of sorts. Her gown was draped precariously as she attempted to feed baby. Having expertly guided us through the labyrinth of those early days, we expected her to sail through it herself. Yet, it seemed that baby was not especially receptive to the ‘sandwich’ that was being foisted upon him.
Naturally in a situation such as this, one would expect we would rush to be of assistance. Unfortunately, that was not the case. We took in the scene with ill-suppressed laughter. Neither of us had experienced Morphine to the same degree as Eleanor was currently experiencing it, and we found the addling effect it had on her brain quite entertaining.
We watched her cycle between loud snores, instant alertness and conversation, attempts at feeding baby, followed by the snoring once again. Sometimes she would skip the alertness and conversation and progress directly from snoring to feeding Carter. Those were our favourite moments.
Approximately every other cycle of alertness, Eleanor would brightly suggest we go visit the lovely atrium down the hall. Within seconds of suggesting this, she would be asleep again, waking only long enough to glare at us over our shouts of laughter. We crowned her the narcolepsy queen, and sat back to enjoy the show.
It got so bad, a nurse was sent in to tell us to keep the noise down. (Fortunately, the nurse was a dear friend of Eleanor’s and in no time at all was behaving almost as badly as we were.)
There we were, two mothers of young children, out and about on our own with no one to care for and no husbands to keep us accountable. We were having the time of our life. It appeared Eleanor was also enjoying her entrance into motherhood, but then again, that could have been the Morphine talking. At this point, Wade was probably just reciting his wedding vows, reminding himself that he was in this for better or for worse, and it appeared his in-laws might be the ‘worse’. We stayed until late, talking, laughing, and just enjoying being together, knowing the following day routine would call us home.
The next morning I popped into Eleanor’s hospital room before setting out for home. I walked the hospital halls alone, without my sidekick sister, feeling anxious. I was about to drive eleven hours north in a freak May snowstorm. Kendra would be driving almost as many hours west through the mountains, and Eleanor was going to be left alone with her baby, devoid of our wisdom and insight. The united sisterhood was logistically separated.
I said my good-byes and began the long drive. I re-lived the past few days with no small amount of tears. The time would be archived in my favourite memories file. But as I remembered, Eleanor’s face kept reappearing in my mind’s eye. I worried that I had made a time all about her, much more about me. I wondered if I had taken a story in which she was the main character, and wrote myself into her role.
I can’t help but think we do that with the Bible a lot. We somehow make it a book about us. We go to it looking to feel better about ourselves, or to find answers for specific questions or problems we have. We pick out the parts we like, and discard the parts we don’t and then spew out our favourite lines like magical little pills that will make everyone feel better.
And somehow in our egocentricity, we forget that the Bible is a book about God. We forget that it is His story in which He is the main character, and that He is far more interested in using His Word to change our hearts, than He is in changing our day.
I sit at the beginning of a new year. I don’t know what it will bring. I do know God’s Word assures me that the pages are covered in Grace. A song rises in me and spills out; a prayer. This my story, this is my song: praising my Saviour all the day long!