I know my joy is not unique unto myself. The birth of a child, whole and healthy, I find to be a miracle. My daughter has just given birth to a daughter. And, yes, I think that joy is true of most of us when we experience new life. I adore her, I will love her all my days. As I do with my own children, of course. But this is the time of innocence, this first phase of life. Parents raise their infants through childhood, through adolescence, to adulthood. Ups and downs all along the way. The work begins. Important and meaningful, real love translates to a journey parents and children make together. Yet all is founded in the discovery of one another, parent and child, in infancy.
Children are also born into community. Not just parents and grandparents, but extended family and friends and the larger world. We hope that the microcosm of first years, as our children and grandchildren are born into love, will become a foreshadowing of a life of love and meaning.
We cannot assume, though, that a person must be a parent in order to appreciate the enormity of the gift of life, the gift of a child. Our children will know and love people who have no children, but who love children, who become integral to a child’s experience, growth of character, and ability to appreciate worlds beyond those a family can provide. These people are givers of gifts that I hope we as parents and grandparents see, understand, and value.
As a child enters these varied communities, she enters a world of the arts as well. For many of us, our art is writing, the capturing of life in words. As writers, we translate our own experiences and inner lives into words. We have a role to play in the world, no matter how many or how few people find and read these words of ours. They are important and meaningful. Our writing community is important and meaningful. We capture not only personal experience, but experiences we witness and reflect upon. In our own way, we lay foundations.
As for my own writing, which I share with other writers and readers here in our own community of writers online, at this moment of my life, marked by love and gratitude, I am, of course, pondering these things in my writing. In personal reflection like the one I am sharing here, and in my poetry. It is interesting to me that the joy I have with the birth of my granddaughter has brought back to me my own early experiences with my children in the days immediately following their births and during the first year. I wanted to share here with you three poems, which as usual I will publish separately. For me as a writer, a piece often begins with reflection about an experience, then an attempt to capture both the event and then the reflection, what I think this means to me emotionally and spiritually, in words. And as is often the case with us writers, we end with an awareness of the fullness and meaning that we did not know when we began a piece.
The first two poems were written about my own children years ago. They are titled Touch and Comforter. Touch reflects infancy, Comforter was written when one of my children was almost a year old. The third, titled Infant, about my three-day old granddaughter, I wrote today. I have already included it in a manuscript I am submitting. I’m very happy that her birth enabled the inclusion of this poem, her poem, in that manuscript.