Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17 (NIV)
You are here, Hazel. March 27, 2020, you showed up and our world is forever changed. For the better, mind you.
Hazel. One day, I will hold you. One day, I will count your toes and marvel at your tiny fingernails. One day, I will nuzzle your cheek with my nose and will say silly things in goofy voices to you. Then, when you grin or smile, even a tiny bit, I will swear you think I'm hilarious, even when everyone tells me you are too young and probably just passed a gas bubble.
But, today, I see you from a distance, through the screen on my phone. It's so much, but it's not enough. This crazy virus has shut the world off from one another and though I can drive to the hospital where you are in less than 40 minutes, you might as well be a world away.
I watched video of you last night. You opened your eyes and blinked at a blinding world. You made baby noises and then, you let it be known that you were awake enough to want some food. I can't wait to watch your little personality grow and develop, to see how you light up a room, to witness the miracle that is you.
You'll hear stories through the years of your Mother's strength and fortitude as you were delivered, of how your Daddy was by her side through the whole rollercoaster. You'll hear about grandparents and aunts and uncles who prayed and waited, and then waited and prayed some more. And who teared up or grinned from ear to ear, or both, when word came that you had arrived. You'll learn of friends-many of whom have never met your parents-who prayed for you and who also waited to hear of your advent.
You'll also hear stories of those who wait on you in heaven. Even though you won't meet them here on earth, just know that they have influenced you and molded and shaped you, that you carry a piece of each of them within you. Know that they will rejoice to welcome you into God's kingdom one great day.
Hazel, we'll each write our own story with you. Your Mommy and Daddy will have a bedtime ritual with you, one that I bet will include a Bible story, some heartfelt prayer, maybe a song or two. Hint - let your Mother do the singing, your Daddy takes after me. They'll answer your questions and then even more marvel at your own answers and insights. They'll rejoice at first steps and first words, and they'll be there to take every step alongside you.
I get goosebumps, Hazel, thinking of you wanting to do something as simple as walking to the mailbox with me. Or asking if you can ride in my truck. Or bounce on my knee. Or having me push you in a swing - "Higher, Granddaddy, higher!" Or watching you play a piano, bake a cake, shoot a basketball, solve an Algebra problem, ride a bicycle. I'm getting ahead of myself, aren't I?
Through it all, our highest hope and deepest prayer is that you will see Jesus in us and that you will know how much He loves you and how much He wants to be a part of your life. I can guarantee you, that yesterday, while you were still wet and slippery, that your Mommy and Daddy were already praying over you and that you have been bathed in prayer ever since. And that won't stop.
So, precious Hazel, a God-breathed life is out in front of you. I'm so blessed to be a part of it. One day, Hazel. Soon. I can't wait.