Happy Holidays everyone! What a year it has been. I have to say this has been my best year ever, because my son Kase Townes Murray was born. The best part of being a mom has been seeing something truly innocent. I had never been around babies much – and it’s not that I had doubted in the existence of innocence, but until you get to hold your own baby and look into his sweet eyes, where everything is new… It’s truly touching, in a way that’s hard to describe - but I decided to try! Below are some late night thoughts I had about the gift of having a newborn in your life, and how the lesson of that gift can be for us all. I hope you enjoy, and more than anything, I hope you all have a happy holiday, wherever in the world it finds you!
There is this new heart beating, and you created it. It did not exist before. The music that it makes is like a key that unlocks a door into another world. A world the newborn still smells of. It smells like undreamed architecture. Like dreams still waiting to be dreamt. Like what I imagine the fabric of new space must be made of, as it unfolds on the edges of our universe.
Newborns shine ethereally, stardust trailing from their bodies, sparkling fresh on their temples. Their skin is like a cooling star, freshly fallen from the sky. Their eyes stare far off, blurrily, as though they are looking for the pocket in time they came from. Or as though they can still see the angels and the face of their maker. In a word, a newborn is otherworldly. Half here, and half still in the watery space which so efficiently built bone and blood, but also housed the ultimate miracle - for somewhere along the process of cells multiplying and eyelashes sprouting, something breathed a soul into that vessel, and life was born, and music set to playing in that tiny music-box heart.
With each passing week the otherworldliness of the newborn wears off... The window into that magical realm from which they came gradually closes, and their eyes begin to stop seeing stars and focus on more earthly shapes instead. With baited breath you wait, until inexplicably their gaze lands upon you, and where before only unfocused eyes seemed to stumble across your form, a spark begins to ignite and like a butterfly that has miraculously chosen to land, you realize: he sees you.
Hours had been invested in this tiny, shiftless form with out his eyes ever really seeing you, but now with a tiny spark of recognition that ignites when he stumbles across your face, your heart bursts yet again. Your resolve doubles, were that possible, to care for this tiny creature and to protect him from any harm and to die for him if needed.
With each day, your baby wakes from a nap a little more firmly planted in this world. Stardust slowly traded for the lavender scent of freshly bathed skin. He seems not only to struggle less with the noise and bright harshness of our world, but even begins to enjoy it, as he nuzzles your bosom while nursing, cooing when he hears your voice. And that’s when you realize; your baby has not come so fully into this world, as he has transported you partially into his. That’s the gift.
They are newborn. But we are newly born.
Before, life was measured by a different stick. Hours were counted in wages, and worth was awarded only if man-made milestones were met. Fortune was counted in a series of zeros and ones on a screen that told you of the state of virtual wealth that lived online, counted by machines.
But now, looking down at your precious baby, you see a new treasure that shines so brightly it moves you to tears. Your tears bend light, swaddling that perfect baby in a watery halo as you stare deep into his eyes. He returns your gaze steadily, with fascination, looking deep into your soul, so as to know you better. And that’s when it happens. Slow as a sunbeam spreading its first ray across the darkest sky. Slow as the swampy blade of an old fan lazily ticking in the still breeze of a hot southern afternoon. Slow as trust earned, a first smile splits that angels face and were there ever any shadows in your heart, were there ever any doubts that haunted your soul, they are all banished, replaced in an instance with one missive: to be worthy of that smile. To never let it down.
As you soul-stare into each other’s eyes, and that innocent perfect baby unflinchingly studies your face, you know you are bound together. That it is your job to not only shepherd this child into adulthood, but to remind each other on life’s long dusty road, to keep one foot firmly planted in this world without losing touch with the bit of heaven brought with that newborn. Never letting go of that special place we all come from, but too soon forget.
This is the sweet gift of the newborn. May our ears never grow deaf to the music box of their tiny heart, and may its magic be a sweet perfume that informs our senses for all our days without ceasing.