Written by Ben.
Well friends, our new child finally came to see us after nine nonths of waiting in anticipation! Say hello to our hairy, barrel-chested daughter (I could not possibly make this up) Joya Tov. Born 08Oct16 at 0825 in Bellingham WA. And weighing a whopping 9lbs 2.5oz!
I am struck by the little and great blessings surrounding our Joya. Things like our next door neighbors when we were house guests who were foster parents, around our age, loved board games, became good friends, and even hosted our baby shower. This is just to name a few!
Other things come to mind like our prayer that Joya would be an easy pregnancy, that she would be an easy delivery, an easy baby, and healthy too. All these things were answered. ALL of them. Joya was commented on by the midwives multiple times even before she was born, her heart was metronome solid and she stayed head down to the left side for three months. (For those of you not familiar, this position is the ideal one for delivery) She delivered in less than eight hours, an oddity for first time mothers. She delivered on time, another oddity for first time mothers. When she came out and I caught her she coughed once, upside down mind you, and sang out just long enough for us to slide her up to Mary. There is a rating system used to determine the health of the baby just after birth and Joya was 100% from her first breath. Even the day after was a blessing since we found her constant feeding through the night meant an inconsequential loss of weight. Newborns are expected to lose some weight the day after up to about 10% of their weight. Joya lost three ounces. Three.
Being new parents is something we feared to screw up, shuddered at the responsibility for someone's soul, held each other in blind anticipation, looked up countless stupid parenting myths and rumors, and ultimately came to see it the way most parents and experts like our midwives have told it: babies are intuitive. Analytical minds need not be present. This is tough for me; my mind wants a digital, on-off, itinerary, sub divided by category, color, date, and relativity.
Realizing that Joya is miming what she wants sometimes and ticking off the two or three other things it could possibly be makes a crying baby just a signal that there is something needing fixing. It isn't stressful, or awful; even for an introvert like me. And how can you ever get past the in-your-face example of God to man in the simple act of holding your daughter? I don't know if Daddies get that oxytocin rush when they hold their babies, but you know what? Chemistry can go thrombosize. I love holding my Joya and I grab her anytime Mary isn't feeding her because I love her so much. I love watching her sleep, I love holding her, I love changing her diapers, I love her downy little blonde hair; I love all of her. And that is exactly how God loves me.
You THINK you're ready when you've babysat enough kiddos and worked in social services for children. None of that prepares you for holding YOUR baby; the human you and your soulmate made. I think too that placing this little life second to Mary feels odd yet after discussing it with Mary and some other people in terms of parenthood and Godly behavior this priority makes sense. I'll tell you why: Placing Mary first sets an example to Joya of what a healthy relationship is. I will be a living demonstration of what she will seek in a husband and Mary will be the template she will model herself on as a woman. Second, placing Mary first is healthy in our relationship. Just like our relationship with God, we don't let anything come between us. It says with our actions where our priorities are and shows our love with our hands. And by this, the second point reinforces the first.
I really want to ramble on but I realize I am making a wall of text! Besides, I need to demonstrate my love for my wife and child and get back to them! Blessings on you all in pursuit of God's will in your life. May he bless and challenge you far beyond your capacity to guess. May His design for your life color way WAY outside the lines you drew.
In His Grace,
Benjamin, Mary, and Joya
P.S. I am now a certified Remote EMT...praise God for that too!