in the summer of 2012 we lost a sweet little baby, and while that was hard and unexpected, i was pregnant again quickly, and that helped to take away some of the sting of our loss. with all of my pregnancies, i have felt pregnant immediately (because #thekatemiddletons. not a joke). maybe you’ll think i’m so crazy for saying this, but right away, even when she was the size of a peanut, london felt fat and solid and round in my belly. this is still a good description of her.
when i was pregnant with her, i asked God to give me insight into her character, anything that would help me to mother her better. whenever someone would say, “she’s going to give you trouble!” or “you’re going to get a crazy one!” i would hear God whisper, “she’s going to be a fighter, but it will be for justice. she is going to be your warrior.” i’d rub my belly and feel her, so solid and confident and sure. that’s how i see her; my warrior-girl, my arrow for the Lord.
this story starts in the same way as a lot of our stories: we were at the library. cruz tossed the pastel foam blocks out of their pen and got busy building a zoo for big lion (whom we did not leave behind). london and i scanned the shelves for potential books and i was about to settle her down for mommy-baby board book time, when i looked up and realized that we had an audience. a very, very elderly couple had pulled up chairs close to us and were clearly settling in to watch my children. “i love to come here and watch the children,” she told me as i looked over, confirming my suspicions that we were indeed the afternoon entertainment. i nodded, smiled, and feeling a little like a fish in a bowl, began reading to lolo.
london, charming girl, could not stop looking at this old lady and smiling her gorgeous smile. “that is the most beautiful baby i’ve ever seen!” the woman was so delighted. she started to get up out of her chair to come over. “dorothy! your back!” her husband looked up from his book and got her to sit back down.
“i’ll bring her over to you,” i said.
dorothy asked me how old she was, commented that she was a very big baby, and told me that she’d had six children. i nodded, smiled, and took london back to our seat.
london giggled and cooed back at dorothy.
“that is the most beautiful baby i’ve ever seen! i’ve just got to come over!”
“dorothy! your back!”
“i’ll bring her over to you.”
“how old is she? she’s a big baby! you know, i had six kids.”
and once we’d gone through this routine three times, i began to get the picture and my heart just melted. i brought london back over, and my baby’s smile could’ve knocked you out.
dorothy looked at me, her eyes magnified by her thick glasses. “may i hold her?”
i paused, i really did; caught by strangers and germs and worry because who just asks to hold a baby? but here was my london, my own arrow carrying God’s love. i could say no and keep london reasonably safe and in my arms, or i could trust God and let her do what she was born to.
“have a seat,” i told dorothy. “i’ll help you hold her.” and slowly and gently, just like i do with cruz, i settled london into dorothy’s arms, held onto my baby’s legs so that she wouldn’t squirm away, and prayed that this was the right decision.
dorothy and london looked at each other and smiled and laughed. after a few minutes, dorothy’s husband told her to give the baby back. he got up slowly from his chair, helped his wife back to her walker and walked back to lay a hand on my arm.
“she just turned 90 last week. she doesn’t remember too much these days, but we’ve been married for 64 years, and i know her well enough to know that this was the best part of her day. that’s a special baby you’ve got there.”
it’s precious and overwhelming, this knowing what a gift i’ve been given and knowing that God has given her to me to be used for His glory.
“children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him. children born to a young man are like arrows in the hands of a warrior.” psalm 127:3-4