Right out of a storybook, rising from the rumblings of an unwanted storm on a wedding day. It rained just long enough to merit the brilliant arc above our heads, looming intangible and achingly beautiful just above the Mississippi River. I looked through it, to the treetops of my own state; looked behind me, to the reception inside; beside me, to the pretty girl who, thanks to the concrete bench, was for once smiling down at me.
I rose in my tux shoes to kiss her on tiptoes, tears stinging my eyes, smiling so hard it hurt. Around us, the world turned so pleasant and happy it seemed to be applauding.
Congratulations, James and Christine Gregory.
God, the thought of holding him was terrifying. A brand-new, screaming, above-all fragile inductee into the human race, held above me by his father (my brother) who sternly lectures on the proper way to cradle a newborn. My exhausted sister-in-law smiling with that wary look in her eye; we all know I'm the klutz, but he is my nephew and, yes, I must hold him once.
I take this bundle into my arms, and he is so warm, and he is so light. 7 pounds 15 ounces is nothing, and at the same time everything, my arms struggling to be powerful and gentle at the same time. There is no more screaming; there is only soft, almost inaudible breath, the invisible rise and fall of a baby's little chest. And the pride, so thick in my throat that I must swallow, so fierce I must give the baby back.
Michael Fitzgerald Smylie, born June 8th, 2008. Welcome to your life. I am so happy to be in it.