“Dear Nana. I’m good. But I’m in love with you. Benjamin.”
He wrote that note at around five. His crooked pencilled letters sprawled across the full eight and an half inch width of paper. I keep it in my Bible to show his future wife, should he marry, that I came first. Then I’ll show her the photos his mother took a few days ago, proof of another significant first. On that day, Benjamin showed up at my workplace and presented me with a bouquet of store-bought flowers. A gift, just because.
Fifteen years ago, his parents stopped by our home with a 28th anniversary gift. A book: Chicken Soup for the Grandparent’s Soul. “Nice,” I said. “We’ll enjoy that! Thank you!”
“Open it.” I did. “Hope you enjoy being almost grandparents,” she’d written on the first page. “Love, Amanda and Kendall.” That puzzled me. I read it again, uncomprehending. Then I noticed their bright eyes and teasing grins and understood their message.
As usual, the Preacher responded circumspectly with smiles and congratulations. Not me. I cried. I laughed. I jumped up and down. I hugged Amanda’s small body slightly more carefully than usual. It felt new. Different, now that it carried the tiniest member of our family. A new life. A precious gift, God-sent; from conception a human being of intrinsic worth. Like all babies, a child known since the dawn of creation by our Heavenly Father. Completely unique, yet by Divine design utterly dependent on its mother for nourishment and safe-keeping until delivery.
A few weeks later, I saw our grandson’s first ultrasound. He lay on his back, knees tucked up, bouncing like a wee jumping bean. During my own pregnancies, I had no ultrasounds, but I’d felt that motion often. The ability to peek in on grandchild #1, safely stowed in my daughter’s womb, seemed miraculous. I watched overwhelmed as he spread his fingers, wiggled his toes and sucked his thumb.
Five siblings have followed Benjamin; each child a Designer special, each child beloved and welcome. And with each, I have recalled another love note – this one written in Psalm 139 by the Psalmist addressing his Creator:
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand...”
God’s love note to every child born is also preserved in the pages of scripture. Summed up, it may read like this:
“Dear _________(insert your own name.) I’m good. And I’m in love with you. God.”