This article originally published by the Pioneer Group on April 22
I can recall with vivid technicolor the moment the nurse laid a warm, crying body on top of mine. He was at once both a foreign being and an intimate love; instantly recognizable because he was me, even though because of birth, it was no longer we.
I was shaking with adrenaline due to the majesty of the miracle in front of me and the efforts to bring a life in the world in equal measure. I recall the first thing I said to my husband is “Look what we made!” My eyes could not believe the beauty of the little, hairy human resting on my belly.
I can tell you every single birth story for all Beers Boys, numbers 1-5, in great detail if you ever wish to waste an afternoon with a chatty Krissy, but since his is the first, it is the most important simply because I had no idea what I was doing, what I was getting into, and what I was going to learn. With the rest of the boys there was a semblance of things to expect and by the time BB#5 was coming home, I wrangled the household with exhausted confidence.
In fact, during many of my pregnancies, people would ask if I was ‘hoping for a girl’. Actually, I wasn’t. I love boys and I was happily managing the rearing of the force field that is future man. I was more terrified of coming home with a girl than I was of coming home with 5 kids under 6. It took one afternoon of being home with my adolescent great-nieces to cement that fact: while boys are loud and boisterous, I’d never had to deal with a 2 hour meltdown over a tiny sliver. Give me mud!
Now that the boys are older and some are even adults, I am entering that newborn I-don’t-know-what-to-do territory: On Friday, BB#1 proposed to his girlfriend and I will be a Mother-in-Law…. Let the awkward learning phase begin! I liken this to being a new mom because I’ve not done this before and, like many of you have recognized, it’s one of those things you just have to do yourself because every situation and child is different.
I have prayed for each boy’s primary vocation since adolescence so I trust in this turn of events and delight for our family. Yes, she and he will be one family of their own, but she also belongs to us now as well. Navigating these waters will be a new adventure and I trust I will make mistakes along the way; hopefully with less and less frequency as the road lengthens. Like she that now belongs to our family, so too he belong to hers and I pray that valiant character is his leading moral virtue.
He made a great choice, if you ask my opinion, because I see manifested in her a great many characters that comprise a lovely woman. She is certainly strong, for any woman who is brave enough to date a boy who grew up with 4 brothers has to have nerves of steel and the woman who is mad enough to marry him must have a countenance of forged iron and a devotion to match.
She is beautiful. Not in the outward sense of mere beauty (although she is quite that) I am referencing the inside of devotion, humility and charity. I trust that in his formative years #1 has been nurtured to understand, recognize, and cherish the True, Good, and Beautiful. Humans have a disposition for narcissism and comfort that must always be fought against and she clearly has been fighting the good fight for she exemplifies all that in spades.
She has a great sense of humor and that is a gift, especially as she joins this boisterous group. She also is very competitive which will serve her well in the endless competitions the Beers’ gets themselves into and l am hereby calling BG#1 for my team always, no take-backs. (So there, Beers Boys)
I’m sure I will misstep, speak out of turn, make a wrong-footed comment, or stick my nose in where it doesn’t belong; I promise it’s done out of my own naiveté, ignorance, or stupidity, never malicious intent. Just like putting on a diaper or buttoning up those endlessly confusing sleepers on a baby, I won’t do it right the first time, but with practice I will do my best with love and devotion, cherishing the wonder that is transformative love encased in the humanity before my eyes.
George Eliot said “Adventure is not outside man; it is within”.
It is within the family that one grows, learns, falls, and rises; where one cultivates humility and charity. I am glad to add another limb to this adventurous family tree. May we be a source of nourishment, vitality, and joy to this new branch.