My baby is my late life surprise gift from God. She showed up due to His planning, not ours. There are times I wonder what in the world He was thinking--its not easy having such a wide gap in the ages of your kids, having a toddler and a teenager; not to mention that all the moms at daycare are 15-20 years younger than I am. Today I found myself telling folks at our office party that having the baby has made dealing with my mom's death so much easier.
I remember four years ago this coming spring. I was kneeling in the daily mass chapel of a local parish praying/crying. I was having heart palipitations and my doctor had found a strange-looking cyst on my ovary. At the same time my mom was getting weaker and weaker and yet no one knew what was wrong. Fr. announced the opening hymn as "Be Not Afraid" and headed out. I don't remember if I managed to stand or not, but I know the tears flowed. I was afraid I had something really bad wrong with me and afraid I was losing my mom--and here we were singing "Be Not Afraid". A couple of months later they finally found out what was wrong with my mom, and that while treatments were available, the long-term prognosis wasn't good. A few months after that I found that I was pregnant.
Well, Mom had three more Christmases with us before her death last March. Two of them included my darling baby. Its not the way I would have planned it, but I'm glad He did. My husband wanted to stop at two kids; I always wanted another, but defered to him. By the time she showed up, I had kind of gotten babies out of my system--my kids were older, I was enjoying doing things like scouts and teaching CCD and enjoying not having to take the kids everywhere with me. I always got kind of a longing when people brought babies to the office to show off, but I knew that part of my life was done and had pretty much accepted that--to the point where I wasn't exactly thrilled when I found out I was pregnant. After a rather physically uncomfortable pregnancy I could truly say that I knew I didn't want to do that again. However, having that baby gave me a life to focus on, rather than an impending death.
This Christmas will be the first without Mom. The baby isn't quite old enough to know that Santa is coming, but she knows that what's in those packages is usually good. It will be fun to watch her open presents and love everything. That excitement just isn't there in older kids, even when they get what they want. I think having her there will help me concentrate more on the "magic" and less on the missing. God's timing is perfect.