This week we're with Alana Claire, the newest of our grandchildren. Just seven weeks old, she's reached the age at which a baby comes to realize that everyone else has just one purpose: to please her. At this point Alana has limited needs, perhaps a half-dozen or so, but only one way of expressing them: she cries. And then her parents and grandparents struggle mightily trying to identify which of these needs has just taken priority over all the others. As you might expect, her mom excels at this. Eventually the need is satisfied, the crying stops, and our efforts are rewarded with coos and smiles and other expressions of contentment. And make no mistake, the reward far outweighs the inconvenience or worry or panic that preceded it. It's just one more of God's gifts to us; for He wants us to love and cherish and care for these little ones that He has loved into being. The Father wants us to be like Him, to love as He loves. He wants us to love with His perfect love. What a lesson this is for our world, a world so self-absorbed that it would destroy babies by the millions rather than suffer a moment's inconvenience.
Another of God's gifts that accompanies the arrival of a new baby is a lesson in humility. This is especially true of first-time parents. Quite suddenly this new little person becomes the centerpiece of the household, pushing all other considerations aside. The new parent -- and I believe this applies particularly to fathers -- is quickly cured of any pretence of self-importance and discovers that his family's well-being takes precedence over everything else. For the unprepared father, this revelation can be a humbling and unexpected shock. I really believe it's more shocking and more humbling today because many couples marry and have children later in life. Dear Diane had her fourth child on her thirty-first birthday, but none of our children had even their first child before the age of thirty. Times have certainly changed.
The weather here on Nantucket is a bit dreary this morning, but the professional weather-guessers promise us a sunny afternoon with temperatures in the almost tolerable mid-sixties. We have decided, therefore, to take little Alana on an outing for which I must now prepare.