Since last July, and the advent of Joel Edward, my life has become a series of stages.
There was the newborn stage: small parasitic and often colicky. Not my personal favorite.
Then, the waiting for the other shoe to drop stage: despite the clear assurances of every medical person we encountered that Joel was healthy and normal and fine, I still feared that his hospitalization was but a harbinger of things to come.
Joel's present stage--smiley and delightful--is a wonderful place to be. I am drunk on this child. I'll hold him and sniff his fluffy blonde head, kiss his rounded cheek, run my finger over a dimpled elbow.
It's tedious to explain to others, but it remains a fact: When I hold this amazing little boy, I feel nothing less than pure joy.
Joel is an equation. When tackling a mess of numbers, there is so much to determine---the problem, the possible solutions, the required formulas and steps. Once the mathematician knows how to tackle the equation, disorder becomes structure, and the mess becomes an elegant, correct answer.
Perhaps because those early days were such a hazy mess of worry and questions, of interrupted sleep and a recovering bodies, I take joy in the solution we've found. Certainly, new challenges will present themselves, but for the moment, I know what I am doing, and I feel like we're all coming into our own as a family.
To do a completely different metaphor, we've survived the winter of infancy, and now Joel, Paul, Owen and I can enjoy the bright sun, the blooming flowers, the blessed assurance that new life is in bloom, and it is thriving.