letting my baby go

this christmas, my well-meaning two-year-old nephew who adores “baby aiden” fell flat on top of him.

it was an accidental fall. he’d been wiggling on a seat.

i’d been changing aiden on the floor. turned away briefly, rooting for diaper cream. it was then that it happened. for a second, aiden didn’t even scream. my nephew’s small body was splayed flat. no more baby. then, i heard it–a desperate, ripping cry begging for seven-weeks of life… and all i knew was, i needed to save my little boy.

i didn’t even see my nephew anymore, just the place where aiden should have been. i pushed my nephew off, grabbed my purple-faced boy close, wishing somehow i could tuck him inside my heart for safe-keeping… aiden was rigid with terror: shocked, from 26 pounds of life squashing him. even as i tried to nurse him, to feed warmth back inside him, it took minutes for him to stop crying, to crumple against me.

(yet, would i crumple that fast? so quick to trust again… to receive comfort) it was then that i wept. my own desperate tears, wanting to save him from all of the falls, all of the hurts, all of the potential deaths this world poses…

but i cannot. and for this, i weep. i have never loved so intimately, so wholly… i have never before felt this extension of self. this need to shove aside all possible hurts in order to save. i would die for my son, i know that. no question. but to offer him to the world, as a sacrifice? i don’t know if i can do that.

but this is what the heavens ask: to love my child, all that i can, and trust God with the rest. to say ‘no’ to me and ‘yes’ to whatever might be.

my mission each day: to offer back the child who gazes, adoring, at me. to let him crawl away into the arms of a heavenly father who knows all… and has the power to save.



  1. January 5, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Surely here you have captured the heart of the gospel, and the heart of trust in a Sovreign, loving God. This sucked the life right out of me, Emily. And yet again, it breathed it right back in. You have been given the gift of a poetic and philosopihical heart that can see visions of beauty and truth and raw anguish of this mystery we call life, and paint it in words that all can read, and “see” and treasure. Thank you.

  2. Teneale said,

    January 5, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    I get this. I truly understand this. This is me speaking…just more elequently. I would too willingly fling myself in the way of harm, or even death, to save my child. It is a constant battle to give him over to God, but how can we truly live not doing this? If I didn’t do this, I would be holding Logan every second of the day, breathing down his neck, living in fear, and thus, stunting both his growth and mine. And so, I daily give Logan over to my very loving father in heaven and trust that he can protect better than I can. But it is a struggle not to grab my baby, and hold him close, especially now that he is walking and gets into everything, and even runs away from me in public places. A little more fear in him might be a good thing…

  3. Linda said,

    January 6, 2010 at 2:55 am

    We mothers will, I’m afraid, struggle with this all of our (and their) lives. I look at my sons – grown men now with children of their own – and my grown daughter and know absolutely that I would die for them. i still hurt when they hurt and wish with all my heart I could spare them from sorrow and pain. Yet I know, as you know Emily, that the very best place for them is in the Father’s hands. And so we pray daily that He will bless, protect and work His perfect will in their lives.
    You are so precious.

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