Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Not much inspires me or bewilders me anymore.
I guess I'm turning into one of those crotchety old women who feels like they've done it all. Which is quite comical in that I have hardly done anything.

Newborn Bobby grasping Mommy's hand

Then a year ago this week, our first grandson was born. He was about a month premature and caused quite a ruckus. His mother was hospitalized a few weeks prior to his birth for pre-eclampsia which I thought was no big deal until her high risk obstetrician answered my question of "what's the worst thing that can happen with this condition?" with the reply, "she could die."
OK then.

She persevered. He was born. He was put in neonatal jail for two weeks. He then came home to our house.

Did you read that? Home to OUR HOUSE. I'll come back to that in a minute.

  • My daughter, Andrea, did not plan to become a mother yet. 
  • She had just begun an intense internship for her Master's program in Mental Health Counseling. 
  • Our relationship had been a bit strained the previous year. 
  • She was living in our house with us to save money during her internship. 
  • And her sister was getting married in 2 months.
No, this pregnancy was not planned but it proceeded as pregnancies do and we were all sucked into the process. Thanks to or some such graphically informative website, Andrea kept us all up-to-date on baby's progress. The baby is the size of a lima bean. It's the size of a lemon. It's the size of a peach. Funny how fetuses are described according to food. No one ever says, "It's the size of a prairie dog" or "He's almost the size of a Swingline stapler!". Even the food used to explain fetal sizes is bland. Why not, "He's as long as a California roll." or "Yep, I see her...she's now the size of a jalapeno"? So we got our weekly report and Andrea had her weekly meltdown. Do you know why a pregnant woman is overly emotional? It's because of all of the estrogen and progesterone produced in addition to anxiety she feels about becoming a mother. Andrea was a hormone factory and we all suffered for it. My husband will tell you I was the same way when pregnant with Jake, our fourth and sweetest luckily all of those ferocious feelings do not rub off on the baby.

I was invited into the delivery room along with Jourdan, Andrea's sister. We camped out for 30 hours of intense labor. Medically speaking, the labor itself was not always intense...but Andrea was. She was miserable. She hates needles and she hates being "inspected". It was all very painful and agonizing for her. Especially the anxiety over Bobby's health. I felt so sorry for her. But I would not trade a second of my life for that experience. You can well imagine the joy that accompanies the birth of your first grandchild and getting to cut the cord...but also witnessing a bonding between sisters, sharing a joke during actual childbirth that caused us to laugh until we cried, listening to the crazy delivery nurse sing in her opera voice...that baby was laughed into life. What a day. A long, long, day.

Now, a year later, the results are so inexpressible I am surprised I'm even trying to write about it.
Bewilderment #1:
God. Showed. Up.
I can tell you that there is no love like that of a grandparent for a grandchild, but you've heard that a thousand times by now. I can tell you that there's no love like that of a mother for her child...but that, too, is old news. What I can't tell you is how this happened. I went from total apprehension, worry, anxiety for Andrea, Bobby, their future and the future in our household, to a form of ridiculous obsession I like to call "momnoxiousness". 

He taught us a Holy grace, forgiveness, repaired relationships, and showed us Himself repeatedly through different events and through our amazing circle of friends (which makes me cry to face is unattractively contorting at this very moment). He held Bobby and Ange in his big strong hand and continues to do so this very day. 

Bewilderment #2:
I see the Lord in my daughter, as a mother and as a woman. It's amazes Andrea every day the depth of love she feels for this baby. Sometimes I would worry that he was replacing her Saviour as the Lord of her life. Then, slowly it dawned on me that Bobby reminded her of her need for Jesus and that she has totally re prioritized her goals. She is the best mother I have ever seen, including myself and I think I'm a pretty good mother. She lived at the hospital while he was in The Unit. She tirelessly trudged up to the nursery to feed and hold and stroke him because he wasn't allowed outside of his little cell. She has never, ever regretted her pregnancy or even spoken in a negative way regarding it and she had a difficult one. (she DID complain regularly about her "cankles" though.) 
I recently read a passage in Bob Goff's new book, Love Does where Donald Miller is describing Goff:

"(Bob Goff) loves people with a force that is natural, and by natural I mean like nature, like a waterfall or wind or waves on the ocean. He loves effortlessly, as though love packs annually in snow on a mountain, melting and rushing through him in an infinite loop. There's no explanation for a man who can love this well save God."

When I read this passage, I immediately thought of Andrea and the love she has for her son. The son that changed our family. Who brought absolute joy into our home. Who healed us with his mere existence. Who soothes me with his chubby hands on my face. Who stops whatever he's doing when I sing to him. Who grinds his new little teeth on anything and everything. Who "reads" by opening and shutting a book over and over again, Who lays his soft, fuzzy head on my shoulder for a second to let me know that at the moment, I'm his favorite. Who is loved beyond measure by his parents and all of the Burks and Pace clans. Who's gut laugh is gold and who's smile is priceless.


The only reason it will take a village to raise this child is
because everyone wants to be a part of his life.

Bobby and his silly personality...where did that come from?

Bewilderment #3: Yes, I'm bewildered that hosting an infant for six months was not hectic or in the least bit annoying. The day I walked upstairs and saw his crib taken apart before they moved into their own home, my heart lurched. It literally did a flip and landed in a sorry mess at the pit of my stomach. I like to imagine that the Gastrointestinal Crime Scene showed up and said, "Call Horatio, we'll need help with this one." He's my buddy of buddys. I don't know how long that will last because, at some point, I will not be nearly as cool as Granddaddy who has lots of fun things to do in his shop and can drive a boat and shoot a pistol, or lift a tank and throw a football like Uncle Jake, or sing thousands to their feet like Uncle Jeff and Aunt Jourge, or throw him to the moon (and catch him) like Uncle Buddy, or teach him to do flips like Aunt Bree, and he will soon tire of me trying to teach him to love literature...but until that happens, I will continue to read him important things by Dr. Suess , help him find Waldo, make him whatever he wants to eat, and squeeze his plump thighs and kiss him till he yells for mercy.

Happy birthday Baby Bobby and thanks for teaching all of us that God shows up as beans, lemons, and jalapenos.

Love, BB
"Oh a cowboy needs a horse, needs a horse, needs a horse.
And he's gotta have a rope, have a rope, have a rope.
And he oughta have a song, have a song, have a song...
If he wants to keep ridin'....
(our song)


  1. Oh my word. AMAZING post.
    ...and this is where I could not breathe for the beauty:

    "The son that changed our family. Who brought absolute joy into our home. Who healed us with his mere existence."

    1. startlingly similar to another Son we know...