Her name is Grace and her arrival breathed new life into an existence and a homestead that had become sad and weary. My brother’s baby. His daughter. How strange that sounds, to think that the boy I built the treehouse with is now a father.
Her birth brought more joy that I could ever have imagined. I am not the most maternal of girls. I was loathe to become one of those who cooed over every little movement, but even I could quickly appreciate the magic her very presence brought to us all.
She is unaware of this, of course. She may never comprehend the difference she made at a time when we needed to be reminded that life is indeed beautiful. She arrived just over twelve years after my dad died and about 18 months after I was given a diagnosis that would change all our lives.
The years had been difficult, not in an overt, obvious way, but in a creeping and slow erosion of the spirit that once filled our home. The silence that descended in the days after the funeral mourners had left, settled and hung there as a reminder of what was now gone forever. Who was gone forever. Junior and Leaving Cert results, Debs balls, Christmas dinners, college days and graduations all muted slightly, somehow hushed – not on purpose, but by default of grief.
The revelation of the pregnancy brought the first glimpse of life again. The birth completed the process. There she was, the first baby in our family since the country was last in recession and I made my entrance in the eighties.
She is now the centre of the world, as she should be. All smiles and stumbles as she gets to know herself and figures out gravity and the placing of one foot in front of the other.
Whatever she grows up to be, she has already performed a miracle. She brought happiness again, fresh and pure and hopeful.
Grace is almost two now. You may ask why I choose to mention and write of her today?
Because last night, while she was sleeping, she became a big sister.
Welcome Baby Beth.