When your sister is expecting a baby, she asks you to come and see her. It's the day after you get home from Africa and your eyes are tired and your mind is mushy with jet leg, but you've missed her dearly so you go to her house. She hands you a gift bag, which she says is your "welcome home" present, and she and her husband sit on their couch staring at you, waiting for you to open it. You do. It's a baby onesie that says I love my aunt, so of course you promptly burst into tears.
When your sister is expecting a baby, she sends you the ultrasound. You stare at the slope of his already defined nose, and the purse of his already puckered lips, and his head -- his beautiful head, and you think I can't believe I'm in love with someone I've never even met before. But you are. You're head over heels and he doesn't even know you exist.
When your sister is expecting a baby, you think of all the ways life is changing. You think about how next year at this time he'll be a few months old, and in October he'll be crawling, and at Christmas he'll almost be one! You wonder what colour his eyes will be, and if he'll have hair, and secretly hope he'll grow up to be a writer.
When your sister is expecting a baby, you write him love notes. You start with Dear baby nephew, you are already so desperately loved by me, people might think I'm pitiful. You make a vow to overlove and 0vervalue him all the days of your life. You go to the book store and read children's books that make you cry because he's growing up so fast -- and he hasn't even left the womb yet.
When your sister is expecting a baby, you buy him every tiny shirt and pants that you see at Old Navy. The baby part of the store is like a gravitational pull -- you can't say no even if you try. So you find miniature moccasins, and Roots sweatpants and then you buy yourself ones in adult size to match.
When your sister is expecting a baby, she texts you and says she's having contractions, and you can't do much of anything because he's coming (!!). You watch an episode of Grey's Anatomy to take your mind off what's happening a city away, but you can't stop thinking of your sister. This anticipation is far better than even Christmas. You wonder and pray and keep wondering and praying.
And hours later your phone rings.
And your sister tells you Noah Justice has arrived.
When your sister has a baby, you go to the hospital to see them. You see his face -- everything pronounced and tiny and beautiful. His eyes are wide and deep blue and staring up at you. You think how can I possibly feel this much love? Your capacity to love someone grows astronomically. You'll never love the same after this. Time goes fast and slow all at once. He stares at your sister and her husband, pure love radiating from his tiny body. You hold him and whisper promises into his downy hair, telling him how strong his momma is, and what a brave daddy he has.
When your sister has a baby, you start to understand God's love a fraction more. You think -- if God loves me half as much as I love this baby, he must love me very much --
...and yet you know deep inside he loves you infinitely more.