Ever have one of those days where an unexpected blessing just about knocks you over with wonder at the concept of timing? Yesterday was exactly that kind of day. I was in NYC when one of my dearest friends texted to tell me she was about to give birth to her second child. She asked me to stop by the hospital. As if she even had to ask! Knowing how badly my friend wanted to bring children into this world, I was elated to know I would get to meet the latest addition to her family in the very first hours of her life. I hoofed it up the west side of Manhattan as fast as my Nikes would move me. And when I arrived, I was just overcome by how the day had changed.
See, I was scheduled to be on call later that night for the rape crisis center, and once again, I felt a little jittery, ready to get my first case out of the way to squash my nerves. It had been in the back of my mind all week. But suddenly, there I was Saturday afternoon, holding this snuggly, sweet cherub while she burrowed deeper and deeper into the curve of my neck. And I couldn’t help but think about the contrast in how the day might end and how I could possibly see the span of the best and worst of life. Holding that baby girl, I felt FIERCELY protective of her, knowing what I know about the world and what awaits women on so many levels, and fearing what I’d see later that day between the hours of 8pm to 8am. How could I not?
As I mentioned awhile back, for several years now, I have sponsored a little girl in the Congo, a country that is ground zero for rape. I get a new picture of her every year and post it on my fridge along with photos of my friends’ babies, most of them girls. And very close by to the fridge hangs the placard below – something I have read almost every day since I was able to read. I don’t know what it is about the poem that I like so much. But it’s what I think of when I think of baby girls even if the world turns it into a false promise, or worse, a lie. For this moment in time, and for my friend’s beautiful gift, I offer it up here.