The summer of 2001 was a wondrous time for me and my family. I think my memories are colored by the horror of September 11, which makes that stretch of time, full of new music and laughter and beautiful days and pleasant nights and even a great place to work and live and a church family that celebrated all the joys, all the more precious.
For all that there was so much else to celebrate that summer, nothing compares to the afternoon of June 7. It was cool and drizzly most of the day, but by four o'clock in the afternoon the sun broke through the clouds. I remember it so clearly because about twenty minutes later, the sunk kissed Miriam's face for the very first time. Even before she had emerged fully, she had her first experience of the light and warmth of the sun on her face. Then the doctor set her tiny body on the towel. She looked so fragile, yet she cried with a joy and power her tiny size belied. The doctor tied off the cord and invited me to cut it. She was whisked away to the warming table so the nurse could clean her and check her on the Apgar scale. After a few minutes a clean, rosy-cheeked child was handed to Lisa, who was still crying. Lisa lay in bed and I stood beside her. Miriam, her eyes open but not really seeing much more than light, seemed to look around her, taking in this whole new experience called the world.
Less than half an hour after entering the world, Miriam showed what a quick learner she was as Lisa nursed her. With just a little prodding, Miriam got the hang of it, and lay there, enjoying her first meal as the sun, still slanting in the windows, lit her face.
The world in which Miriam was born was troubled; it has become even more so, something that keeps me awake sometimes, wondering what kind of world it might be in to which she will grow. As a father, my fervent prayer is it will be one that is far better than that with which we currently live. Part of me knows it will be; part of me fears it will not, perhaps, can not, be. Whatever the case may be, today is not a day for worry or fear as we celebrate Miriam's eleventh birthday.