She knew my voice

I wasn’t going to write this blog today. I had several topics that I’ve been wanting to write about that have been swirling around my brain for the last few days until I had a few minutes to write. But those will have to wait. While driving my 11 year old daughter to school today the song on the radio ended and the news came on. The man talking said that this story was his favorite of the day so we both listened instead of changing the channel. He told about how a dog found an infant that had been abandoned in the bushes of a park. The dog pulled the owner to the bushes and the baby was saved. Interestingly, the baby girl was named Jade, after the dog who saved her. (See links below for full story.) While my daughter thought it was a neat story I immediately choked up to the point of tears. I was barely able to tell her why it caused such a reaction without my voice breaking. I’m sure she thought I was slightly off as she exited the car for school. I sat for a few minutes after she left and tried to figure out why I had reacted that way. Even as I type this I’m not 100% certain that I’ll do my emotions justice as I try to express my thoughts.

My first reaction was one of anger toward the woman who basically threw her baby girl away, leaving her for dead in the bushes of a park. How dare she do that. Blah blah blah. Insert other self-righteous garbage and you get the point. Almost immediately that was changed to a feeling of complete sadness for what this mother (and father!) missed out on by dumping this little girl in the park. How hopeless and scared and terrified must she have felt to think that that was her only option? I cannot imagine that level of utter despair. As the father of six children I’ve been able to look forward to their births and lives with excitement. My wife and I, together, preparing for the arrival of each child. The anticipation of each new life. What would he or she look like? How would the siblings adjust? I doubt that Baby Jade’s parents shared such positive feelings. As I sat in the car my thoughts drifted to the birth of my daughter (who had just left for school) almost 12 years ago. She was our third baby and I had made a concerted effort to talk to and sing to her while she was in my wife’s belly. I had done that a little with the first two but not to the extent as I did with her. Sitting in the car, what I remembered was the first few moments after she was born. I got to cut her umbilical cord before the nurse brought her to my wife to snuggle. After a few mother and daughter moments I spoke a quiet greeting to her, saying something cheesy like, “Hello, baby, this is Daddy. I’m so glad you’re finally here. I love you!”. What I wasn’t prepared for was how she whipped her head toward my voice the moment she heard me. My baby knew my voice. She was moments old and she knew my voice. I’ve told that story to countless people over the years and I’m still blown away by it. Maybe that’s why I was moved to tears upon hearing about the baby that was thrown out like trash in a park. I feel sad that those parents won’t ever get to have that tender moment with their baby like I did.

As I thought about Baby Jade more during the day my condemnation of the parents’ actions (deplorable as they may be) really dissipated as I thought about what a complete miracle it was that someone was walking a dog through the park at that time; that the dog sensed there was something in the bushes and was able to communicate that to her person; and that Baby Jade was still alive and should be just fine after this ordeal. I know that I gave my four month old baby an extra long hug and kiss after I took her from her car seat this morning, remembering what an honor, privilege and blessing it is to be a parent.

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