Late last night, one of my dearest friends gave birth to her second son. His name is Rider Jackson. He was born on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and also he shares his birthday with Benjamin Franklin. I'd say this little guy is in good company. And since both his parents not only possess gigantic hearts, but also Mensa-worthy brains, he'll no doubt earn his own honors.
My friend called me this morning to tell me about Rider's entrance into this world and I was absolutely floored by the sound of her voice. There was a lilt to it and a certain beauty and delirious happiness that is not at all of this world. I've only heard that one other time, and that's when a different friend gave birth to her first child. I have no personal reference whatsoever to birthing a baby but I do know this much -- it brings a definite difference to the voice. Who knows, maybe it's the "What was I thinking?" exhaustion.
I'm proud of my friend. I've known her for years now and she's always been a brave girl, graduating college and moving away from the home she knew well to a part of the country she didn't know at all because she thought the guy was worth following (wise decision, he's the father of the children, her partner in this joyful but daunting trek through parenthood). And in this strange city she found a job and earned her Masters degree, and met me. Lucky me! And then several years ago, her courage kicked in again and she again left everything she knew and moved to New Jersey because it was time to start thinking about starting a family and she knows that Grandparents will not let you live it down if it requires airplane trips and holidays for them to see their grandchildren. Grandparents also make great babysitters when you need some time to yourself. My friend is no fool.
Welcome to the world, Rider. As I post this, you are only about 13 hours old. Hours old. Odd to think about. I cannot wait to meet you. Apparently your older brother cannot wait to meet you as well. Your Mom told me that he built a bear for you last week. Your first! Though books and reading are a bit in the future for you, you'll no doubt meet another bear, Winnie the Pooh, along your way through this world. A.A. Milne wrote the Winnie the Pooh books and today is his birthday -- again, you really are in good company. Milne said, "Wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest a little boy and his Bear will always be playing."
Rider, may your world be enchanting, and may you always have that special bear friend to play with.