Ancient History

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One year ago, at this very moment, I was not yet a mom of five. But very, very close. I was probably attempting to sleep. The lights in the room were low. The stereo was tuned to the classical music station. And Joel was nearing the gush of life into his newly unfurled lungs with every heartbeat on the monitor. I see now how close I was to seeing my new son. At the time, I thought it was endless.

My baby is one today. And here I am, not making a very good attempt to sleep because I know that I would simply churn the sheets around, crazed insomniac that I am. I cannot sleep because I have just finished an unbelievable year. A trip around the sun at 67,072 miles per hour to be exact. How fast we fly around the sun and how fast we fly through life. It has been that way with Joel this year.

What can I say about baby Joel? He is our fifth child. He is a gift from God. He can give real kisses. His eyes are brilliantly blue, his teeth are an odd arrangement of four on top, three on the bottom. He needs a haircut, his second! His universal word for food is “nana”. He loves his big sister and big brothers and glows when they are around him. He can already climb on chairs. When I hold him, he feels like he was fashioned to be in my arms, like puzzle pieces that click softly together. Or maybe my arms were built to cradle him? Either way, we were made for each other.

This poem makes me smile. The poet knows that each baby that comes into a family is a blessing, whether it is the first baby or the fifth. If anything, the fifth child is the most blessed–he has the love of not only mommy and daddy, but the older siblings too. He also has the benefit of a mommy that knows “babies don’t keep…”

Song for a Fifth Child

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth
empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
hang out the washing and butter the bread,
sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
but I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look, aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

By Ruth Hurlburt Hamilton

Joel, my fifth child, my beautiful baby…Happy Birthday!

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