A Real Bundle of Joy

Little Birdie (LB) is only seven months old and already she’s been to two funerals but I’m so glad she was there.  That might seem a strange statement to make, but in amongst all the struggles we’ve had with bubby’s reflux, her unsettled nature and her sleep problems, some of her brightest moments have been at our saddest.

When my grandmother fell and broke her hip at 90 years old, LB was only a week old. Grandma’s last weeks were filled with pain, but a trip to visit her in the retirement home was one of the few trips out I could manage with a newborn. As a former nurse, Grandma didn’t mind at all if I sat in the corner and fed the baby while I was talking to her. Meanwhile, the incongruous sound of a crying newborn in the halls of the home brought curious stares and smiles from the other elderly residents. Grandma was in so much pain, yet she enjoyed seeing LB so much. It made me feel so good to be able to bring her a small joy in her last days.

Likewise, the death of my dear friend’s husband brought us all to our knees a month ago. My heart was breaking so much for her and after the funeral it was a struggle to know what to say. However, I knew I just wanted to give her the biggest possible hug and not let go. I waited for the moment and as I hugged my friend, I honestly didn’t know if I could let go, but I didn’t need to worry. As I wrapped my arms around her, my friend looked over my shoulder and saw LB and a smile spread across her face. Even in that terrible moment, LB was able to bring a few seconds of joy in the darkest of spaces.

We had another sad day today as we went to visit my uncle, who has terminal cancer. As we drove out to the country town where he lives, I told my husband I wasn’t going to dwell on what we were about to encounter but, again, I need not have worried. It was shocking to see my uncle’s gaunt figure as we arrived. However, it was a pleasant morning as we sat in the lounge room drinking tea and watching LB play on the mat in the middle. We even managed to get a few happy snaps before we left. I’m sure we will treasure those couple of photos in years to come. However, LB really came into her own as we were leaving. She really seemed to take to my aunt during the visit and my aunt picked her up for a little cuddle just as we were leaving. Uncharacteristically, LB was quite relaxed and decided to start kissing my aunty on the nose. For a woman who is having a really tough time at the moment caring for her ailing husband, it was a delightful moment and it was certainly a precious moment for me to watch.

As I’ve struggled through a difficult seven months as a new mother, there have been times when I’ve wondered (as much as I adore my daughter) whether things would ever improve. I’ve truly been pushed to the edge this year but days like today remind me that I’ve been blessed with a real bundle of joy.

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