The Same But Different
My firstborn daughter was born on April 27 at 6:44pm after a sixteen hour saga of excitement, pain, and brief relief. She is one month old and life is different now, although the elements of our lives remain mostly the same.
Lucy Maebh (pronounced May-ve) is an addition that shows the sum really is greater than its parts. She exists. What did she do to deserve that? Why does she get to hear the birds outside her window where the light comes in? Why, in the midst of a pandemic and uncertainty, should she be cradled until comfort overwhelms her?
Being alive at all is a miracle, but she doesn’t even know what grass feels like yet. Or how a tree moves against the sky. I can barely believe she’s alive, much less that I might get to hold her hand and tell her stories. Lucy’s arrival has also prompted me to consider how extraordinary a feat it is to grow up and become a reasonably independent adult. How can I begrudge dirty diapers and, just, utter impudence when the only reason I’m in a position to care for this person is because I was once fully dependent upon my own parents? They lived for me that I might live, and one day live for another — my child or otherwise.
I hope that doesn’t seem too sentimental, because it’s the truth. Every person alive making seemingly sovereign choices and glorying in their independence and individuality does so thanks to others who put those good things aside for a time. None of this means I’m not sleep-deprived, wondering how to continue publishing Good Words, or asking questions about how to balance work with our new life. Things are hard, and they are good. Lucy is a burden, and she is a wonder. These things are true at the same time. One thing I’m sure of is that she is not extraneous to my life. I do not want to squirrel her away into a manageable corner to make room for my life, quite the opposite. Lucy’s arrival has cast my own desires and endeavours in a new light. Both my wife and I are highly motivated people and we are constant fixing general and specific goals for ourselves: Publish here, start that project, run this event — love mercy and do as much justice along the way as possible! But now, my goals are not only my own. What was once “my time” to dispose of how I pleased is now intimately bound up in a life far from independence, and in need of much more than food and shelter.
I continue to believe that writing about faith and technology and being alive is valuable, and I want to continue growing as I engage with ideas and thinkers beyond my competence. It wouldn’t surprise me if having a fresh human around might lead to some changes in perspective. I’m prepared to complicate my views on tools and theology, their means and their ends. Right now I’m divining the line between selflessness and selfishness. Are the prayers I recite at night for Lucy, or for me? Similarly, who benefits from my social media picture embargo? There will doubtlessly be other new-dad Good Words entries but you can count on my familiar cautious optimism — and hopefully a renewed sense of childlike wonder.
Earlier I mentioned that Lucy’s life is not extraneous. It’s extravagant. There’s a Lucy-shaped planet growing in the midst of us, and we will never escape her gravity; we cannot dream of the effect she’ll have. Her life will have its difficulties, but it will always be a miracle.
Introducing Lucy Maebh Civico Bran 💙
Because I know what the people want.
The birth of Lucy has redoubled my thankfulness for everyone who subscribes and supports Good Words. It also has me thinking about how I can maximize my time with her after my paternity leave! If you've ever thought about starting a paid subscription, now would be a great time. You can also buy me a beer.