She’s not yet old enough to smile on purpose. It will be weeks before she can laugh because something is funny. Rita is still too young to do any of these things with meaning. So how is it that she does them all the time?
When she’s awake, the baby looks around at the world with a serious frown as she attempts to figure it all out. But when she sleeps, she grins. Her tiny face beams with happiness. We thought it was just a baby thing until she started laughing.
Her eyes have barely closed before she starts to smile. It’s not long after that the giggling begins. She giggles, chuckles, and once laughed until she snorted herself awake. All it takes to bring on the happiness is for her to be curled up and sleeping in the arms of someone who loves her. She never laughs when she’s in bed or napping in her car seat, which is fine because she rarely has the opportunity to sleep in either of those places.
As long as someone in the house is awake, the baby is being held.
Our grandmothers used to warn us about spoiling babies. They told us that a held baby won’t sleep in her bed and that we would never sleep. What they didn’t tell us was the effect it would have on her. She glows with the love of her siblings. She overflows with the joy of being loved. At barely a week old, she is so filled with contentment, peace and love that she laughs in her sleep. The joy has become an involuntary reflex; it’s just a part of her. It has become her natural state of being. Joy.
It is the new yard stick by which I measure my children’s lives. Are they so well loved that it bubbles up out of them? When the cares of the day fade away and they relax into sleep, is laughter what they are left with? Because that’s what love is…..love is happiness; it is joy. When all the rest falls away, let them be left with love and let them be left with joy. I hope they laugh.
photo credit: by Desiree Chapman Photography
Baby by us and God
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