Sep 2, 2016

Our Babies Say "Yes"

By Anna Ilona Mussmann


It’s one thing to look at pictures of the Grand Canyon, and another to stand on the edge of the real thing. It’s one thing to hold someone else’s baby, and another to look into the face of your own.

Having a baby is so big--so weird, so crazy, so overwhelming--that it takes a few years to get used to it. Perhaps it would be different if we lived in a place where every girl walks around with a younger sibling or a baby cousin on her hip, but even an upbringing as the eldest of five didn’t really take the edge off my own new baby experience.

On the day we brought our newborn son home, though, I would not have said that I felt overwhelmed. I was just exhausted from a long labor. I was busy taking photos. Perhaps there would have been more room for me to think about the bigness of what had just happened if everyone who saw my pregnant belly over the last few months hadn’t already said things like, “Your life will never be the same again!” Or perhaps, like an accident victim who doesn’t feel pain immediately after losing an arm, I was in shock.

I wasn’t overwhelmed, but I was consumed. Everything about the baby seemed big. Of course I knew that babies grow quickly and go through stages. I had seen the photos of the Grand Canyon. Yet each stage in my own infant’s life felt huge--it was now, not just something that would come and go. He wouldn’t sleep in his own bed; and that was now, everything, always, the biggest thing in the room. He was crying; and that was now, everything, always, the biggest thing in the car. New parents don’t have perspective. How could I? I was living in an enormous, new now. I am grateful to those who were kind when I twitched and fretted.

The delightful things were big too. I look back at the photographs I took of my son holding a toy, and remember how amazed and impressed I was in that moment--my son was growing up! He could grasp a stuffed fox in his little fists! He was amazing! The moment must be documented and sent to all of his relatives! I am grateful to those who were kind to me when I seemed to think my child a marvel of life. After all, he was. And is.

Martin Luther said, “Why do you not daily learn the article of divine creation by looking at your children and offspring, who stand before you? They are of far greater worth than all the fruits of the trees.  Here you may behold the providence of God, who created them out of nothing. In a half year He gave them body and life and all their members and also intends to support them.”

The words are a tremendous reminder of something we, as new parents busily researching the best way to do X or ward off Y, can easily forget. The bigness of parenting shouldn’t blind us to the magnificence of babies and therefore of God.

G.K. Chesterton argues, “[T]he humorous look of children is perhaps the most endearing of all the bonds that hold the Cosmos together. Their top-heavy dignity is more touching than any humility; their solemnity gives us more hope for all things than a thousand carnivals of optimism; their large and lustrous eyes seem to hold all the stars in their astonishment; their fascinating absence of nose seems to give to us the most perfect hint of the humour that awaits us in the kingdom of heaven.”

Our children show us how incredible the human creatures that God has created are. How funny, how marvelous, how sinful, how full of potential, how valuable.

They are worth everything because God created them, redeemed them, and loves them. We get a glimpse of the breathtaking nature of human life when we look at our own children. We live in a time in which mainstream culture struggles to answer the question, “What makes a life valuable?” Does a person have a right to live if they are unwanted? Insane? Old? In chronic pain? Terminally ill? Afflicted with Zika? Should a woman feel valuable if she is fat and unattractive? Is a man worth as much if he is a jerk or a racist?

Our babies say, “Yes.”

Human life is worth the death of God Himself. It is far bigger, and far grander, than even the most famous of landmarks. The Grand Canyon can remind us of the magnificence of God’s handiwork, but it has nothing on babies.

My children have changed me in many ways. I am more confident, more emotional, better at playing with children, worse at remembering things, less likely to wear earrings. As I continue to contemplate their marvelous lives, I am learning so much more. I am getting a glimpse of what it means to be human.


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After graduating from Concordia Wisconsin, Anna taught in Lutheran schools for several years and became so enthusiastic about Classical Education that she will talk about it to whomever will listen. She is a big fan of Jane Austen, dark chocolate, and the Oxford comma. Anna and her husband live in Pennsylvania with their two small children. Anna's work can also be found in The Federalist.

3 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Jody! I appreciate the kind words.

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  2. I'm reading this again, while nursing my little one, and encouraged by the reminder of our great God, His gracious work, and His love. I'm not a brand-new mother, yet lack perspective and forget too often such things. How sweet and beautiful it is to behold His goodness everyday, both when it is easy and fun and when it's hard and an endurance race, as we minister to our children, husbands, and world around us!

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