Monday, December 24, 2007

This Christmas Present

By Judy Staber

That's what it's all about, isn't it?
Christmas, I mean. life?
Epiphanies of wonder and simplicity.
Those moments when words aren't enough,
When tears rush together with laughter,
Bubbling up through your own wellspring
At the bringing of new life.
New joy.
This wonderful baby boy.

We'll soon forget the hours she labored;
The hours she pushed to deliver him;
The dreary,
yet brightly-lit waiting room,
Where her sister and I sat,
With a pay phone that took only nickels,
A soda machine like a monolith,
And no place to hang your coat.

And that hot, stuffy labor room,
where my baby
Tried for so long to have her baby,
hanging on to her Ed
Under the watchful eyes of a stream of kindly,
but ever shift-changing nurses.
And the doctor, too long on his feet, saying, exhausted,
"I'm going to have to perform a Caesarean."

I saw him just ten minutes later,
Full of unaccustomed grand-maternal-ness,
My eyes clear, my heart full,
marveling at
This Christmas present.
Such a perfect little person sprung
From his mother's womb so complete:
With ten expressive fingers and ten tiny toes
Curling with anticipation of life.

He came out of his womb-room, tranquil and serene,
Almost smiling.
Eyes watchful,
penis erect,
ears shell-like against his downy head.

Under clinical scrutiny, they squeezed his scrotum,
Scratched his soles,
looked up his nose and down his throat.
But he didn't yell, not my grandson,
no, he just
Twice they had to clean him up.
And when they had done, they said,
that on the test scale,
Out of a possible ten,
he was a nine point nine.

Well, of course he is,
and they probably missed
that other tenth.
Because they're not perfect
like he is.
Welcome to the world, Daniel!

Judy Staber, retired after 28 years in arts administration, now spends her time writing. She also runs the gallery at The Old Chatham Country Store with changing local artists every month. Judy is awaiting her final eye surgery in the new year. Happy New Year to all you writers and keep writing, there are readers out there still. Daniel, now 17, is just as perfect as he was the day he was born in 1990!

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