Barely a week has passed since Sara Leah has entered
my life. It's hard to believe how in such a short period of time
my world could be so dramatically altered.
It's amazing how this tiny package -- less than
eight pounds of human being -- has made her presence felt throughout
my day and night. Every room in our house has been transformed to
accommodate her needs. The desk in the family room has become a
diaper changing station. Her crib, carriage, rocking seat and other
baby paraphernalia have become the dominant element in our home
decor. Hour after hour is taken up with holding her, soothing her,
changing her and, of course, the round-the-clock feedings.
The relationship is definitely a give-and-take
one. I give her my all, and she takes. She is still a few weeks
shy from smiling, cooing back or even gurgling happily. Most of
the time her eyes are shut tight, and hold little recognition when
they do open. Basically she sleeps, eats, cries and requires constant
But there is nothing that brings me greater contentment
than clutching my baby's five perfect tiny fingers, or stroking
her cottony soft cheeks, her head cradled against my shoulder.
Nor am I the only one in our family to feel this
way. All of my children have commented, each in his own way, how
much they love "their" baby. How cute, soft, perfect "their"
baby sister is -- despite the fact that she robs them of their mother's
time and attention.
Watching me rocking and singing to Sara Leah for
the umpteenth time after a particularly taxing day and grueling
night, my husband commented, "It's unbelievable what an outpouring
of love a parent shows to her child. Look at what you went through
because of her -- pregnancy, labor and then her non-stop crying
as you tend to her with a sore and recovering body; yet you still
hold her with such adoration."
But this is the love and bond every parent feels
towards her newborn. A love simply because she is mine, despite
her lack of giving anything back.
In fact, it's precisely because she can't give
anything in return that the connection is so strong.
As any parent, I love each of my children unconditionally.
But as each of them grows and our relationship deepens, the original,
pure, unconditional love is no longer as apparent. That bond becomes
subsumed within and sidetracked by all that my child gives back
to me: the nachas, the adorable smiles and hugs, the witty comments,
the affection and the friendship. The more my children grow and
mature, the more I no longer only love them, but also come to like
them -- as the unique and special personality that each one becomes.
My newborn Sara Leah, however, with her lack of
anything to give to me, exemplifies the depth of our simple connection.
A pure, intrinsic love deriving wholly from the fact that she is
There is only one thing I can think of that's akin
to this love. It is a love that mimics the deep and unconditional
love between G-d and us.
It's like the deep bond with G-d that the Chassidic
masters spoke of: the bond elicited by the simple, spiritually "uncharismatic"
individual, who unlike the spiritually developed, righteous tzaddik,
gives nothing in return.
Like a parent's love towards her newborn, this
strong outpouring of love from G-d to all of us is not due to our
merits, talents or strengths. It's not because of our spiritual
stamina, positive qualities or because of any "nachas"
we may give Him.
It is simply and only because we are His.