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I’ve been following 5th grade teacher Will Piper’s blog, “Life with the Pipers.” Co-written with his wife, Jeni, they describe it as “the journey of parents of monoamniotic twins and our quest to bring our family home.”
I selectively show it to my son, Will and Jeni’s former student, John. Last week’s bedtime reading was Will’s post, “Delusions of Grandeur.” In it, Will compares his visions of bringing daughter Hope home by Father’s Day to the anxious fans waiting for the Brewers’ decision last year to bring up Ryan Braun at the right time.
Bedtime reading and Will and Jeni’s reflections on their experiences as new parents got me thinking about one of my favorite books, “On the Day You Were Born,” by Debra Frasier.
In poetic language, illustrated with colorful paper collages, Frasier describes an entire planet completely present to the arrival of the newborn.
While you waited in darkness,/tiny knees curled to chin,/ the Earth and her creatures/ with the Sun and the Moon/ all moved in their places,/ each ready to greet you/ the very first moment/ of the very first day you arrived.
The book describes the gifts of migrating animals, spinning earth, pulling gravity, flaming sun, glowing moon, glittering star, rising tide, falling rain, growing trees, rushing air, and singing people for the arriving child. Here’s my favorite:
On the day you were born/ gravity’s strong pull/held you to the Earth/with a promise that you/would never float away . . .
I loved reading that line to each of my children, hoping they’d feel that even the earth loved them so much that gravity held them with a promise that they’d never float away.
The story wraps up with images of people, turning cartwheels, singing:
“Welcome to the spinning world,” the people sang, as they washed your new, tiny hands.
“Welcome to the green Earth,” the people sang, as they wrapped your wet slippery body.
The welcome continues for Will and Jeni’s girls. And now we can all join the “singing people” in Frasier’s book, as Hope is ready to come home tonight. And we can consider the closing line of the story, and all tell Hope:
. . . as they held you close they whispered into your open, curving ear, “We are so glad you’ve come!”