My children are blessed to live in a community of artists. My friends and relations showered them with homemade treasures of all sorts–afghans, hats, quilts.
Kirsten Beachy wrote a sonnet for Silas. I love how she worked in all these things I told her about Silas, everything I knew about him at only a few days old. His prenatal nickname was “Baby Beluga” (still one of his favorite songs), and when he was born, he really did seem like a sea creature. I once described the moment of his birth as feeling like a squid was coming out of me, not a baby–all arms and legs and tentacles. As an infant, he always seemed to be peering at the light, blinking the salt water out of his eyes.
We read it at his baby dedication. People still remark on it, because it was so lovely and unusual.
A small beluga in your private sea,
you splashed and floundered, growing long, before
you found the passage that would break you free;
the surging waves have brought you to our shore.
Some land-locked infants curl up like dough,
but you’re an octopus with spreading arms.
Your eyes are clamped as tight as clams, although
your hands unfurl like sea stars, beached and warm.
Lyra ignores you–you’ve no cat appeal–
but Ender, long-nosed, can’t be kept away.
The crafty canine licks your sea-salt heel.
We’d like to taste you too, Catch of the Day.
Dear urchin, in your newness you beguile us;
the tides flow by unnoticed; we watch Silas.
JoEtta Deaton, a longtime friend and mentor, brought us another piece of water-themed art for him.
The text is from Psalm 104:
O Lord, how many are your works
In wisdom you made them all
The earth is full of your creatures
There is the sea great and small.
There’s also a funny detail in here–when she got my text about Silas’ birth, she read it without her glasses, and so she thought he was 8 pounds, 15 ounces (!). She said something to her husband about what a surprisingly big baby I’d had, and he pointed out that she had misread it. When she gave me this, I looked at it and laughed–she had listed the birth weight as it was in her head…thus the asterisk.
I treasure all of these gifts like fairy blessings on his birth. I value the gifts of people’s hands, time, and love more deeply than I can begin to express.