A few weeks ago, I was doing a seminar in a large Midwestern town. At the end of lunch, just before starting the afternoon session, I noticed a young lady sitting on the back row. She was very pregnant. I mean VERY pregnant.
Men, let me teach you something here.
About ten years ago, I was introduced to another young lady. I happened to notice that she had that special “swelling” that signifies pregnancy. So I asked her what her due date was.
She said in a clipped, angry voice that she was NOT PREGNANT!!!! As I was standing there with my foot in my mouth, she turned and stormed away.
So men, NEVER ask them when they’re due. Unless you actually see their water break—don’t ask!!!
Back to the story . . .
I quickly sat down in the chair next to her. I asked her how she was enjoying the conference, and then asked her with a little smile on my face if there were any interesting “events” happening in her life in the near future.
She gave me a big smile and told me that she was giving birth in about three weeks. She was glowing when she told me this.
She then told me that this was her first child and that she and her husband had chosen not to find out which gender it was. They wanted it to be a surprise.
We had another couple of minutes before the program started so I told her what I tell all young folks who are approaching the birth of their first child.
My son Joe was born at 10:32 p.m. on December 12, 1980. It was a cold night in Charlotte, NC. I can literally tell you that nothing has ever changed my life like that before. It was one of the five best days of my life.
Leigh had been in labor since about 5:00 a.m. that morning. It had been a very long day for her. She had wanted to do natural childbirth, so we had gone to Lamaze classes for several months. When the heavy contractions came, I remember Leigh holding on to the rails of the bed. I was afraid that she was going to rip them off! She had sort of an “Incredible Hulk” kind of look on her face.
When a particularly strong contraction began to subside, she grabbed me by the collar, pulled me right up to her face and screamed, “GET ME AN EPIDURAL!!!!!!!!”
Her Lamaze lessons were apparently not paying off that day!
Anyway, when it was time for Joe to be born, the nurses wheeled Leigh’s bed into the delivery room and the doctor came in. They dimmed the lights, and turned the music up. Bing Crosby was singing, “White Christmas,” as Joe finally started to crown.
The nurse quickly wiped him down, wrapped him in a blanket, put a little toboggan on him, and handed him to me.
I’m not embarrassed to tell you the next part. As I was watching my son being born, and as they laid him in my arms, I was balling. As a matter of fact, I was weeping with so much joy that two of the nurses in the room started crying too! We all had masks on, and we were wiping the tears away with our sleeves. We were laughing and crying at the same time!
As I looked down at my son for the very first time, I experienced something that I’ve experienced only three times in my life—with the births of each of my sons. (Tears are flowing as I write this…)
Here was the thought—
“I would gladly give my life up for this child right now… If it was between him and me, I’d take the bullet, no questions asked.”
It was a feeling of complete and absolute love from the very first moment I laid eyes on him. It was one of the most powerful and wonderful feelings I’ve ever had the opportunity to experience.
In no other relationship in your life will you ever experience this sort of immediate love.
You didn’t love your parents that way—you were a baby when you first met them and didn’t know what love was. You didn’t love your spouse that way in the beginning. You may have been attracted to them, but you wouldn’t give you life because you didn’t love him or her that way.
The birth of a child is the only place where you get to “feel” that emotion.
So I described to the young lady what I’d felt. I knew what she was getting ready to experience. As I told her the story I could see her imagining what it would feel like when she would first be able to wrap her arms around her little one.
As I look back, I remember that feeling of pure joy.
What a Gift!
I thank God for it every day . . .
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