• shawnmariespry

Neshamela

Twenty four years ago, I held my first newborn baby in my arms. I had held babies before, sweet little second cousins born during my adolescence who were priming my mothering instinct.

Three generations of Page women, my Aunt Margaret holding granddaughter Megan, with daughter Mary in background. Circa 1984

Shawn growing out her classy 80s hair with the addition of each second cousin, here holding Deborah's daughter, Mary Zingler. 1985

The best newborn photo I have with cousin Jaime Miller is a bit out of focus...

...so here's a better one with Jaime some months later, Megan in the background

But it wasn’t until the birth of our firstborn that I understood maternal bliss . . .

[WARNING: sap alert]

June 9, 1995


Bailey June, words cannot express the utter, complete joy I have now. Nothing else could create the euphoria I have experienced knowing your presence in my life the past 72 hours. As we lie here in this hospital bed, I look down at you nuzzled in my arms and think how incredibly blessed I am to have been given this precious gift of life…you.


What a gorgeous creature—eyes of blue slate peeking out, perfectly shaped nostrils, finely formed lips kissing me smiles every so often. Your rounded cheeks are like those of a cherub descended from on high sprinkling ecstasy in our lives.


You have Daddy’s facial structure—full and round, healthy, with an adorable chin. And they say you have my delicate features—eyes, nose, ears and full, pouty lips. You are the most beautiful thing I have ever laid eyes on and now I’ve laid my heart into you, from within my womb to without—even at the price of great pain, you are mine Bailey June. You are God’s!


I penned this in a journal that I just found in basement storage, covered in dust. Reading my grandmother’s letters (written when she was a young mother) that my mother recently received (see "Precious Treasure") inspired me to reflect on my own early writings as a mother.


June 14, 1995


Today you will be one week new! The past seven days have flown by so quickly as I’m sure the rest of your life will. That is why today we have chosen to stay in bed and do nothing but sleep, eat and play. We both are very content to just rest after such a busy, energy-sapping week. It began last Tuesday, June 6…


Fast-forward 30 hours, skipping the play-by-play labor story:


Daddy was right next to me holding my hand as they cut into me and brought you out from deep inside my pelvis…you entered our world at 2:12 p.m. on June 7, 1995. I heard you scream and Daddy said, “It’s a girl!”


Even before they had you out of me I was in tears, just bawling for joy that you would soon be with us. After months of waiting patiently the anticipation fevered through me and I couldn’t stop crying with glee. It took a few minutes, but they finally brought you in to us, this little bundle wrapped tight in a blanket, white chalky skin, scrunched forehead, wrinkled fingers. Daddy held you and you grabbed my finger with your tiny hand. I was able to kiss and smell you. I wanted to hold you so badly but couldn’t. I wouldn’t hold you for another hour once I was in recovery. Daddy brought you in and I held you in my arms and put you to my breast.


I couldn’t get over how incredible the whole situation was—you in my arms finally. I kissed you and stroked your head.


Now I lay here in bed just gazing at you. It has been the most fulfilling week of my life. You are an angel God has sent down to grace our lives.


Your countenance is so peaceful as you breath so quiet and move your beautiful lips into sweet motions, smiling or just being. They are just too cute. I have never seen a more beautiful creature. I told Daddy that God took all the most beautiful things in this world and our lives, wrapped them up in a tiny human package and sent them to us in you—Bailey June.


From the moment I knew you existed you were the most precious thing in my life next to God and Daddy. And now that I can see you and touch you I know the meaning of maternal bliss.

I catch myself looking at you or just thinking about you and crying because I’m so overwhelmed with happiness.


God has blessed us beyond compare by giving you to us. I pray that he can know my immeasurable thanks by the love I impart to you and the way I show Him to you.


You are His, Bailey. I pray that once you are old enough to choose, He will be on the top of your list.


“All things work together for the good of those that love God, who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28


He knew you before you were conceived in my body. He will provide for you all the days of your life and beyond.


I hope you will understand the love and contentment of motherhood someday. Now I have to rest, I will just take a few minutes to stare at you and try to absorb every line and shadow—every strand of your gold spun hair—every expression your sweet face can beckon. You are heaven in my eyes and heart little darling. I love you more than words could ever express.


~ Mom

Wow! I was smitten. Those were magical days. They lingered. I distinctly recall a moment together with Bailey when she was four-month of age, lying on a guest room bed for an afternoon rest at my in-laws home while we visited them in Arizona. We awoke from a nap and gazed deeply at each other for minutes, fully conscious, peering into one another’s soul.


This was a rare occasion, but similarly seared into my memory are these other young moments:

  • Watching my mother hold and rock Bailey the day we came home, cooing at her for a long time

  • Road-tripping with an infant for the first time and Bailey screaming in her carseat all the way from Connecticut to Cape Cod

  • My absolute horror at hearing a thud-thud-thud and realizing I had forgotten to put up the safety gate to the basement stairs, finding Bailey wailing at the bottom—nothing broken—and out-crying her until Scott got home to console me

  • Bailey learning to walk at nine-months! What?! How could those skinny little baby legs do that?

  • Potty-training fun alongside an incorrigible beagle named Dylan, which found her pile of pooh in the hallway before I did, you can imagine what the dog did with it

  • Her first trip to the emergency room after Daddy sat her on the counter next to the stove to help him make eggs, emphatically telling her not to touch the hot stove, and as he turned away for a quick second to get a utensil, she promptly touched the stove

  • Up north, telling Bailey on a wintry night that we must use the outhouse before getting tucked into the old log-cabin bunk bed, she insisting she didn’t have to go, I turn off the lights after we are tucked in and she says, “I have to go potty.” I naively ask her why she would tell me this now and she replies, “Because I don’t have to bey-o to you.”

“Bey-o” was two-year-old Baileyspeak for “obey”. The value of obeying one’s parents is a concept that we endeavored to teach all of our children. The humor was lost on me as Bailey and I trudged through the snow in the dark to the outdoor facilities.


I learned quickly—many situations involving young children go much more smoothly when choices are not given. Her cheeky tone, laughable, also indicated the keen ability of even the youngest child to articulate a rebellious spirit. The outhouse episode was a cakewalk compared to the battle for modest dress during her teen years.


Oh my, how the time has flown, 24 years-young now!


Bailey and me soaking in a Maui sunset, December 2018

Her little girl voice echoes in my mind. She is the Little Mermaid, wooing Prince Eric and bossing Flounder/Jacob. She is the pink tutu-ed ballerina, twirling, twirling, falling. She is en pointe, dancing the Crystal Fountain Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty.

She is the big sister, loving her brothers and sister so well; touching Aaron’s head as it emerged and watching him be born; catching her sister four years later on the same birth bed; gently midwifing her sister and brothers into young adulthood.

Hers is the angelic-voice, lilting praise and folk and love song. She is the convincing actress, from Chava and Ado Annie to Josephine, Amber and Annie. She has traveled the world—Scotland to India—and has stories to tell of interesting people and adventures. Hers are the hands that now pick tropical fruit and cultivate seed in rich volcanic soil. She is learning the science of how things grow. She surfs. She spearfishes. She cracks coconuts for milk and meat. She's a rockstar sourdough bread baker.






She is full of strength, love, joy, beauty, laughter, determination and passion. She is our Bailey June. But then, she isn’t really ours. We, the bow; she, the arrow; He, the maker and archer.


For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place,

when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed body;

all the days ordained for me were written in your book

before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts, God!

How vast is the sum of them!

Were I to count them,

they would outnumber the grains of sand—

when I awake, I am still with you.

~Psalm 139:13-18

Chag Shavuot/Happy Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)


Eleven years ago today, I figured out for the first time that the Holy Spirit—not coincidentally— was given en masse in Jerusalem on the appointed time/moed (Biblical holiday) of Shavuot/Feast of Weeks. This occurs fifty days (which is why it is called Pentecost/Greek for "fiftieth") after the appointed time of Early First Fruits (the day after Passover/the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread/Chag Matzah.)


That year I got really bold and decided to visit a local non-Messianic synagogue (first time ever, by myself) to find out what it was all about from the Jewish perspective. When I walked out of Temple Beth Ahm in West Bloomfield, MI, I discovered that a violent rain and windstorm had knocked down trees and power lines during the holiday service!


I was amazed to learn of all the incredible symbolism and similarity between the first Shavuot, when the Torah was given at Sinai, to the Shavuot more than a millennia later when Peter addressed the crowd in Jerusalem: fire, wind, God’s holy presence!


I have been on a great faith journey since 2008, one that has ultimately led to my rededication to Yeshua of Nazareth as Immanuel/God with us, the Chosen Redeemer, My Messiah. Celebrating these special meeting times with God (Moedim) has invigorated me and brought new meaning to "times of refreshing."


Listen to a wonderful commemoration of this beautiful holy day at the video imbedded below. It is from

the June 8, 2019, service at Shema Yisrael. It is a slideshow and accompanying audio. Begin listening at minute -1:30:20 for the incredibly cool reading of Acts 2:5-8 by various speakers in Hebrew, Greek, Arabic, Turkish, Italian, French, Portuguese, Armenien, Russian, Spanish and Japanese! This is reminiscent of the events documented in Acts 2 and how the gospel has radiated world-wide from the epicenter of Jerusalem.


There is a very special message from Shema's newly (today, Mazel Tov!) ordained rabbi, Jerry Weinstein. Begin listening at -52:52 for "Shavuot: What Will You Choose", an excellent overview of this appointed time and its great significance for all--Jew and Gentile alike--in regards to the veracity of Jesus Christ/Messiah Yeshua's life and testimony and the importance of us obeying and choosing life.


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