Yesterday, on New Year's Day, the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God and the Eighth Day of Christmas, my younger brother's first child came into the world. Andrew and Rachel Hardesty are now the proud parents of Madelyn Rose Hardesty, born on 1/1/08 at 7:15pm at Owensboro Medical Center in Owensboro, KY. She weighed 7 lbs., 1 ounce and was 20 inches long. My parents have their first grandchild and I am now an uncle.
This was also the first time that I had ever held a newborn baby. I've held babies before, but not babies who were mere hours old. It's an experience that is difficult to describe. I can definitely say that every fatherly sensibility was aroused within me. I wanted to love her and protect her, and she wasn't even mine. I also felt an odd connection with her, as if she was reaching out in some mysterious way and attempting to fuse herself with the warm body who was holding her close. Of course, the whole moment ended when my mom picked Madelyn up and passed her on to the next person. But, the experience did confirm in my mind that I am called to be a husband and a father, and I anxiously await that day.
I don't have any pictures to share at the moment, but I can assure you, hundreds were taken and they will all be acquired as quickly as possible. She's already the most highly photographed member of my entire family! Needless to say we were all very excited. I'm so proud of Drew I can hardly stand it. He's going to be a good father, and Rachel is going to be a good mother. Dear God, help me to be a good uncle (and a good father myself one day).
ps: Drew and Rachel chose the name "Madelyne Rose" only to discover later that their daughter's two patron saints share a remarkable connection. In 1801, St. Madeline Sophie Barat founded the Society of the Sacred Heart. One of the original members was St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, who brought the Society to the United States. How providential!
Sacred Heart of Jesus....have mercy on us!