by Eilín Teeling AMMM Ireland 19.03.2022
“I understand birthdays now!” The new Dad was celebrating his son’s first birthday with his wife, with me, and with the three other grandparents. The baby looked at the lit candle on the birthday cake and smiled too. He didn’t know what was happening. He just knew that he was surrounded by six adoring adults. We were thrilled to be celebrating his first year of life. “It’s amazing to think that two years ago he wasn’t with us, and now he is here, one year old.” We all pondered the truth of this statement. Where was the baby before?
I had plenty of practice of pondering the truth of this when I was a child. I was an only child for twenty months before my sister was born. I was three years old when a brother was born, and six when my other brother was born. Where were these babies before they came to be my siblings?
My parents must have talked about God to me as I understood that babies came from God. God was not male or female for me, God was just God. I was sure that God wore a long cloak with deep pockets which held many baby seeds. When a couple prayed for a baby, God would transfer a seed to the father-to-be, who would in turn transfer it to the mother-to-be. I didn’t know exactly how this was done; I was only six years old!
I grew up immersed in the Irish language and Celtic spirituality, which assumes a closeness to God, in all aspects of life. It made perfect sense to me that a baby comes from God, God is with us on our human journey, and then we go back to God when we die. I’m reminded of scripture; “we are the clay and God is the potter, we are all the work of your hand” (Is.64:8). The first birthday is the beginning of our human journey and really is something to celebrate, with love, with each other. Care of Mother and Child has always been a special part of MMM. I hope that other families will experience our joy of a first birthday too.